ANNAPOLIS, MD (Thursday, May 18, 2017) - The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission presented awards for leadership, community planning and conservation at its fifth annual awards ceremony today at the Maryland State House. These awards recognize individuals, organizations and programs that exemplify well-planned economic and community development initiatives throughout the state.
The six winners represent individuals and organizations that demonstrate their commitment to sustainable growth - development or redevelopment that is compact, walkable and takes advantage of existing infrastructure while preserving the rural landscape - in Maryland.
"I applaud the hard work, creativity, and resourcefulness that this year's Maryland Sustainable Growth Award recipients bring to our great state," said Governor Larry Hogan. "Our administration is proud to celebrate their contributions and their commitment to helping change Maryland for the better."
"Today's recipients characterize the innovation, leadership, and passion that makes Maryland a leader in cultural preservation, community and economic development and environmental stewardship," said Wendi Peters, Secretary of Planning. "The Maryland Department of Planning joins the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission in celebrating today's six growth award winners representing examples of what can happen when great ideas and local vision come together in the spirit of creating economic opportunities, robust communities and a superior quality of life for Marylanders."
"The commission and I are excited to be recognizing outstanding Maryland projects for the fifth consecutive year," said Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission Chair Susan Summers. "These growth awards are the highest level of recognition for well-planned economic and community development and sustainability in the state and these six recipients exemplify the highest commitment to successful communities."
The commission selected a diverse set of award recipients, from a professional planner, whose 40-year career spanned the private sector and local government to academia directing an innovative multi-disciplinary program engaging university students with local planning, to an historic 1703 farm that tells the story of its land and people to 25,000 visitors each year.
The 2017 Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards presented at today's ceremony:
Leadership & Service: For activities or accomplishments that advance public appreciation, understanding and/or involvement in promoting smart growth and sustainable communities at the local, regional or state level.
Uri Avin - After more than 40 years of broad and innovative work in planning, urban design and architecture, in government, the private sector and academia, Avin is capping his career, in part, as director of the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability, or PALS, a multi-disciplinary program that cuts across almost all academic programs at the University of Maryland.
Sustainable Communities: For facilitating or creating development that addresses at least one or more of Maryland's 12 Planning Visions.
Envision Salisbury - The Envision Salisbury Project - so named by the design students of the University of Maryland's School of Architecture began as a university-based community design project. However, it rapidly became much more. On April 7, 2016, the City Council of Salisbury voted to adopt the plan and Mayor Day signed it into effect - as Salisbury's 20-year Downtown Master Plan. The process involved two college studio sessions - one graduate and one undergraduate in the architecture program focusing on urban design and building design services. Thousands of people would be engaged over the course of almost 2 years in multiple iterations of public engagement, design, review and refinement.
Town of Grantsville and the Grantsville Revitalization Organization - The Town of Grantsville, like other rural communities has suffered by the loss of population and economic opportunities. Grantsville Revitalization Organization (GRO) was formed in 2007 to combat a declining population trend, loss of Main Street businesses, and overall municipal deterioration. The GRO implemented a four-part plan: establishing an aggressive economic development package that included tax exemptions, water and sewer fee waivers, and in some cases financial assistance; executing a multi-media marketing plan; launching an all-inclusive municipal strategic plan that incorporated streetscape design concepts and maximized historical assets; and applying for, and being awarded, Maryland Arts and Entertainment designation.
Open Works - The Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation (BARCO), a non-profit development company with a mission to create safe, affordable, and accessible space for Baltimore's "creatives," purchased 1400 Greenmount Avenue and transformed a vacant building into a vibrant, new community anchor - Open Works. Open Works provides "maker space" - an affordable platform for residents of surrounding communities to start and grow small businesses, with access to state of the art equipment.
Ten Light Street - Located in the Baltimore's Central Business District, Ten Light Street is a majestic, Art Deco high-rise that was first completed in 1929. After 85 years as an iconic 37-story office tower, it reopened in 2015 as a mixed-use community featuring market rate apartments, fitness, salon, spa, and cafe. It has served as a catalyst to spur more urban redevelopment in the downtown Baltimore, such as the new tower planned directly across the street at One Light Street.
Preservation and Conservation: For accomplishments in protecting or improving farms, forests, natural resources and the waters of Maryland.
Historic Sotterley, Inc. Farm Program - Historic Sotterley Inc. is the only Tidewater Plantation in Maryland that is fully open to the public, offering comprehensive visitor and education programs. Its mission is to preserve, research, and interpret Sotterley Plantation's diverse history, cultures and environments and to serve as a public educational resource. Recognizing that the story of Sotterley was much more than the story of the Plantation House, Sotterley began to include telling the story of Sotterley as a farm and the people that worked it.
Short videos about each award recipient are available at the Maryland Department of Planning's
The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, established by Maryland statute, makes recommendations on growth and development issues and celebrates these achievements with an annual awards program. Commission members, who represent local and state government, business and nonprofit organization sectors, promote coordination and cooperation regarding innovative and responsible growth and development throughout Maryland.