APA PA Chapter News: May

The Latest News from PA Chapter of APA…

Checking the Boxes with Green Infrastructure
June 7 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

What are the impacts of trees? Maintenance costs, economic benefits, equity considerations, health factors, stormwater implications, regulatory challenges… This session will look at the multi-dimensionality of green infrastructure (not just trees!) and the long-term vision for risk reduction and health improvement with planner and municipal action opportunities woven throughout. Speakers will raise some considerations specific to active transportation and climate change as well. The discussion will provide a framework for recognizing the compound impacts of natural systems and incorporating systemic benefits into planning processes. It will also touch on practical techniques for reducing apparent conflicts between trees and paving surfaces and space competition between green infrastructure and active transportation. Deadline to register is June 6.

Sustainability/Resilience CM credit is pending approval. You must attend the webinar live to earn CM credit.

**The Pennsylvania Chapter is not responsible for the materials or opinions of the speaker(s) you will hear**

Planning Webcast Series

Earn over 50 CM credits each year online – at no cost to members of participating organizations that support the Planning Webcast Series. Webcasts take place live on Fridays from 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET and are worth 1.5 CM credits (for live viewing only) unless otherwise noted. More information online.

For APA members that need CM credit for on-demand education sessions are available. The Planning Webcast Series, sponsored by APA Chapters & Divisions, are offering credit till the end of the year (12/31/2023). More information online.


The Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Education Institute (PMPEI) courses are here for you if you are a local planning commissioner, zoning board member, zoning administrator, elected official or municipal planning staff. PMPEI, established in 1992, is the Chapter’s primary outreach to the planning community and is a collaboration between the PA Chapter of the American Planning Association (PA/APA) and the PA State Association of Boroughs (PSAB). PMPEI offers four, 10-hour in-depth courses, and four 90-minute online courses dealing with the Municipalities Planning Code and Community Planning, Zoning and Zoning Administration, and Subdivision and Land Development Review. Classes are kept small, are within reasonable distances, low cost, team-taught by experienced instructors, and include lots of hands-on instruction. Course listings and descriptions may be viewed at PMPEI’s website, pmpei.org. Contact Terri Dickow at tdickow@boroughs.org (or 1-800-232-7722 ext 1042) to find out how you can be part of the Chapter’s planning education outreach!

Central Section Event: Clean Water Planning Workshop & BMP Tour

Join Central Section June 16 for Clean Water Planning Workshop & BMP Tour. Lancaster and York Counties are leaders in integrated water resources planning and collaborative watershed restoration. Join us to learn about their water quality initiatives, then hop on a bus to tour key best management practices in Lancaster County. Enroute to each stop, Lancaster Clean Water Partners will highlight how the BMPs to be seen are aligned with Places2040 (the County’s Comprehensive Plan) and the Countywide Action Plan for Clean Water. More information available online.

5.5 CM credit pending approval.

Communication and Membership Committee

The Communication and Membership Committee is looking for volunteers to contribute articles for our monthly E-News. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Amy Evans or Amy McKinney.

Opportunities for Giving

Each year the Chapter offers a scholarship to support individuals seeking funds for academic degree programs, internships, and professional development activities.  If anyone would like to contribute to the Chapter’s Scholarship fund, donations can be made here. We accept all major credit cards, or you can send a check. Please make your check payable to “PA Chapter of APA Scholarship Fund” and mail it to P.O. Box 4680, Harrisburg PA 17111.

FEMA Region 3 Coffee Breaks Webinar Series

FEMA Region 3 hosts a webinar series for anyone who wants to reduce risk in their community. These hour-long “Coffee Breaks” are held every other month. FEMA staff share mitigation best practices and highlight the work happening at the federal, regional, state and community levels to reduce risk in Region 3. Coffee Break webinars are open to anyone in the hazard mitigation, resiliency, or risk reduction planning fields. This work can be in the public or private sectors. Community planners, emergency and floodplain managers, GIS technicians, government officials, and contractors – or anyone interested – is welcome to attend. You can find more information here

Highlighting a Chapter Award Winner: Katherine M. de Silva
By Brian  O’Leary, AICP

At last year’s annual Chapter conference, Katherine M de Silva, Planning Director of Clinton County, received a Planning Leadership Award for a Professional Planner because of the great work she did in Clinton County to improve their planning, especially for trail users and pedestrians.

As the planning director of Clinton County, Kathryn has had a profound impact on the county since joining the planning office in 2012. During her tenure, she coordinated the complete update of the county’s zoning ordinance, overseeing the zoning and permitting in seven municipalities. Katie was the main force behind the 2014 Clinton County Comprehensive Plan and the 2018 Bike-Ped Plan. She was also a main contributor to the Chesapeake Bay (CAP) Water Quality study, assisting in obtaining water quality grant funding and a construction implementation grant to carry out the CAP. She was a proponent of the SEDA-COG senior housing project in Flemington Borough, leader of a multi-county broadband initiative, and project manager of the PennDOT pilot busing program. Over the years, Katie was the primary visionary responsible for the Bald Eagle Valley Trail, a 13.9-mile walking/biking trail being built in phases, including the rebuilding of a railroad bridge over the Susquehanna River, which the county commissioners have chosen to name “Katie’s Crossing”.

Great Places Spotlight: Cherry Creek Crossing Trail Network
By Kate McMahon, AICP

The Cherry Creek Crossing Trail Network was a Great Places recipient in 2021 in the Great Greenways and Trails category.  The Cherry Creek Crossing Trail Network is located in Delaware Water Gap Borough, Monroe County.  The 3-mile trail network is located at the confluence of Brodhead Creek, Cherry Creek and the Delaware River.  The Cherry Creek Trail Network was developed through a partnership between Delaware Water Gap Borough, Smithfield Township and the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. 

The trail is 10-12 feet wide and was designed for shared use by bicyclists and pedestrians.  One unique feature of the trail network is the stepping stones crossing over Cherry Creek which were chosen as an alternative to a pedestrian bridge to limit scouring effort and decrease potential for erosion.  The Cherry Creek Trail Network is aligned with the Pennsylvania Visitor Center located off Interstate 80, providing respite for travelers and allowing visitors safe access to downtown Delaware Water Gap Borough.  In addition, trail users can access transit options to other recreation opportunities, including the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Appalachian Trail.  More information available online

The 9/11 National Memorial Trail: A Journey of Remembrance and Connectivity

By Betsy Logan, AICP

As a tribute to the fallen heroes who perished on September 11, 2001, a 1,300-mile network comprised of roadways and trails was established.  The 9/11 National Memorial Trail pays homage to the lives lost on September 11th and the heroic acts that followed. Spanning approximately 1,300 miles, the trail links three significant memorial sites: the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia; the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. By threading together these sites, the trail forms a symbolic bond between the places forever etched in the nation’s memory. It also serves as a catalyst for planners to enhance connectivity, community engagement, multi-use transportation, and economic development. 

The trail’s design embraces a diverse range of environments, traversing rural areas, suburbs, and urban centers, and offers walkers, runners, and cyclists a safe, accessible opportunity to experience beautiful landscapes, discover new towns, and visit historic sites of American resilience along the way. Collaborative planning efforts can ensure that the trail aligns with local needs, respects cultural heritage, and catalyzes economic development opportunities through the creation of trail-related amenities, such as cafes, bike rental stations, and visitor centers.  Studies have shown that well-designed trail networks can increase property values, attract tourists, and stimulate local businesses. By leveraging the trail’s potential, planners can support economic revitalization initiatives, attracting investments and enhancing the overall quality of life for residents.

On March 11, 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources designed the trail as a Statewide Major Greenway.  Of the 1,30Pennsylvania0 mile trail, Pennsylvania hosts 903 miles, spanning 25 counties and including 16 local trails. A Pennsylvania Statewide Tour of the 9/11 Trail will occur starting in Pittsburgh on Monday, June 19th, and ending in Philadelphia on Monday, July 3.  A half-ride option is also available from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg or from Harrisburg to Philadelphia.  Learn more online.