At this year’s Annual Meeting, COG honored local governments, organizations and individuals—like D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson—for their leadership in addressing the region’s rapid growth and the need for more affordable housing. COG forecasts predict the region will grow by 2 million people and 1.4 million jobs by 2030.
Keynote speaker Dr. Robert Lang of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech encouraged the gathering of local leaders to embrace regional planning. “Aside from New York City, Washington is the second largest region in the Northeast corridor and we are still growing at the fastest rate,” he said.
Mendelson received COG’s 2005 Elizabeth and David Scull Award given to the regional leader of the year. During his chairmanship of the COG Board last year, Mendelson focused on growth and development issues and oversaw the creation of the Blue Ribbon Metro Funding Panel, which has become a major regional initiative. This year, as Chairman of the Transportation Planning Board, Mendelson moved the CapCom program forward, which will improve coordination among state transportation departments and transit agencies by allowing them to share information during all types of emergencies.
COG also recognized local governments and organizations for outstanding affordable housing programs. County Executive Doug Duncan accepted an award on behalf of Montgomery County’s Housing Initiative Fund. Board Chair Jay Fisette accepted awards for two Arlington County programs, the Supportive Housing Plan and the Creative Affordable Housing Tools Program. Another affordable housing program, the National Capital Revitalization Corporation’s Broadcast Center One Project in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C. was also honored.
The Urban Land Institute-Washington District Council won COG’s Regional Partnership Award for organizing Reality Check on Growth, which brought together hundreds of local leaders this February to map out different ways for the region to prepare for the rapid increase in jobs and people.
“We all have a responsibility -- developers, businesses, local governments – to make this region the best place for everyone to live,” Arlington Board Member Barbara Favola said. “We still have a very big mountain to climb, and it is only by working together that we will reach our goal.”