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2017 APA Ohio Planning Awards

Our biennial awards program honors outstanding planning and planning leadership in Ohio, recognizing the highest levels of achievement.

We received 30 award nominations in 7 of 9 potential categories. APA Ohio presented the following nine awards at the 2017 APA Ohio Statewide Planning Conference in Athens, OH on September 28, 2017.

The nominations were reviewed and winners selected by a jury of 13 professional planners from the APA Wisconsin Chapter. The Jury evaluated nominations based on a set of criteria. This year’s award winners:

  • Demonstrate creative problem solving
  • Are well presented, clear & accurate, and communicate ideas successfully
  • Include an interactive public feedback process
  • Demonstrate appropriate and applicable solutions to common issues
  • Illustrate successful planning processes


Outstanding Planner

John Deatrick, AICP, PE

John DeatrickJohn Deatrick is an ideal example of a planning professional deserving of the term outstanding planner.  In his nearly 45 years in the planning profession, he has managed projects ranging from small neighborhood plans to multi-million dollar construction projects that impacted an entire region.

He is a Certified Planner, a US Professional Engineer, a UK Chartered Engineer, and holds several LEED certifications. After decades of work in Cincinnati, Washington DC, and elsewhere, Mr. Deatrick moved back to Cincinnati to serve as Project Executive for the APA Award Winning Banks Project Central Riverfront Redevelopment, and Smale Riverfront Park, a combined $127M public infrastructure program. In 2013, Mr. Deatrick was appointed as Project Executive for the Cincinnati Streetcar Project. He led the team that built all the project-related infrastructure and passenger service on the $148M project.

After many years of great accomplishments, Mr. Deatrick still credits a vast amount of his success to his training as a Planner and his work with Planners. He is still active with APA, speaking at conferences and attending local events.


Best Practice

Local Food Action Plan/Green Business & Urban Agriculture Plan/Local Food Team
Franklin County, City of Columbus, Local Matters, MKSK, ACENET, MORPC, OSU Extension

Local FoodThe trio of planning efforts included in this best practice award work together to optimize political, economic, regulatory, and practical factors to enable growth of local food systems.

The Local Food Action Plan is rooted in the belief that residents should have access to nutritious and affordable food. The Green Business & Urban Agriculture Strategic Plan advanced specific elements of the Food Action Plan by developing specific site-scale concepts and working to adapt regulations within the City of Columbus to support them. The City-County Local Food Team will provide ongoing guidance to various entities to support implementation of both plans.





Court Street Connects
City of Bowling Green, Camiros, Ltd.

court streetCourt Street Connects was a free community-led Earth Day event designed to celebrate the city’s unique town-gown relationship while bringing attention to the neighborhood between Bowling Green State University and Downtown Bowling Green. The event utilized tactical urbanism techniques to engage residents in thinking about public and private improvements that could occur on and around the Court Street corridor. Over 30 local volunteers and 15 partners came together to make the event a success.

The jury praised this project as a true best practice. “This was one of the smallest projects and, I suspect, one of the lowest budget projects.  It truly reaches a broad range of community members and goes beyond "diversity".  It would be great if all comprehensive plans required a community "street" celebration.  Put another way, what I learned in this project is that no street is complete and no plan is comprehensive if there is no celebration.”




Comprehensive Planning | Large Jurisdiction

Downtown Toledo Master Plan
22nd Century Committee, Downtown Toledo Development Corporation, MKSK, Development Strategies, HKS, Mannik & Smith Group, Toledo Design Center

toledoSince APA Ohio held its statewide planning conference in Toledo in 2 years ago, the downtown area has experienced a resurgence. Sensing this momentum, the public-private 22nd Century Committee led a downtown plan that provides a guiding framework for continued growth and revitalization. The public was invited to participate in many different ways across multiple platforms, giving the planning team more than 1,000 ideas and comments. Twelve Priority Action Items identify the catalytic projects that will transform downtown in the near future.

The jury felt that this was an excellent example of an economic development-driven master plan. “The plan contains a great waterfront focus and the public involvement in the planning effort was tremendous.”





Comprehensive Planning | Small Jurisdiction

Sandusky 2018 Bicentennial Vision
City of Sandusky, City Architecture, Strategy Design Partners

sanduskyThe Sandusky 2018 Bicentennial Vision is a community wide five-year strategic plan paired with a comprehensive physical master plan for the City of Sandusky, home to Cedar Point amusement park. Community engagement played a critical role in the planning process with events, meetings and online tools reaching more than a quarter of the City’s 27,000 residents. The Plan utilized a number of innovative outreach initiatives, including a waterfront boat tour – important for a city with over 12 miles of Lake Erie shoreline.

The jury noted: “I found myself getting very excited about Sandusky's future as I read the plan and learned about the public participation.  The plan inspires hope by presenting short-range realistic strategies as well as long-range goals. Merging the City's 5-year strategic plan with the long-range comprehensive master plan is an innovative way to program implementation, including through the City's municipal priority setting & budgetary processes.”



City of Grove City

grove cityGrove City is a suburb at the edge of the Columbus region that has grown steadily since 1960 to a population of over 35,000. It is expected to be among the fastest growing cities in Franklin County over the next 20 years. But it lacked a current vision for its future.

GroveCity2050 integrates a land use plan, thoroughfare plan, and economic development strategy. It is the first long-term, city-wide plan in central Ohio to deliberately leverage insight2050 to position the community to accommodate the region’s changing demographics and population growth over the next 30 years. The plan was informed by a robust public engagement process—over 90 residents applied to become part of a 30-member citizen steering committee that guided creation of the plan.





Focused Planning Project

Cleveland’s Midway Cycle Track
City of Cleveland, WSP, SmithGroupJJR

midway cycle trackThe Midway Cycle Track Plan capitalizes on a roadway network with excess capacity, while also improving bikability and connectivity. The Midway Cycle Track is a two-way facility for exclusive use by bicycles. Located in the middle of the road, it would function much like traditional downtown streetcars or the current Cleveland Bus Rapid Transit system on Euclid Avenue.

The jury was enthusiastic about the plan and called it “genius. The creation of a safe zone without pushing the bicyclist to the edge of, or off of the right-of-way is fantastic.”






Focused Built Project

Cincinnati Streetcar
City of Cincinnati

cinti connectorThe Cincinnati Bell Connector provides a state-of-the-art transportation option for more than 17 million visitors and residents in Cincinnati’s growing urban core.  The 3.6-mile circulator loop connects the Central Riverfront, Central Business District, and Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods. The $148M project includes a fleet of five streetcar vehicles each holding up to 148 passengers serve 18 station stops. The Connector served more than half a million riders in its first 7 months of operation.

The jury called this project “a model of collaboration and perseverance in planning to accomplish a great project with great ripple effects—particularly impressive in light of the polarized political climate and the capacity building required to move beyond politics for the public good and survival of a city.”





Planning Student Project

The Core of Georgetown
University of Cincinnati Fall 2016 Plan-Making Workshop

georgetownThe 27 master’s planning students were tasked with developing a contextually appropriate plan to more effectively leverage Georgetown, Kentucky’s unique historic character as a community asset. Over the course of four months, the students gathered detailed information, consulted with city leaders and citizens, and drafted visionary yet feasible plans for key downtown sites. 

The final 316-page report details their analyses, strategic concepts and site designs. The students’ creative visions reflect a sense of best practices and innovative approaches used elsewhere, as well as a sensitivity to the socio-cultural and political realities of small town planning and development.

The jury called this report very impressive for a student project: “It is apparent that the students went beyond the scope of the project presented to them, and created a document that will serve the community very well as it plans for its future.”

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