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GR And Alpine Cop Top Blueprints
GRAND RAPIDS — The City of Grand Rapids and Alpine Township were big winners in the Second Annual Blueprint Development Awards competition last week, a program initiated and sponsored by the Grand Valley Metro Council.
Both honors were handed out at the regional planner’s Annual Growing Communities Conference held last Wednesday in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, the Metro Council’s eighth consecutive seminar.
Metro Council Blueprint Director Andy Bowman said there were a total of 10 nominees with five in each of the two categories. Alpine won the development and design prize, while the city picked up the policy and program honor.
Alpine Township was named for its method of transferring development rights (TDR).
“It’s not fully implemented at this point, but we felt that they had done enough work on that particular procedure. They have been working on that for many years now, and they have been leaders, not only in the region but in the state, of bringing about a view of agricultural lands on the local level,” said Bowman.
“I think they have been very courageous in putting forward a TDR program,” he added.
Grand Rapids won for its traffic-calming program.
“It started out with five pilot projects, and it has now expanded to about 30 projects throughout the city. The program had some unique procedures for public involvement and has had good reaction from residents. The residents are very happy with the traffic-calming techniques they used,” said Bowman.
“Maybe some of the drivers are still trying to figure them out, but that’s part of the game.”
First runner-up for the Blueprint Award was Brooks Township, east of Newaygo, for its land-use vision. Second runner-up was Wildwood Springs, a development near Spring Lake.
Getting the Blueprint nod for “Good First Starts” were the Millennium Park project, the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council’s stream-testing program.
“We see these as having so much promise that we couldn’t avoid at least recognizing them. All three of those projects either have a lot further to go, or they provide data that will help us with larger projects in the area,” said Bowman. “So, that’s why these are called ‘good first starts.’”