This third annual presentation of the Growing Smarter Together Awards was a special highlight of ABAG’s Spring General Assembly in April and recognized five categories of local government planning and development projects. Alameda County, and the cities of Berkeley, San Mateo County, San Ramon, and Union City were singled out because of their significant commitment to building complete communities and advancing focused growth principles. Corporate sponsor PG&E helped underwrite the awards program and Comcast produced special videos showcasing the five award winning projects, which can be viewed below.
Building a Better Bay Area - Urban Design, a new category unveiled this year, was presented to the City of Berkeley for Oxford Plaza and David Brower Center. This transit-oriented, infill, mixed-use project has used outstanding design and green building techniques that surmount the challenges of infill development including land constraints, affordability, and integration with an existing neighborhood. Project has contributed 120 new jobs, 97 rental units of affordable housing, a world class environmental center, located in the heart of downtown Berkeley across from UC Berkeley and one block from BART.
Sharing the Benefits Category: Award to the City of San Ramon for its Housing Rehabilitation Program. The innovative San Ramon Housing Rehabilitation program helps avoid community displacement or other adverse impacts, while promoting community revitalization. The Program provides financial and technical assistance to families, seniors, and other underserved populations to help them maintain and preserve healthy homes and improve the quality of neighborhood housing stock. Eligible improvements range from abating lead base paint and asbestos hazards, improving energy efficiency and water usage, providing handicapped accessibility modifications, to providing new roofs, electrical work, plumbing, HVAC, and other needed repairs for aging homes.
Public-Private Partnership Category: Award to San Mateo County for HEART-Housing Endowment and Regional Trust. The Housing Endowment and Regional Trust, the HEART of San Mateo County, is a model of how public and private partnerships can strengthen and build vibrant sustainable communities healthy communities. Through the effective cooperation of San Mateo County, its 21 cities, non profits, and the private sector, HEART has sponsored housing programs with financing options that encourage growth in existing communities and foster better connections between land use and transportation, serving all income levels. Projects include Hillcrest Gardens, the Village at the Crossing, Trestle Glen, Peninsula Station, and El Camino Family Housing.
On the Ground—Getting It Done: FOCUSed Growth Award to Union City for implementation efforts within the City’s Intermodal Station District. Union City is transforming fifty acres of underutilized areas into a transit-oriented, high- density, mixed-use downtown district: creating a new town center with civic, residential, commercial and office uses. This is done in concert with the transformation of the Union City BART station into a landmark intermodal transit facility, providing connections between existing BART and bus systems and proposed passenger rail services. BART and AC Transit were also recognized with certificates for their outstanding support and partnership in this project.
Preserving and Protecting the Environment Category: Alameda County and Public Works Department for Peralta Creek Restoration Project. The Peralta Creek Restoration project provided its Oakland neighborhood with enhanced flood protection and moved beyond just repairing the failed retaining walls. Alameda County Flood Control District created a natural riparian habitat in the midst of an urban setting of buildings and pavement, revitalizing the socially disadvantaged neighborhood with park-like views and a restored creek. A critical element of project success was the effective public outreach that involved the community in planning with help from the City of Oakland and the Unity Council.