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June 20, 2018

GrowSmart Maine launches Maine Smart Growth Awards

GrowSmart Maine is launching the Maine Smart Growth awards, which are designed to recognize the diverse elements that contribute to smart growth, and also serve as real life illustrations of the benefits it can bring.

The awards will showcase the kind of projects, plans policies and people that support smart growth, the organization said in a news release. Submissions may be as diverse as a plan for a walkable, inclusive village center; a development that's affordable and sustainably built; a community-supported bike and walking path; a person whose career exemplifies the impact of smart growth.

Judges for this year's awards are Charlie Colgan, former state economist; Kate Dempsey, executive director of Maine's Nature Conservancy; and Evan Richert, former head of state planning and Orono community planner.

Nancy Smith, GrowSmart Maine's executive director, said, "Smart growth takes many forms and these awards will help people see what it can do for their communities. There are so many wonderful and innovative projects already taking place in Maine; we are excited to recognize those that already exist as well as those that are in the planning stages.

Judy East, executive director of the Washington County Council of Governments, is a member of the planning committee for the awards. Washington County experiences less of the growth and development pressures commonly seen in Southern Maine, but East said that despite that, she has seen smart growth principles at work.

"Brownfields redevelopment, for instance, exemplifies smart growth" East said. "As echoes of our commercial and industrial past, Brownfield sites are in wonderful locations: on waterfronts, in downtowns, at the crossroads of major thoroughfares. They reuse the 'good bones' of existing buildings, are already served by available infrastructure, revitalize village and town centers, and support existing businesses."

Smith said submissions should provide clear illustrations of the way successful projects can integrate environmental and community values and sound and sustainable economics. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, July 25. More information and the application can be found by clicking here.

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