Nationally recognized experts Judy Wicks and Chuck Marohn to bookend panels of local leaders who will share perspectives, compelling success stories
How will the Lehigh Valley accommodate 146,000 more people in the next 20 years without losing the outstanding quality of living that has attracted so many here? Local and national experts will discuss solutions involving farmland preservation, urban revitalization, land use planning, transportation and more as RenewLV (renewlv.org) hosts its third annual Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities on Fri., Dec., 4 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel, Allentown. More than 200 regional leaders are expected to attend.
The morning keynote presentation will feature Judy Wicks, a Philadelphia-based entrepreneur, author, speaker and mentor who works to build a more compassionate, environmentally sustainable and locally based economy. Her award winning book, Good Morning Beautiful Business: the Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer won the 2014 Gold Medal in the category of “Business Leadership” from Nautilus Book Awards. As an entrepreneur, Judy is best known for Philadelphia’s landmark White Dog Cafe, which she founded in 1983 on the first floor of her house and managed for 26 years.
Afternoon keynote speaker, Chuck Marohn, is the founder and president of Strong Towns (strongtowns.org), a national organization advancing a model of development that allows America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods to become financially strong and resilient. He is the author of Thoughts on Building Strong Towns (Volume 1) and A World Class Transportation System as well as the primary author of the Strong Towns Blog and host of the Strong Towns Podcast. A Professional Engineer (PE) and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), he has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute.
Two morning panel discussions will address issues and solutions related to the Lehigh Valley’s continued growth. The first will feature developers David Jaindl and Dennis Benner along with Percy Dougherty from the Lehigh County Commissioners, Pastor Greg Edwards from the Resurrected Life Community Development Corporation and Gary Smith, who is President and CEO of Chester County Economic Development Corporation. Topics will include land use and urban revitalization.
The second panel will highlight “real stories from the farm, suburbs and neighborhoods,” and feature successful programs and initiatives. The panelists include:
· Ron Beitler, commissioner, Lower Macungie Township, “Why we fight sprawl”
· Holly Edinger, board of directors, LANTA, “Tales of getting from here to there”
· Sal Panto, Mayor of Easton, Pa., “Living well without the NIZ or CRIZ”
· Forest Wessner, Jr., farmer, Lehigh County, “Farmland forever vs. the lure of development”
“We’re looking forward convening the region’s leaders and members of the community to get more engaged in discussing and moving forward with smart growth,” says RenewLV Executive Director, Joyce Marin. “The Summit represents a great opportunity to share information, network and collaborate as we move from ideas to action.”
A final “table talk” breakout session in the afternoon will break attendees into groups based on specific smart growth interest areas, where they can collaborate on solutions for issues ranging from Farmland Preservation and Food Sustainability, to Zoning for Smart Growth and Multi-Modal Transportation.
Registration for the Summit, which includes breakfast and lunch, is available for $75 at renewlv.org.
The sponsors for the conference include Just Born as a Sustaining Sponsor, with additional sponsorship being provided by PPL, The Greater Lehigh Valley & Pocono Mountain Assn. of Realtors, City Center, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Waterfront Redevelopment Partners, HDR, Embassy Bank, Lehigh Valley Health Network, St. Luke’s Hospital, Morris Black Designs, Four Score, LLC, Barry Isett & Associates, the Lehigh Valley Partnership, Spillman Farmer Architects, Julie Thomases, Keystone Consulting, Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A, Hanover Engineering, Smooth-On, Taggart Associates, Organics Live and Prolifick Media.
The mission of RenewLV is to promote smart growth and efficient governance in the Lehigh Valley in order to revitalize its core communities, preserve open space and create an economically and environmentally sustainable foundation for the region’s future growth. RenewLV was launched by community leaders in response to a landmark Brookings Institution report (Back to Prosperity: A Competitive Agenda for Renewing Pennsylvania) that highlighted to related challenges facing regions across the Commonwealth: 1) sprawling development that has “hollowed out” many core communities; 2) an antiquated, fragmented system of governance that stands in the way of regional planning.
Information Provided By:
Joyce Marin, Executive Director, RenewLV
For additional information firstname.lastname@example.org