Metro Council To Hold Ninth Conference

May 24, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — Keynote speaker Lee Ronning and the coveted Blueprint awards will top the agenda for the Growing Communities Conference on June 13, being staged for the ninth consecutive year by the Grand Valley Metro Council.

This year the conference will focus on the relationship between cities, farms and parks.

Called “Cities, Towns and Nature,” the conference offers four seminars that will take an in-depth look at what makes a community livable and a region healthy. The topics will range from buying the rights to develop farmland to building public squares and plazas.

Leading the sessions will be: Fred Kent, president of the Project for Public Spaces in New York; John Freece, communications director for the Maryland Smart Growth Office; William Rustem, senior vice president for Public Sector Consultants; David Skjaerlund, director of Rural Partners of Michigan; and Patrick Condon of the University of British Columbia.

Ronning, founder of 1,000 Friends of Minnesota, will speak at the event’s luncheon address about the importance of open space and the role it plays in the growth of cities and towns.

The Metro Council will present the Blueprint Award winners for 2002 at a luncheon ceremony, the third straight year the regional planning agency will hand out these honors.

Alpine Township and the City of Grand Rapids won last year for a development-rights transfer program and a neighborhood traffic management plan, respectively. A land-use planning program from Brooks Township and Wildwood Springs, a residential community built by David C. Bos Homes, also were cited last year.

The conference will be held at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Registration is $55 and includes lunch. For more information, or to register, call the Metro Council at 776-3876 or visit www.gvmc.org.          

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