Land-use webinar to highlight Pa. landscapes, greenways

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension will focus on landscapes and greenways in Pennsylvania, examining the meaning of these terms and defining their implications for communities.

Presenting the 90-minute webinar at noon on April 16 will be Brad Clemenson, with the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape, Tom Buck, with the Northern Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission, and Jane Sheffield, with the Allegheny Ridge Corporation.

Throughout the commonwealth, large regions are working together to drive strategic investment and actions around sustainability, conservation, community revitalization, and recreational projects, noted Clemenson.

"Known as conservation landscapes and greenways, these collaborations are developing in landscapes and green corridors where there are strong natural assets, local readiness and buy-in, and state-level investment support," he said. "The concepts of 'conservation landscape' and 'greenway' will be presented as well as how the designations are impacting local Pennsylvania communities."

The webinar will explain how two conservation landscape initiatives are protecting, enhancing and conserving exceptional natural and recreational assets for community and economic development, noted John Turack, a Penn State Extension economic and community development educator, who will moderate the session.

"In addition, the role of heritage areas in the involvement of economic development, historic preservation, outdoor recreation and environmental conservation will be covered," he said. "How heritage areas provide numerous opportunities in economically struggling communities by delivering heritage tourism infrastructure through partnerships with public and private sectors will be presented."

The Main Line Canal Greenway was developed by numerous organizations and communities coming together with the common aspiration of making new connections between old neighbors and creating opportunities for recreation, conservation, and economic development, pointed out Sheffield, whose Allegheny Ridge Corporation oversees the Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area. 

"The Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway is a 320-mile corridor that follows the historic path of the Main Line Canal System," she said. "It intends to serve as a physical connector that improves opportunities for public access, linkage to important destinations and economic development. It is not a single, long-distance trail for unimpeded travel."

Buck will discuss how both designations -- landscapes and greenways -- have been incorporated in the planning and policies of the Northern Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission.  Applications within the Pennsylvania Wilds landscape will be highlighted.

The April 16 webinar is part of a monthly land-use series. The webinars, which all start at noon and are recorded for future viewing, cover the following topics:

--Feb. 19: "Transit-Oriented and Walkable Communities," presented by Angela Murray, of the Lower Merion Township planning department, and Patrick Roberts, a planner with the city of Pittsburgh.

--March 19: "Understanding Data for Community Leaders," presented by Tim Kelsey, Penn State professor of agricultural economics, and Jeff Himes, Penn State Extension community development educator.

--April 16: "Landscapes and Greenways in Pennsylvania -- What Is the Meaning of These Terms, and What Are their Implications for Pennsylvania Communities?" presented by Brad Clemenson, Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape, Jane Sheffield, Allegheny Ridge Corporation, and Tom Buck, Northcentral Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission and the North Central Greenways Program.

--May 21: "Pennsylvania Housing Research Center's Subdivision and Land Development Guidelines: A Tool for Better Design in Pennsylvania," presented by Kate Blansett, associate director, Pennsylvania Housing Research Center, and Neal Fogle, Penn State Extension community development educator.

--June 18: "Easements Made Easy -- Applying Conservation Easements on the Landscapes and Greenways of Pennsylvania's Communities," presented by Andrew Loza, executive director of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, and Ronald Bailey, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission.

The cost of the webinar series is $30 for all five webinars and $60 for all five webinars for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

For more information, contact Jeff Himes at 570-724-9120 or by email at jjh149@psu.edu, or visit the website to register for the webinars.

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Last Updated April 08, 2014