The locations were honored for their creative, sustainable initiatives that better protect health and the environment while strengthening local economies.
The BeltLine’s Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail/Historic Fourth Ward Park received the EPA’s Overall Excellence award. The BeltLine is a 22-mile ring of abandoned railroad routes connecting neighborhoods in Atlanta and DeKalb County.
The 2.25-mile Eastside Trail is the first section of the BeltLine to be redeveloped. The trail connects five formerly divided neighborhoods by providing 30 acres of greenway, a pedestrian and bicycle trail and an arboretum. It connects to Historic Fourth Ward Park, a cleaned-up brownfield that is now a 17-acre park with a lake to handle stormwater runoff. The trail and park have spurred more than $775 million in private development, including more than 1,000 new mixed-income apartments currently under construction.
The other winners were: the Historic Millwork District and Washington neighborhood, Dubuque, Iowa (Corridor or Neighborhood Revitalization); Charles City (Iowa) Riverfront Park (Plazas, Parks and Public Places); GO TO 2040, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (Policies, Programs and Plans); La Valentina, Sacramento, Calif. (Built Projects); the Lower Eastside Action Plan, Detroit City Planning Commission (Policies, Programs and Plans – honorable mention) and Via Verde, New York City Department of Housing Preservation, The Bronx, N.Y. (Built Projects – honorable mention).
The EPA received 77 applications from 31 states, Washington and Puerto Rico. The winners were chosen based on their effectiveness in creating sustainable communities, fostering equitable development among public, private and nonprofit stakeholders and serving as national models for environmentally and economically sustainable development.
The EPA will host a ceremony Wednesday to recognize the winners.
For more information on the winners, including videos, visit http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards.htm.