GVMC Is Accepting Nominations

    GRAND RAPIDS — Environmental soundness and sustainable communities are what the Metropolitan Development Blueprint Awards are about.

    And the Grand Valley Metro Council, the region’s planning agency and the award’s sponsor, is now accepting applications for the 2004 awards.

    Entry is open to individuals, companies, agencies, municipalities and organizations that have helped advance what the Metro Council calls “the Blueprint vision.”

    This vision is made up of compact, livable communities, regional centers of employment, the retention of open lands, and well-designed transportation and transit systems.

    Last year, the Blueprint Committee handed out a trio of MDB Awards.

    One went to the city of Grand Rapids for the update of its 1963 Master Plan. The city’s Planning Department involved residents in hundreds of meetings to reshape development within the city. Jack Hoffman, parking commission chairman and local attorney, headed a 36-person committee that oversaw the process.

    The city, the Frey Foundation, The Right Place Inc., and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funded the effort.

    In presenting the city with the award, the Blueprint Committee felt that nowhere had the principles of the Blueprint been so “widely applied and comprehensively illustrated” than in the city’s giant undertaking.

    Another 2003 MDB Award went to the Helmus Building and its developer, Bazzani Associates Inc. Guy Bazzani and his crew restored the Helmus, an abandoned 9,500-square-foot building in an economically stressed part of the city at Wealthy and Diamond avenues.

    The award committee reported that Bazzani incorporated the major Blueprint principles of land use, utilities and environment into restoration of the building.

    The third 2003 MDB Award went to Bosgraaf Homes, of Holland, for the Cobblestone residential development at 40th and Graafschap on the outskirts of the Tulip City.

    The committee cited Bosgraaf’s layout of the development as a key to the homebuilder picking up the award. The lots are narrower, garages are behind the homes, and the smaller setbacks from the street allow for more public activity in front of the houses.

    Bosgraaf has designed a similar neighborhood for a new development in Kentwood.

    To be eligible for the 2004 award, applicants must be located in Kent County or the seven counties that surround Kent. Developments and design projects must be built and policies and organizational projects must have the appropriate administrative approvals.

    For more information, one may contact Priscilla Babcock at 776-7608 or download an entry form at www.gvmc.org.

    The Metro Council will present the awards at its Growing Communities Conference on June 10.    

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