Where We Are and Where We’re Going: The State of the Lehigh Valley
On February 28, the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium will partner with Renew Lehigh Valley to present the third annual State of the Lehigh Valley: Community Trends at a Glance report at a luncheon with community leaders and stakeholders.
The report will detail the successes and struggles of the region from the perspective of civic engagement, economic growth, health and the environment. A poster session highlighting local organizations will be held prior to the start of the presentation, allowing guests to view further information about the Lehigh Valley while getting a head start on the buffet. Registration to attend the event is now live on Renew Lehigh Valley’s website (www.renewlv.com) where you can sign up and pay the registration fee of $35 to attend the presentation and luncheon. That fee will also provide you with your own copy of the annual report.
The timing of this report coincides with the Envision Lehigh Valley project that has enlisted many partners in the region. Envision Lehigh Valley is a public outreach effort designed to engage the citizens of Northampton and Lehigh Counties to create a more sustainable Lehigh Valley. The project received a three year, $3.4 million Sustainable Communities Grant from the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and will conclude at year end 2014. In the span of that time, partners throughout the Lehigh Valley will work together to produce strategic regional plans to address economic development, fresh food access, employment and housing balance, as well as transportation. These plans will further the current Comprehensive Plan…The Lehigh Valley 2030.
Plans will be drafted after receiving feedback from the public in many varied forms. Lehigh Valley residents have been asked what they would like to see in the next 20 years and how they feel about the current state of growth in the region. These regional plans, coupled with the State of the Lehigh Valley report, will show us the condition of the Lehigh Valley over the past year, and what needs to be done in future years to assure a sustainable future.
The State of the Lehigh Valley’s focus this year will be on the environment and environmental sustainability. Envision Lehigh Valley’s focus is all about regional sustainability. “Sustainability” is a buzz word, but what does it mean practically? Sustainable growth is a commitment to development that meets our current needs, but also considers conservation of our resources so that we will be able to meet future demands for land, clean air, fresh food and housing. It’s an effort to reinvest in our core communities so they can be revitalized, rather than sprawling outward into the open spaces and agricultural land. It encourages walkability of communities, mixed use of our buildings, and balance between employment and transportation to one’s job.
In the Lehigh Valley smart, sustainable growth means combating the four food deserts that are currently located in our region; addressing our public transportation with LANTa; establishing a regional economic development plan; assessing fair and affordable housing the region; and reworking the Little Lehigh Industrial Corridor in Allentown, the Eastern Gateway in Bethlehem, and the 13th Street corridor in Easton.
Be informed and join the discussion at the State of the Lehigh Valley event on February 28th with your fellow community leaders. Let’s work together and plan as a region with Envision Lehigh Valley to become a more successful and more sustainable Lehigh Valley. Don’t leave the future up to chance; choose to plan for our future together.
Visit www.renewlv.org for more information and registration details for the State of the Lehigh Valley event. Visit www.envisionlehighvalley.org to learn more about the three-year project. Call 484-893-1060 with questions or if you would like to get involved.