Movement, Victories, and New Challenges Ahead for CPAT

Planning is a long game. Those of you working in the field know this well.

Movement toward a community vision is heartening. Small victories matter. And keeping momentum is ever so important. Hearing about the positive steps forward from the communities we've worked with through APA's Community Planning Assistance Teams (CPAT) program is always great news.

Experienced and committed planning professionals volunteer their time and expertise to places around the country (and sometimes abroad) every year through CPAT. They help spread and demonstrate the value of planning and they contribute creative ideas and new energy to challenging issues faced by the communities they work with.

When we get good reports from the communities we've worked with over the years, we applaud their success and recognize the efforts of our CPAT alumni in helping them reach their goals.

The Deerfield Beach CPAT members with city planning staff members on the final day of the team's visit in March 2015. Photo by Ryan Scherzinger, AICP.

Deerfield Beach, Florida

Steve Graham, AICP, the assistant director in the City of Deerfield Beach's planning and development services department reports that "the CPAT study [in 2015] ultimately led to land use and zoning changes that were implemented in the summer of 2017.

"The area is now zoned as a Local Activity Center [called Pioneer Grove] with an allowance for up to 2,150 dwelling units and 215,000 sf of commercial space."

The planning commission also adopted design standards. And it is "currently in the process of reviewing an application for 27 townhomes in the south end of the LAC, the City is developing a memorial park on SE 4th St/SE 2nd Ave, and [the commission is] in the early stages of the design process for facade renovations to City Hall."

The Brooklyn CPAT in Baltimore created a design plan for Garrett Park as part of a neighborhood revitalization and green infrastructure plan for the neighborhood. Drawing by CPAT member Catherine Mercier, AICP.

Brooklyn, South Baltimore

In the Brooklyn neighborhood of South Baltimore, a CPAT developed a Community Action Plan in 2016 to provide green infrastructure to increase resilience and achieve other community goals.

The team worked closely with Michael Dorsey of the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development, who reports that "the Conservation Fund has committed the first $250k to the park redevelopment project, and [it has] applied for $600k more from the state of Maryland."

"It is leading to bigger concepts around local workforce development, community revitalization and putting [the neighborhood] on the map for interconnectivity with larger area green infrastructure plans," Dorsey said.

Phase one on the park may begin in a few months. They've also engaged in conversations with Park Rx America and the neighboring Family Health Centers of Baltimore about park prescription programming in Garrett Park as a South Baltimore pilot.

CPAT members in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Baltimore, together with CCYD Director Michael Dorsey, show off the Garrett Park design plan drawing. Photo by Brooklyn community member.

Coming Next

We look forward to more from communities our volunteer teams assisted. Meanwhile, CPAT is in the beginning stages of several new projects.

Teams will work on downtown revitalization efforts in the small towns of Page, Arizona, which is located near Lake Powell, beautiful Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend; and Taft, California, in the southern part of the agriculture-rich Central Valley.

A team will work with the island community of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands amid their continuing recovery efforts from two, back-to-back category five hurricanes (Irma and Maria) last September.

And for the first time, a tribal nation requested the help of CPAT. A team will work with the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington on a site plan for an important new cultural campus they envision on the Pacific Ocean coast.

Top image: Rendering by Adam Rosa, AICP, from the Deerfield Beach, Florida, CPAT.

About the Author
Ryan Scherzinger, AICP, is APA's professional practice programs manager.

August 6, 2018

By Ryan Scherzinger, AICP