Smart Growth Program Kick-off Meeting for Turlock Community

The Smart Valley Places Community Leadership Institute will hold a kick-off meeting on Friday night that will introduce people in the community to an opportunity to learn more about smart growth principles and how they can be used to plan the future of the City of Turlock.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the San Joaquin Valley Smart Valley Places $4 million to support more livable and sustainable communities in the Valley.

While the Community Leadership program reaches out to involve local leaders, local government staff, area professionals, stakeholder organizations and members of community groups particularly low-income and minority communities, everyone is welcome to join the meeting.

The kick-off meeting will provide people with an opportunity to learn more about what the Institute has to offer and give people an opportunity to sign up for this free program.

“If you have ever wanted to learn the ABC’s of city planning and how to influence those decisions, this is the program for you,” said Debbie Whitmore, City of Turlock Deputy Director of Development Services. “I would encourage you to attend. There is no obligation. If you decide not to participate, that’s OK too.”

The first Smart Valley Places meeting in Turlock has an agenda that will include talks by Turlock Mayor John Lazar, City of Turlock Manager Roy Wasden, Stanislaus County Supervisor of District 2 Vito Chiesa, and Smart Valley Places local coordinator Sallie Ayala-Pérez.

Those attending will also be able to participate in a question and answer session.

The kick-off meeting in Turlock will be held at the Westside Ministries (952 Columbia Street) on Friday, February 10, starting at 6pm.

The purpose of the Community Leadership (CL) program for Smart Valley Places is to create a framework for sustained civic engagement, to build technical understanding of Smart Valley Places shared planning principles, and increase the implementation capacity among those involved.

Additional community involvement in decision making, especially by residents who currently do not have the capacity to participate or have been traditionally marginalized, will result in the adoption of more livable and equitable local policies.

The program involves three components aimed at developing the ability of Valley residents to engage as leaders on the issues of climate change, land use, local and regional transportation access, affordable housing, access to healthy foods, access to quality healthcare, education, and jobs, and access to safe and reliable drinking water.

Smart Valley Places is coordinated by the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley (Partnership) and driven by a compact of 14 Valley cities (including Turlock) from throughout the eight-county region, in partnership with four regional nonprofit organizations, California State University, Fresno, the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council, and the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation.

According to Smart Valley Places, “Building on the Partnership’s Strategic Action Proposal and the San Joaquin Valley Regional Blueprint’s smart growth principles, Smart Valley Places is our region’s roadmap to transforming itself, from one of the most challenged and underserved areas of the country into a region that embraces and reflects smart growth and sustainable development that will impact not only the health and prosperity of the region but the whole of California.”

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