The City of Columbia’s efforts to handle parking downtown and make it a more walkable destination has gained national recognition. Columbia was named as one of 14 communities throughout the country who will receive free technical assistance from Smart Growth America in 2015.
Smart Growth America is a national organization which researches and advocates for coalitions bringing smart growth practices to communities across the country. The organization offers workshops on topics ranging from transit-oriented development to zoning, economic development and fiscal health and parking management. As part of the award, Columbia will receive assistance from experts on parking audits. “Downtown parking has become an increasingly important issue in recent years,” says Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas, in a press release provided by the city. Thomas, along with Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp and Sixth Ward Councilman Barbara Hoppe, helped the city develop Columbia’s proposal for the competition.
According to Smart Growth, the organization received more than 120 applications for technical assistance in 2015. “This award is a testament to the hard work Columbia has already done. Our Program was more competitive this year than ever before, and Columbia stood out as a community doing great work,” explains Roger Millar, vice president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute.
Previous projects funded by Smart Growth’s technical assistance program have included providing communities with more sidewalks, planning for more homes built near public transportation and helping farms remain in their community. This year’s winners included communities of all sizes from across the country, from Indianapolis, to Knoxville, to Fort Pierre, South Dakota. For more information on the winners and the services Smart Growth America provides, visit their website.