2015 Award Winners

Rural Innovation Award — Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Rural Innovation Award — Minnehaha County, South Dakota

by Megan Nelms, AICP, Western Planner Board

The Western Planner was pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Western Planner Awards at the annual Western Planner Conference in Laramie, WY, August 19-21, 2015.

Rural Innovation Award — Minnehaha County, South Dakota

The Rural Innovation Award was given to the Minnehaha County, South Dakota for their Envision 2035 Comprehensive Plan. The County Planning Department is an update to the 1998 Comprehensive Plan. Minnehaha County is an urban and rural area with the unique challenge of managing the urban/rural dichotomy. The county must support growth management techniques that preserve the foundation of the local economy, as the state’s leading agricultural producer while also addressing issues related to the economic growth and potential of the Sioux Falls’ Metropolitan Statistical Area. The process was a county-wide public engagement effort to create a plan to address agricultural, urban and rural lifestyle choices, development along with managing natural and environmental resources. It is a document that offers a vision for the preservation and development of Minnehaha County for the next 20 years. It will assist community leaders as the landscape continues to change, and the plan is not a beginning nor ending point, but a continual process for engaging the public in all land use and development decisions.

Steadman’s People’s Choice – Article of the Year Award — Michael I. Smith, CFM for his article The Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942: A Model of Cooperation, a Blessing for the West

The award for the Steadman’s People’s Choice – Article of the Year Award is given to the author of a Western Planner article voted by the subscribers of the journal as the best-written piece in the two years. The recipient of this award was Michael I. Smith, CFM for his article The Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942: A Model of Cooperation, a Blessing for the West, published in the April/May 2014 issue. The excellent article outlined the history of Civilian Conservation Corps and the employment it provided to youth during the Great Depression, as well as its significant contribution to the nation’s parks and forests. 2014 marked the 81st anniversary of the creation of the CCC. The CCC was part of reform and relief legislation proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. His goal was to create a conservation-based relief program on a national scale. Recruited largely local relief rolls, the CCC enrollees were organized into companies of approximately 200 men, then placed in camps across the United States for day-to-day work projects. The national statistics on the impact of the program are significant. More than 3 million enrollees cycled through the program in just under ten years, planting more than three billion trees, building 6.6 million erosion control check dams and spending more than 6.4 million man-day fighting fire, in addition to a myriad of other duties.
The article reminds us that the CCC shaped the men of what has been come to be called “the greatest generation” and its impacts will continues to live on in the western United States.

Western Planner of the Year — Dr. William Gribb, of the University of Wyoming Geography Department

Western Planner of the Year — Dr. William Gribb, of the University of Wyoming Geography Department

Western Planner of the Year — Dr. William Gribb, of the University of Wyoming Geography Department

Finally, Dr. William Gribb, of the University of Wyoming Geography Department was named Western Planner of the Year. Dr. Gribb has been a professor of urban planning and geography at the University of Wyoming since 1988. During that time, he has graduated 60 of students with the Masters’ of Urban Planning. Many of these well- educated young people have had very successful careers throughout the U.S., but particularly in the western states.

In addition, Dr. Gribb has always taken a practical and applied approach to planning. He has always provided students with opportunities to work on actual community problems whether as class projects or in individual thesis research. Most importantly Dr. Gribb’s approach has been to plan “with” communities rather than “for” communities. He has passed on this philosophy to his students.

Dr. Gribb has provided planning services to nine counties and a number of communities in Wyoming. In addition, he and his students have provided planning services to the State of Wyoming, as well as a number of Federal agencies in the state. Although he is based at the university in Laramie, he travels throughout the state to assist communities. He is tireless in his work ethic to work with local governments to improve their environment, the economy, land use, transportation, and social characteristics. Dr. Gribb has spent a significant amount of time working with Native American government on the Wind River Reservation. He has also directed numerous workshops on planning and as director of Urban Planning program, he has taught numerous courses related to planning.

Congratulations to all of the recipients of this year’s Western Planner Awards. It is an honor to be distinguished by your peers from the 13 states that Western Planner represents.

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