Alaska APA Awards

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2017 Transportation Planning Award

Matanuska Susitna Borough (MSB) 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) was awarded the Transportation Planning Award by the American Planning Association Alaska Chapter in November 2017. The 2035 LRTP Update advances the MSB’s efforts to develop a multi-modal transportation system that provides a safe and efficient transportation system that also gives residents transportation choices. The LRTP was funded by the MSB and the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) and developed through the efforts of the MSB staff, DOT&PF staff and a consultant team from HDR.

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2017 Best Practices Award

The Ravens Roost Cohousing project was awarded the Best Practices Award at this year’s planning award ceremony. Raven’s Roost planning and design were guided by the desire for a neighborhood that both encourages social contact and allows for individual space. In the summer of 2012, residents participated in four design charrettes to identify site design, as well as building and landscape elements that were important to the group. Unlike many traditional projects, where a team of engineers works for an architect, for this project the planning and civil engineering firm, EEI, worked directly for the client and led the land planning, civil design, and permitting effort. Raven’s Roost Cohousing is the first project of its kind in Alaska: Its residents are its developers. The planning, design and permitting required collaboration, facilitation and vision-driven creative solutions. These solutions set the standard for future development in Alaska.

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2017 Comprehensive Plan Award

The City of Houston was awarded this year’s Comprehensive Plan Award. The City of Houston, Alaska assumed the responsibility of writing its Comprehensive Plan for the first time in the city’s planning history.  The original plan was drafted by the Mat-Su Borough in 1982 with amendments in 1999 and in 2003. While R&M Consultants, Inc. supported the revision process, the Comprehensive Plan is a direct reflection of the community and efforts by an empowered Steering Committee. This small town recognized potential issues in its future, and an active group of residents formed a steering committee to take on the responsibility to write a 20-year plan that would meet the needs, maintain the values, and provide opportunities for the rest of their community.

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2017 Environmental Award

The Fairbanks North Star Borough was awarded the Environmental Award for the Recycling Facility. Frustrated with the lack of consistent recycling opportunities, the community pushed the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) to establish a borough-run recycling program. As a result, the borough’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2005, emphasized recycling under Environmental Goal 2, Strategy 3. On September 1, 2017, the FNSB celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the CRF.

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2017 Hard Won Victory

The Aleutians East Borough was awarded the Hard Won Victory award for their shoreline protection project. Erosion of the Nelson Lagoon shoreline has been exacerbated in recent years by the increasingly later development of protective shore-fast ice each year. This trend allows the sizeable late fall/early winter storms to impact and erode the shoreline directly. This project will have a lasting effect because it will enable Nelson Lagoon to continue to exist. The revetment will protect the community against future shoreline erosion and will preserve its existing infrastructure. It has also provided employment opportunities and heavy equipment operator experience for residents. This project has allowed Nelson Lagoon not only to work together as a community but also to plan for a future that might not otherwise have existed.

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2017 Planner of the Year

This year’s planner of the year was awarded to Laurie Cumming. Laurie has worked for HDR for the past 15 years in the Transportation Business Group with an emphasis in transportation planning and resiliency planning.  Laurie’s expertise combines National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis, socioeconomic analysis, and hazard mitigation planning with transportation planning. Laurie is one of two Certified Transportation Planners (CTP) with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) in the State of Alaska. Laurie became a certified planner through the AICP in 2004 and earned a BA in Geography in 1998 from Simon Fraser University. She received a Masters in Urban Planning in 2001 from Texas A & M and has several college program certificates. She has developed an admirable work ethic and understands the value of quality of work while finding time to lead a balanced lifestyle that includes a variety of personal and professional interests including curling.

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