Hot Springs, AR — Hot Springs officials and residents will meet with representatives from Smart Growth America on September 17 and 18, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. Hot Springs’ Plan 2030, its recent comprehensive plan update, lays out a vision of vital neighborhoods; diversified transportation options; and quality growth and development that supports residents’ health, safety, and welfare. Also recently named a Growing Healthy Community by the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, Hot Springs is working to improve residents’ opportunities for physical activity. This workshop will provide the community with tools and strategies to develop a Complete Streets policy that advances all of these goals. A Complete Streets policy will help Hot Springs plan and design its streets to be safe, comfortable, and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or using public transportation.
“Our residents tell us how important it is to them to be able to get around town in a variety of ways,” said Hot Springs City Manager David Watkins. “Smart Growth America’s grant provides our city a unique, no-cost opportunity to examine current street design and policies with residents, staff and elected officials with guidance from consultants experienced in addressing the typical challenges communities face in meeting their transportation and livability needs.”
Hot Springs residents are invited to join the workshop’s evening activities for an introductory presentation and interactive discussion about Complete Streets and their benefits. The event will be held September 17, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. in the Transportation Depot, 100 Broadway Terrace. Members of the Hot Springs Board of Directors have been invited to participate.
“Smart Growth America is committed to providing training to help local community leaders keep cities and towns livable, sustainable and vital places,” said Roger Millar, Smart Growth America Vice President. “We look forward to engaging community members in a discussion of how they can develop a Complete Streets policy for Hot Springs and reap the many benefits of streets that accommodate a range of users and activities.”
In January 2014, Hot Springs was one of 18 applicants selected by Smart Growth America to participate in the free technical assistance program. Stretching from New Hampshire to California, these communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike.
The program, made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, seeks to develop local planning solutions that help communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. Three other nonprofit organizations—Forterra, Global Green USA and Project for Public Spaces -- also received competitively awarded grants under this program to help communities get the kinds of development they want.
As a national leader in the field, Smart Growth America has accumulated extensive experience working with communities to help them use land strategically, maximize existing resources and make investments that catalyze private development.
Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. For information, visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.
For more details on Hot Springs’ Complete Streets initiative, visit the Parks & Trails page at www.cityhs.net or call 321-6871.