‘Smart Growth’ conference in Danville filling up

A conference in Danville examining “smart growth” concepts for development has generated a lot of interest — its guest list is close to 100 names long and not many seats are left, said Jennifer Kirchner, a conference organizer and head of the local Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The conference titled “Finding a Balance in Boyle County” is Friday, Nov. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Centre College Student Center. It features a “Smart Growth 101” session; a panel discussion on “components of smart growth;” breakout sessions on downtown revitalization, housing options, community redevelopment and more; and a keynote presentation from “adaptive reuse” expert Holly Wiedemann.

So, what is smart growth and why are so many people interested in it?

“Smart growth focuses on planning. Being proactive, rather than reactive. Acting in the best interest of the environment and valuing our natural resources,” Kirchner said. “Principles such as reducing sprawl and prioritizing in-fill can have far-reaching benefits such as reducing abandoned infrastructure … making services and jobs more accessible by creating core areas and reducing concentrations of poverty.”

Providing multiple transportation options — such as public transportation, sidewalks, paths, trails and safe roads — is a major aspect of smart growth, she said.

“Most importantly, we need to ensure our development efforts and growth plans are congruent with land use and emphasize a prudent use of utility infrastructure.”

Kirchner said she is personally most excited about the conference’s breakout session on “reimagining downtown Danville,” which will be led by Madison Silvert with the Malcolm Bryant Corporation — the company that recently purchased the Hub building on Main Street — and landscape architect Louis Johnson.

“As a community, we have been discussing opportunities for development such as a downtown hotel, mixed-use properties, placemaking, creating a more walkable pedestrian environment,” Kirchner said. “And this will be a great introduction to that process. And I very much hope that this conference is just the beginning of these discussions about the future of the community.”

Kirchner said registration is desired so the organizers can plan appropriately, but walk-ins will be welcome. However, “space is very limited,” she said. “We are near capacity.”

The event’s online event page states it is “a Boyle County only event.” The intended audience is “all elected officials, civic leaders, planners, business owners, Industry representatives, Economic Development Partnership (members), secondary education representatives, developers, Realtors, agriculture (representatives) and all interested Boyle County stakeholders and citizens.”

Online registration for the event is available at bit.ly/DBCplanningtomorrow. The event is sponsored by the City of Danville, Boyle County Fiscal Court and Centre College; funding was also provided by the Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission.

 

Schedule

8:30 a.m. — Registration, coffee, networking, continental breakfast

8:50 a.m. — Welcome and overview

9 a.m. — Smart Growth 101 (Dr. Ned Crankshaw, UK professor and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture)

9:45 a.m. — Components of smart growth panel discussion (David Tomes, Norton Commons; Clint Quarles, Kentucky Department of Agriculture; Brian Howard, Owensboro planning director)

10:55 a.m. — Rural Downtown Revitalization Through Incremental Design and Planning: A Case Study for Junction City and Perryville (Breakout session with Dr. Ryan Sandwick, UK design specialist and landscape architect and moderator Danville-Boyle P&Z Director Steve Hunter)

10:55 a.m. — Housing Options, Transportation and Farmland Considerations (Breakout session with Bob Weiss, executive director of the Kentucky Homebuilders Association, Dr. David Williams with Farm Bureau and moderator Rob Rumpke)

10:55 a.m. — Community Redevelopment: Northern Kentucky Case Study (Breakout session with James Fausz, Kenton County senior planner; and moderator Sarah Vahlkamp

11:50 a.m. — Reimagining Downtown Danville (Breakout session with Madison Silvert, president of the Malcolm Bryant Corporation; Louis Johnson, landscape architect and moderator Jennifer Kirchner)

11:50 a.m. — County-wide Development Opportunities of Jobs and Economic Development Needs (Breakout session with Dr. Alison Davis, executive director of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky; and moderator Jody Lassiter)

12:30 p.m. — Lunch buffet

12:50 p.m. — Keynote presentation from Holly Wiedemann, CEO of AU Associates, noted for adaptive reuse projects across Kentucky

1:30 p.m. — Report outs and discussion from breakout sessions

2:45 p.m. — Setting priorities and facilitated discussion with Rob Rumpke, Kentucky Tomorrow

3:30 p.m. — Adjourn

 

IF YOU GO

The “smart growth” conference “Finding a Balance in Boyle County” will be 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1, at the Centre College Student Center. Registration is free and includes lunch. Register online at bit.ly/DBCplanningtomorrow.