The City of Hickory was a recipient of the 2017 Marvin Collins Outstanding Planning Award in the Implementation/Large Community category in recognition of the Inspiring Spaces Plan.
The Marvin Collins Planning Awards is a program of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NC), created to recognize agencies and individuals that have completed outstanding plans, programs, or projects that represent the highest standards of achievement in the planning profession in North Carolina.
The Inspiring Spaces Plan began in 2012 and provided guidance to the City for identifying and prioritizing specific projects, as well as ways to implement and fund the projects. City Council commissioned a group of citizens, known as the Inspiring Spaces Committee, to work with consultant design firm, Land Design. Together, they formulated a strategy that focused on the current needs of Hickory and developed a comprehensive list of projects to improve the City. Ultimately, the Inspiring Spaces Plan led to the four catalyst projects: City Walk, Riverwalk, Streetscapes and Gateways, and a Class A Manufacturing Business Park, which are part of the $40 million bond referendum that passed in 2014.
"The Committee recognized that this plan represented a case of the whole being more than the sum of the individual parts," explained Scott Shuford, APA-NC Awards Committee Chair. "It was not just an arts plan or an economic development plan, but an outstanding example of the synergy that can come from creative planning informed by effective public involvement."
"I am so pleased to have been a part of developing the Inspiring Spaces Plan," said Assistant City Manager Andrea Surratt. "The committee of citizens we worked with were so engaged and committed to Hickory's progress. I'm grateful that the APA-NC recognized us and the work that went into the plan's development."