Maine Association of Planners Announces 2022 Annual Awards for Planning Excellence

The Maine Association of Planners recognizes excellence in planning each year. At the annual meeting on June 3rd, 2022, at the Bangor Arts Exchange Building, the Maine Association of Planners bestowed the following awards:

Plan of the Year – Eastern Maine Development Corporation for their plan entitled 2021-2025 Eastern Maine Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

This award goes to the highest merit of planning.  The EMDC plan is original, transferable, of high quality, included public participation, and promotes actionable results.  The awards committee was particularly impressed by the effort to make this plan accessible to the general public with succinct text, supportive illustrations and easy online access.

The Eastern Maine Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy “identifies goals and objectives for the Eastern Maine region that guide economic growth and regional resiliency. EMDC is designated by the U.S. Economic Development Agency to update the plan every 5 years. The result is a living document that is data-rich, and thoughtfully created with diverse public and private stakeholder input.” 

Lee Umphrey’s receives the 2022 Plan of the Year Award for Eastern Maine Development Corporation as Anne Krieg, MAP Awards Committee Chair looks on.

Project or Program of the Year – LD 1694 Maine Land Bank legislation – nominated by Shelly Norton, City Planner, Lewiston, and awarded to Ian Houseal, Community Development Director for the City of Sanford, and to Kara Wilbur of BuildMaine

The MAP award goes to a legislative initiative that is of unusually high merit and makes a difference in the lives of the people affected. This Land Bank Legislation enhances municipal and county capacity for “Coordinated development of blighted, abandoned, environmentally hazardous and functionally obsolete property [that] serves the public interest.” Municipalities, counties and Unorganized Territories will have expanded capacity to raise funds to reimagine blighted areas and restore economic vitality. Sanford Maine is on the forefront of this new initiative and deserves special recognition for helping to develop a prototype for action.

Program of the Year Team, including Kara Wilbur who was awarded Professional Planner of the Year.

Professional Planner of the Year – Kara Wilbur of Build Maine

This award goes to a planner that has sustained a contribution to the field of planning through their distinguished practice.  This includes increasing the public’s understanding of planning principles and the planning process as well as formulating and implementing plans and furthering the cause of planning.

“Kara Wilbur, CNU, is a planner and urban designer with 19 years of national experience for both public and private sector clients. She received a Master’s in Urban Design from the University of Miami in 2007. She has worked in a variety of private and public planning capacities in Maine including the Legacy Lewiston Comprehensive Plan which was adopted in 2017.Currently Kara is working on historic redevelopment projects and is starting a modular home company called Dooryard to create more high-quality affordable new infill development in Maine. Under her leadership, BuildMaine has partnered this spring with Grow Smart to lead discussions and working groups with the intent of identifying a Policy Action agenda for Maine’s 2023 legislative session on issues that affect state-wide land use.”

Citizen Planner of the Year – John Fink of Ellsworth

The criteria for this award is that it is for a non-professional citizen who has made a distinguished contribution to planning.  The nominee is dedicated to increasing the understanding of planning principles and the planning process, as well as the goals of the community.  The award goes to a nominee that has promoted the cause and advanced the merits of planning.

John Fink is recognized both for his dedication and longevity as a planning board member and chair for the City of Ellsworth for more than thirty years.  During his long tenure John served as an effective mediator, helping concerned parties to find win-win solutions to planning challenges. He retired from the planning board in February, 2022.

The Awards Committee included Anne Krieg, AICP Bangor Planning Officer, Deer Island Town Manager Jim Fisher AICP, and Bar Harbor Planning Director Michele Gagnon.

These nominations will be submitted to the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association for consideration for a regional chapter award.