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Massachusetts and Vermont Communities Praised for Environmentally-Sensitive Development

Release Date: 11/15/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner - (617) - 918-1865

(Boston, MA - Nov. 15, 2006) EPA today presented its 2006 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Winooski, Vt. These award winners were recognized for their innovative approaches to development that strengthen community identity and protect the environment.

The awards ceremony was held today in the Great Hall of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

As communities around the country look for ways to grow that protect and enhance their natural environments and create prosperity, many are turning to smart growth strategies. They are cleaning and reusing previously developed land; providing more housing and transportation choices; preserving critical natural areas; and developing vibrant places to live, work, shop and play. In addition to creating great communities, these smart growth strategies also protect the quality of our air, water and land.

"President Bush and EPA see smart growth as smart for our environment, smart for our economy and smart for our quality of life," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "It is a pleasure to recognize the innovative efforts of these award-winning communities, who are responsibly building toward a healthier, brighter future."


Overall Excellence
: Commonwealth of Massachusetts for creating the Office of Commonwealth Development (OCD) to better coordinate state spending and policy decisions that influence where development happens, encourage innovative development locally, and make private investment in good projects easier. OCD uses financial incentives and outreach tools to ensure wise use of state tax dollars and to promote sound growth policies in the state's 351 communities. Better natural resource stewardship is a key motivation for OCD's smart growth efforts. For example, OCD has protected approximately 35,000 acres of land and taken growth pressure off of natural lands and undeveloped sites.

Small Communities
: The City of Winooski, Vt., for revitalizing its downtown using Smart Growth principles. Winooski preserved or restored nearly 100 acres of natural habitat, returned vacant properties to productive use, and created several neighborhood parks. Building on the town's rich history, the Winooski Downtown Revitalization project created a thriving, attractive center with much-needed housing, stores, offices, and public spaces. The city re-established the street grid that had been demolished in the 1970s and added wider sidewalks. The city also opened RiverWalk, a promenade that gives the town a beautiful new connection to its beloved Winooski River. The redevelopment capitalized on the city's historic charm and once again made Winooski a place people and businesses want to be.

Now in its fifth year, the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement has recognized an impressive array of projects, policies, and programs that protect the environment and promote healthy, vibrant communities.

The 2006 call for entries drew 50 applications from 22 states. The competition was open to state, regional, and local governments and other public sector entities. Winners were selected based on how effectively they used Smart Growth strategies to improve their communities and how well they engaged citizens and fostered partnerships

The awards were presented by EPA Chief Financial Officer Lyons Gray, on behalf of EPA's Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation (OPEI). OPEI is home to the agency's Smart Growth program which, in addition to presenting the annual awards, conducts research and policy analysis on growth issues, provides direct technical assistance to state and local governments, delivers outreach and public education and collaborates with partners in the Smart Growth Network (www.smartgrowth.org), a coalition of more than 30 state and national organizations focused on development issues.

More information about the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement and this year's winners:
http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards.htm

More information on EPA's smart growth program:
http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/