Greenprint for Paulding County, GA
Paulding County, GA, 8/5/04: With “The future is our responsibility and the environment is our future!” as its theme, the Environmental Committee of the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce unveiled the county’s new Greenprint Paulding County- a proactive, collaborative approach to land conservation planning and economic development. The plan, which was in the making for the past year, was shared with the general public at a Chamber forum today in Dallas, Georgia.
“This was and continues to be an exciting and important process for the future of Paulding County,” says Skip Teaster, President of the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce. “Thanks to the generosity of Cousins Properties and the insightful assistance of the Trust for Public Land and Integrated Science and Engineering, we’ve produced a document that not only reflects our community’s plan for prudent land conservation but a vision for accommodating sustainable economic development.”
“But it’s more than just a document,” continues Teaster. “It’s a dynamic process driven by consensus on how we go about protecting our fragile watersheds and our unique cultural identity in the wake of what we all know to be inevitable growth. The process confirmed that protection and conservation of the environment could be integrated with planned, quality growth without destroying either.”
Bruce Smith, Chairman of the Chamber’s Environmental Committee, wholeheartedly agrees. “We approached this process from the perspective that preserving a quality environment and sustainable economic growth were not incompatible concepts,” says Smith. “The quality of life for our children and our children’s children depends largely on the quality of the decisions we make today as well as the quality and the inclusiveness of that decision-making process.”
“Representatives from both the public and private sectors, leaders from the business community and neighborhood groups and advocacy organizations all shared equally in the deliberations,” continues Smith. “Total community participation and endorsement was encouraged every step of the way. We took our time in order to build a broad consensus, culminating in a final vision for our county. We knew the ultimate success of any plan would depend largely on there being a broad consensus.”
Smith goes on to say, “It was really gratifying to see community groups, business leaders, landowners, public officials and other interested citizens come together to identify and prioritize key resources to be protected- clearly and realistically defining the community’s land conservation goals. The Trust for Public Land and Integrated Science and Engineering- two integral members of the planning team- facilitated the process. I’m not sure we would have been able to bring such a diverse group of interests together without their help.”
The document or greenprint consists of three main sections, each containing critical elements of the process and the tools the county will use to make strategic choices about its future growth and development.
The first section outlines the planning process itself and documents the objectives that were defined by county residents who attended a series of workshops and meetings held throughout the county. The results of this detailed planning process led to the creation of maps and conceptual plans (displayed in the second section) that are collectively called Proposed Greenprint Concepts. The master plan considers the incorporation of future land use principles and management and includes a summary for best practices for future development within the county. The final section, entitled Implementation Strategies, addresses the steps recommended to implement the results of the greenprinting process.
“The citizens of Paulding County are to be congratulated,” says Kevin Johnson, project manager for the Trust For Public Land Georgia office. “They wanted a plan to help the county protect its natural and historic resources so that it could continue to grow in an economically viable and environmentally sound manner.”
“Greenprinting is just one of the many tools that the Trust for Public Land makes available to local governments and Georgia communities to help them research, organize and identify funding sources necessary to effectively undertake meaningful long-range land conservation and land-use planning,” continues Johnson. “The public forums were the beginning of the process-the first step in developing the “master plan.” Now the real work begins- taking that master plan and building the kind of Paulding County its citizens want for the future.”
About TPL: Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate- applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. Across the nation, TPL has saved more than 1.9 million acres of land. In Georgia, TPL has helped protect land throughout the state- including nearly 70 miles along the Chattahoochee River. It has also conserved land on Georgia’s coast and rivers, and in urban centers and developing suburban communities. For more information, see www.tpl.org.