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Rocky Mount wins American Planning Association state awards

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ROCKY MOUNT — The city of Rocky Mount Development Services Department recently earned a pair of awards from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association. 

“It is great to receive recognition from the state chapter of the American Planning Association for local planning efforts in Rocky Mount,” said Will Deaton, director of development services.

The Marvin Collins Small Area Plan Award recognized the department’s efforts in the Atlantic-Arlington Corridor Study, and the Great Transformation Award was in recognition of the Rocky Mount Mills development. 

The Marvin Collins Planning Awards program annually recognizes agencies and individuals that have completed outstanding plans, programs and projects. The award won by the city of Rocky Mount signifies the highest standards of achievement for planning in North Carolina. 

In 2018, the Atlantic-Arlington Corridor Study was developed as a small area plan that was commissioned as a strategic guide for a gateway thoroughfare into downtown Rocky Mount. The corridor plays an important role in the city’s history, which includes the 2018 opening of the Rocky Mount Event Center as well as public and private investments. 

The Atlantic-Arlington Corridor Study addresses five fundamental areas — land use and zoning, urban design, housing, transportation and public facilities and infrastructure — to provide a framework for a predictable and flexible approach to ensure new development aligns with the community’s shared vision for the area. 

The Great Transformation Award recognizes places that have been retrofitted and re-energized. 

Rocky Mount was recognized for working with Capital Broadcasting Co. to complete a successful transformation of Rocky Mount Mills. Everything from minor infrastructure improvements, including sidewalk prioritization, enhanced walkability and transportation options, was a joint effort with the city’s development services and engineering staff. The city of Rocky Mount officially designated the 98-acre Rocky Mount Mills complex and village as a local historic district through the public input and engagement policies. More than 100 housing units have been built or restored in the village, with additional development in the planning stages.

“We look forward to even greater transformations and implementation of plans and studies in the future,” Deaton said.

More than 1,400 professional and citizen planners are members of the APA’s North Carolina state chapter.