By Posted in - Blog & Competitiveness & Work on March 21st, 2015 0 Comments

The City of Athens, Ohio, Designing Local, and MKSK have won the 2015 Donald E. Hunter Award for Excellence in Economic Development Planning from the Economic Development Division of the American Planning Association for The Essence of Athens: A Strategic Design Plan for Economic Enhancement and Community Competitiveness. The Hunter Award is the latest recent success including being awarded the 2015 Vernon Deines Award for an Outstanding Small Town Special Project Plan by the American Planning Association’s Small Town and Rural Division, and an Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architecture (OCASLA) Merit Award.

From the review committee:

We were particularly impressed with the depth and breadth of public involvement for your plan, the recognition of the value of urban design for economic development, and the overall quality of the plan which, in turn, boosts community pride.

Page 148 of the plan discussed ways for developers to express their projects in the Athens Way.

Page 148 of the plan discussed ways for developers to express their projects in the Athens Way.

From Paige Alost, Executive Director Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau:

Tourism is a major economic driver in our region, generating almost $140 million in visitor spending annually in Athens County. Any community can create a plan. What makes The Essence of Athens plan so unique is that it sought to capitalize on the eclectic nature of our community. Rather than identifying one or two design themes and establishing rules for use, the plan reinforces Athens’ need to be different, providing us with a playbook rather than a rulebook. It encourages the outward manifestation of our community’s most creative ideas and efforts, making the unique identity of our community visible, engaging and obvious to residents and visitors alike. 

From Paul Logue, the Athens City Planner:

This plan will help ensure that the distinct qualities, people, culture, environment, and businesses of Athens are respected, celebrated, and promoted in an organic and thoughtful manner. Its implementation will grow our vibrant tourism industry, promote our local businesses, and make our neighborhoods even more unique and wonderful. 

The Donald Hunter Award will be presented to Athens officials and consultants in Seattle during the national APA conference on Monday evening, April 20.

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