The Maryland Department of Planning Helps with Public School Funding

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Planning Assistance in Action

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With a typical annual state allocation of $300 million toward school construction to be distributed to 24 Local Education Agencies (LEA) across the state, the Interagency Committee for School Construction (IAC), which manages the Public School Construction Program (PSCP), has a lot of work to do. The PSCP was established in 1971 to ensure the equitable physical condition of school facilities across Maryland and coordinate state school construction funding. More

Article: Planning working with Statewide Planning Commissioners to Reinvent an Effective Association

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In a July 17th article in Maryland Matters, the Maryland Planning Commissioners Association’s (MPCA) Outreach Project was highlighted. This project is an effort to listen to stakeholders so that Maryland’s planning community can best meet the needs of local jurisdictions. The MPCA is a statewide, nonprofit educational organization of municipal, county and regional planning commissioners and boards of zoning appeals members.

MPCA members work to improve the quality of life for all Marylanders through planning, environmental protection, historic preservation, and growth management. More

Sustainable Communities: An Intergovernmental Collaboration

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Planning Assistance in Action

As part of a larger effort to decrease the amount of vacant and underutilized space within its downtown, in 2014 one Maryland municipality implemented a Central Business District Façade Program. This program, combined with enhanced marketing, a small business outreach program, and design funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, led to improvements in the appeal, marketability, and aesthetics of a historic downtown and prompted new commercial lease signings. Another Maryland community leveraged over $800,000 in targeted state financing assistance to acquire and demolish eight blighted buildings and remediate hazardous material in a ninth. The dedicated collaboration of jurisdictions, the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning), and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) realized these stories of community revitalization success through the application of Maryland’s Sustainable Communities Program. More

The Maryland Planning Commissioners Association Wants to Hear from the Planning Community

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Planning Assistance in Action

The State of Maryland is famous for its forward-thinking planning and integrated community of professional and citizen planners. Dating back multiple decades, state leaders have worked tirelessly to preserve and build upon the Maryland we all cherish. One of the essential means to accomplish this is through outreach and education. Communities best understand the assets that they can build upon, the barriers that must be overcome, and the assistance needed to meet their goals and objectives. This is an essential reality of good planning practice, and one the Maryland Planning Commissioners Association (MPCA) is embracing with an outreach project in the Summer of 2017. More

The Maryland Department of Planning Teams up with the Appalachian Regional Commission

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Planning Assistance in Action

ARCFor most Maryland residents, access to a reliable broadband network is a given; a bill we pay every month, but a readily available service when we need to connect to our work email, search for a new restaurant, or find driving directions. For some parts of Western Maryland though, this is not always so certain, as the secluded location and rugged geography make the extension of network infrastructure expensive and difficult. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), in partnership with the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) and the Allegany Board of Commissioners, helped overcome this barrier in Allegany County by providing the funding to strengthen the area’s broadband network and improve services to residents, businesses, and emergency services. More

James T. (Jim) Noonan, AICP: 1950-2017

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Planning Assistance in Memoriam

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The State of Maryland has lost one of its best planners in Jim Noonan, who passed away peacefully in hospice on April 17, 2017.  Many of you know Jim not only from his long tenure at the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) stretching back to the Nixon era, but more recently in the private sector and in various roles with the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Born in Altoona, Pa in 1950, Jim graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Geography and started at what was then called the Department of State Planning. More

A Community Effort for Placemaking on Smith Island

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Planning Assistance in Action

Smith Island, home to the official dessert of Maryland, the aptly named Smith Island Cake, inhabits a unique position in Maryland’s physical and cultural geography. The only inhabited island in the Chesapeake Bay accessible solely by boat, Smith Island is a waterman community (fishing, crabbing, oystering) rich in history and identity. The community recently concluded a year-long visioning process that resulted in the adoption of the 2016 Smith Island Vision Plan. As part of this effort, one issue repeatedly came up; the desire for an outdoor gathering space on the Island. This vision is about to become reality, as a collaboration between community, business, and governmental organizations successfully applied for and received a $5,000 Placemaking Grant award from the National Association of REALTORS® to construct a pocket park on a currently vacant lot adjacent to a picturesque marsh in the Village of Ewell. More

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