While most people understand that, few realize how crucial partnerships are to fueling economic revitalization and making community improvements.
However, on Wednesday night, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission demonstrated the importance of collaboration as it celebrated its fifth annual Lehigh Valley Gala and Awards show at DeSales University, an event that attracted 280 guests.
“The reason we started doing this five years ago is because we realized it takes the private sector, the nonprofit sector and we wanted to honor that collective group of people,” said Becky Bradley, executive director of LVPC.
The awards show highlights the communities, projects and plans in Lehigh and Northampton counties that represent the best in sustainability, efficiency and sound planning, according to the LVPC.
One example is Macungie Borough, which earned the Community of Distinction award.
This award honors the community that has consistent plans and policies that support efficient and sustainable development, land management and resourcefulness. LVPC described the borough as a model of good planning, foresight and innovation. The honorees were Bath Borough, Plainfield Township, and Weisenberg Township.
Overall, the organization presented 190 awards on Wednesday night. With 28 projects in 11 categories, and 190 partners, each partner also received an award.
• The Multi-Municipal Cooperation award went to Northern Lehigh Recreation Authority.
• The Plan, Planning Policy or Ordinance award went to Bethlehem Better Blight Initiative.
• The Land Development award went to Strata Flats, (East, West and Symphony) an upscale apartment project in Allentown.
• The Revitalization award went to Bath Borough municipal building.
• The Outdoor Recreation Project award went to ArtsWalk Extension Phases Two and Three in Allentown.
• The Outdoor Recreation Program award went to Tail on the Trail program.
• The Open Space award went to Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Fund.
• The Environmental Project award went to New Bethany Ministries Energy Makeover in Bethlehem.
• The Transportation Planning award went to Bicycling Education for Youth.
• The Transportation Infrastructure award went to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension Accelerated Bridge Replacement project.
A number of local businesses, nonprofits and volunteers served as partners for these projects.
Many volunteers also help bring these projects to fruition.
“There’s always those community volunteers,” Bradley said. “Over the last five years, people became more and more interested.”
Over the years, the LVPC has an open call for projects that are consistent with the organization’s long-range plans, seeking those projects that support the management and growth of the Lehigh Valley’s communities, she said.
The LVPC, a Hanover Township, Lehigh County-based nonprofit, hosts the awards show each October to celebrate National Community Planning Month.