GULF SHORES, Ala. – The City of Gulf Shores has been awarded the 2014 Outstanding Planning Award for a Project or Implementation Tool by the Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) for its work to develop Waterway Village along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Members of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium outreach team worked with Gulf Shores to research ways to encourage the return of water-dependent businesses along the waterway. They offered research assistance on zoning, identified regulations for seafood markets and exchanges and researched some of the legalities of creating a pedestrian pathway.
The award was presented to Planning and Zoning Director Andy Bauer at the Chapter’s 2014 Awards Ceremony held at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center at Capitol Hill in Prattville, Ala.
Bauer believes Waterway Village is a model for other coastal cities with regards to smart growth, neighborhood revitalization and preservation of historic working waterfronts. “We are honored to accept this prestigious award,” he said. “Waterway Village is an exemplary study of how cities can work with citizens, developers and private property owners to create a common vision to revitalize an area of the community.”
According to the APA, the annual award recognizes an outstanding project or tool that is a significant advancement to the cause of planning. This category emphasizes results and demonstrates how a project or tool implements a plan.
Plans for Waterway Village were unveiled in May of 2013 alongside the announcement that Louisiana-based Acme Oyster House would be coming to the area. Waterway Village is designed to be a compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhood downtown district that encourages an active working waterfront with a network of waterfront and neighborhood greenways and open spaces.
Since the announcement, Bauer says the city has committed significant resources to putting needed infrastructure in place and hopes to encourage continued development within the district.
“Over the past year we have constructed over 200 public parking spaces and have completed brick paver sidewalks and streetscape improvements,” Bauer said. “Acme has opened its doors and Big Daddy’s Grill has joined the area, as well. We are excited about welcoming the Gulf Coast Arts Alliance Art Gallery very soon and look forward to bringing more partners to Waterway Village in the future.”
Photo caption: Todd McDonald, member of the Alabama American Planning Association Awards Committee, left, and Tom Magee, chairman of the awards committee, right, present Gulf Shores Planning and Zoning Director Andy Bauer with the 2014 Outstanding Planning Award for a Project or Implementation Tool.