CMPDD Receives Three National Innovation Awards from NADO

CMPDD has received three 2013 Innovation Awards from the National Assn. of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation for: 1) Madison County’s GIS Program, 2) City of Ridgeland’s Universal Playground, and 3) University of Mississippi Medical Center’s University Drive project. NADO is a Washington, DC-based association that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies. The Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and partnering organizations for improving the economic and community competitiveness of the nation’s regions and local communities. Award winners were showcased during NADO’s 2013 Annual Training Conference, held August 24 – 27 in San Francisco, CA. The first award was for assisting Madison County with GIS and the creation of a data management system. The District made a significant investment in upgrading required hardware and software. These investments, coupled with the expansion of GIS staff, resulted in CMPDD developing and launching customized web based applications using virtual servers and ArcGIS Server technology. These applications, accessible through the CMPDD website, use state-of-the-art HTML and JavaScript to serve up 15 different interactive mapping applications containing a host of information for public viewing. These applications allow accessibility to state and local data layers, including political boundaries, demographics, flood zones, physical geography, transportation, public facilities, subdivisions, zoning, parcels, deeds, and plats. These services also have search and identify functionality allowing users to query datasets. With these internet-based, tabletcompatible viewing tools, users are able to pick and choose base map and data layer(s) from a menu of available information. It is anticipated that additional layers and functionality will be added to each viewer as needed. Second, CMPDD and the City of Ridgeland’s Adam’s Project Universal Design Playground received a NADO Innovations award for using recreation as an economic development tool. CMPDD assisted Ridgeland in obtaining CDBG Public Facilities funds to partially fund an innovative, unique project, a Universal Design Playground at Freedom Ridge Park. Adam’s Project was also made possible through awareness-building, fundraising, and the motivation to provide a playground for those with special needs. Various organizations, businesses, and individuals have contributed to the project, which was inspired by Ridgeland resident Adam Malone, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The universal design goes beyond the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Play Area. It provides an area of play which allows accessibility and full participation for the physically-challenged and disabled, no matter what age or ability level. This playground is the second and also the largest of its kind in Mississippi, with visitors not only from all over the state, but the southeast region of the country as well. Many events such as Special Olympics Events are held at this site, drawing people from all over the country to Ridgeland, which promotes economic development through money spent at local hotels, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and other local businesses. The third Innovation Award recognized CMPDD for its assistance to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) through project development and implementation. Initial assistance was focused on preparing an application for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Public Works Assistance Grant, which resulted in a $1,500,000 grant award in May 2012. Following the grant award, CMPDD has served as UMMC’s liaison to EDA and project administrator. The partnership has continued to grow as CMPDD is currently working with UMMC on other infrastructure projects. Located in Jackson, UMMC is the state’s only academic medical center, Level 1 trauma center, and children’s hospital. Opportunities to create jobs exist in all areas, but targeted capital investments are necessary to accommodate growth on campus; therefore, a Master Plan was developed. Plan implementation spurs job creation and assists the state in affecting improvements in both access to healthcare and healthcare outcomes for its citizens. Future growth contemplated by the Master Plan required the East University Drive Roadway Project, funded in part by EDA. The Roadway Project provided a properly planned and designed access to the campus and relocated utilities to along the new roadway. The 4-lane road connects to a new signalized intersection on Lakeland Drive and also connects to the existing 2-lane road that extends south to Woodrow Wilson Ave. This road will undergo the addition of a third lane, along with other enhancements, to provide capacity for added traffic. The Roadway Project and related projects will result in 225 new jobs with an estimated direct payroll of $11,414,250. These positions include clinicians, researchers, support staff, and newly trained health care practitioners. A recently completed economic impact study concludes that for every 100 direct jobs on the UMMC campus, approximately 93 additional jobs are created in the State economy. Finally, UMMC will invest $21,900,000 in capital on campus over the next 9 years. These capital improvements are feasible as a result of the roadway project, as it provides the traffic access and capacity to support the capital improvements, including, but not limited to, a gamma knife, a new pediatric emergency room, and renovations to the elevators in the Children’s Hospital. The roadway opened in Summer 2013. As a result, UMMC has opened its new pediatric emergency room and School of Pharmacy, and awarded contracts for construction of its new School of Medicine in Fall 2013. Job creation is on track to reach 225 new employees within 3 years. “For nearly 30 years, NADO’s Innovation Award has provided regional development organizations the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to promoting economic development in rural and small metropolitan communities across the country,” said NADO President John Leonard.

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