Lancaster City’s economic development plan wins award

Building on Strength, the economic development strategic plan for the City of Lancaster, has won a planning excellence award from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Local organizations listed on the award include Lancaster City Alliance, City of Lancaster, Lancaster County Planning Commission and RGS Associates.

The APA held its annual awards luncheon in Pittsburgh; as the project leaders, the Lancaster City Alliance was there to accept the award in front of more than 300 attendees.  

According to a news release from the APA, the Planning Excellence Award is specifically designed for plans other than a comprehensive plan, or not government-sponsored plans.

“The difference is this is a plan that is primarily funded through the private sector,” said Marshall Snively, executive vice president and COO of Lancaster City Alliance.

The award was a plaque, and the Lancaster City Alliance will display it in its lobby.

“It’s truly a community-owned plan and accomplishment,” Snively said. “While our logo is on the plan, the plan actually belongs to the community.”

Since the plan’s start in 2013, there have been more than 100 meetings that brought together about 1,500 community stakeholders, according to Snively.

It was created at the request of Lancaster City Mayor Rick Gray at the same time as two organizations — the James Street Improvement District and the Lancaster Alliance — came together to form what is known today as the Lancaster City Alliance.

“We call this plan Building on Strength because it’s taking the enormous growth the city has seen over the past 10 years and building on it and expanding upon it,” Snively said.

It builds on a plan for the city from 1998 and includes four basic strategies: traditional economic development, promoting entrepreneurialism, leveraging the city’s brand as a great place to live, work, and do business, and improving quality of life as an economic development attracter.

A goal of the plan is to invest in growth in different commercial areas, and it works with other initiatives in the city, such as workforce development.

Baltimore-based Mahan Rykiel Associates was selected as the consultant for this project, and submitted the plan for the award on the city’s behalf.

Lenay Ruhl

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