The New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association (NYUAPA) is pleased to announce that the Chautauqua County Greenway Plan has been awarded the 2013 Planning Excellence Award for Comprehensive Planning. The 2013 NYUAPA Chapter Awards recognize outstanding work being done by planners, planning firms, elected officials, and citizens to advance the science and art of urban and regional planning in upstate New York. The award was presented at the NYUAPA’s annual conference in Schenectady. Chautauqua County received this same award for its Comprehensive Plan: Chautauqua 20/20 in 2011.
The Planning Excellence Award in Comprehensive Planning recognizes plans that advance the science and art of planning. Winning projects are distinguished for originality and innovation, quality, thoroughness, degree of public participation, and identified steps to put the plan into action.
Summary of the Chautauqua County Greenway Plan and why it is Special
Chautauqua County’s rich system of four season greenways positively impacts the economies of our communities. The recommendations proposed in the Greenway Plan, which was a top recommendation in Chautauqua 20/20, creates a new enthusiasm for active living and healthy lifestyles; promotes outdoor activities; improves our quality of life within Chautauqua County; acts as a catalyst for economic development related to outdoor living; and establishes Chautauqua County as a destination center for outdoor adventure and lifelong learning opportunities.
This plan defines steps for the community to take to:
- Formalize and maintain the rural outdoor lifestyle;
- Fulfill the desire to be a four season destination for active outdoor living; and,
- Capitalize on the positive economic impact that can be realized through providing goods and services that visitors to Chautauqua County desire.
One of the many objectives of the Chautauqua County Greenway Plan was to develop a unique, concise, easy-to-read, high quality plan developed within the constraints of a limited budget. The Project Team, comprised of the Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Economic Development, Pashek Associates, and other key stakeholders, strove to not overburden the document with superfluous information and facts. The crux of the plan is 162 pages in length, and the team produced an attractive Executive Summary that is only 12 pages in length. The supporting documentation is available on a CD and on the department website so that the plan can be reproduced at a reasonable cost. The plan integrates a unique style, is enhanced with colorful pictures taken locally, and incorporates modest graphics to convey its message.
Besides identifying and proposing the development of recreational greenways using existing Rights-of Way and natural corridors, the Plan also identifies towns based on their potential to provide amenities to trail users. These “Trail Towns” are ranked based on their ability to provide the goods and services needed by Trail Users. The project team felt it was essential to identify ten (10) demonstration projects that are to be the first projects pursued in the coming years (several are currently being implemented). Enough description about each project is provided so that it can be discussed and considered for implementation.
The Chautauqua County Greenway Plan also utilizes a unique methodology for defining its natural systems greenways by using natural, ecological and hydrologic infrastructure as building blocks for determining high-value natural areas, and allows these special areas to be ranked. This information will help guide decision-makers towards or away from potential projects based on the sensitivity of natural areas where they are being proposed.