The EPA recently awarded Madison County with a Smart Growth Planning Grant, providing the county and specifically the city of Oneida help in finding the best strategies for sustainable growth. But Jamie Hart, senior planner at Madison County Planning Department says the grant means so much more.
"This has such quality of life impacts on everything that we do; how we get around, where we work, where we shop. Smart growth is something, it's become kind of a buzz word but it encapsulates principles that guide people to think about how can we make our community a better place"
So what can community members expect to see in the near future?
"Smart Growth, its a framework to allow communities to grow with intent: your housing, transportation, natural resources, history and culture, to create the places that your community wants to see."
Madison County Public Health Director Eric Faisst says the grant will also bring health benefits.
"You can't walk anywhere anymore, you have to drive everywhere so there's less physical activity. With increased traffic, you have increased pollution. A neighborhood where you can walk around and talk to people and they sit on their front porch has positive health effects."
In our fast paced world, Faisst also hopes the new developments will bring some old community charm back to town.
"We've moved away from traditional village communities and what this really is, is getting back to that, bringing revitalization back down to villages."