The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission's long-range plan for the region's future has won a prestigious award from the American Planning Association.
The Daniel Burnham Award for 2013 will recognize NIRPC's 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan for its role in advancing the science and art of planning in the United States, according to the American Planning Association.
The association on Wednesday praised NIRPC for engaging citizens and stakeholders at every step in the development of the plan, which took more than two years.
“Planners in northwestern Indiana were skilled at building consensus, ensuring that all citizens have a voice in creating the region’s 2040 comprehensive plan,” said Ann C. Bagley, 2013 chair for the American Planning Association awards jury.
The award honors Daniel Burnham, a Chicago planner in the late 19th and early 20th centuries whose imprint remains on much of the region's park land as well as main transportation routes and buildings.
NIRPC's 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan and meeting times for the committee responsible for implementing the plan are available at the NIRPC Web site at http://www.nirpc.org.
New NIRPC Executive Director Ty Warner in a congratulatory note to NIRPC staff on Wednesday stated the award is a testament to the work of former NIRPC Executive Director John Swanson. He also noted the participatory nature of the plan, which was put together on Swanson's watch at the agency.
"The 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan represents many hours of public engagement, commission deliberation, and hard work collaboratively shaping the future of Northwestern Indiana," Warner stated in his note.
The award will be bestowed on NIRPC at the American Planning Association's national convention in Chicago in April.
The formulation of NIRPC's 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan kicked off in December 2008 with a Forum on the Future of the Region at the Radisson Hotel attended by 500 people.
The NIRPC board at a meeting in June 2011 approved the final plan, which lays out 30 years of transportation projects along with land use and other goals. It aims to rejuvenate lakefront cities and create livable communities in the three-county region.
“The 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan is unique in that it represents the first time that the planning process brought together citizens from around the region to identify issues and coordinate on common concerns, projects and initiatives,” said Geof Benson, NIRPC chairman and Beverly Shores Town Council president.
Last year, the National Association of Regional Councils recognized the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan with its Outstanding Achievement Award for a Mid–Sized Regional Council.