Port NOLA wins national planning award

(Courtesy Port of New Orleans)

The Port of New Orleans’ Strategic Master PlanPort NOLA Forward, will earn a Silver 2019 National Planning Achievement Award for Economic Development Planning from the American Planning Association for identifying and seizing upon economic growth opportunities.

Each year, APA recognizes efforts in planning and planning leadership through its National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards. Port NOLA is one of 20 Achievement Award recipients this year.

“Being recognized by a distinguished planning body like the American Planning Association is an honor and validation that we as an agency are on the right course,” says Port NOLA President & CEO Brandy Christian. “Our role as a port is to plan and build the infrastructure to drive commerce and create jobs for our region. In an economy with limited public resources, it is absolutely vital to have a clear vision and strategic roadmap to remain competitive now and 100 years from now.”

Port NOLA also received the Plan Excellence Award in October from the APA’s Louisiana Chapter for its strategic master plan, which aims to deliver significant, sustained economic benefit throughout the Port’s three-parish jurisdiction: Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes.

With finite assets such as land, capital and facilities, as well as projected growth in cargo and cruise volumes in the Gulf region, Christian says Port NOLA’s strategic master plan enables the port to think cohesively about growing vital maritime and hospitality industries and capitalize on the potential of the region. She says the plan positions the port to optimize and extend all available multimodal assets—on and off port property—long the Mississippi River and inland waterway system, the rail network, and via access to interstate highways.

At the plan’s core, and key to its success, Christian notes, is collaborative partnership with a wide range of stakeholders. Throughout the planning process, the port invited the participation of its tenants; carriers; customers; federal, state and local elected officials; economic development and civic leaders; and residents who rely on the port for jobs.

“The Port Authority recognized the importance of strategic collaboration to bolster the economic strength of the region,” says Wendy Shabay, AICP, 2019 Awards Jury Chair. “It demonstrated how the port is an important economic engine for the city, and how to work together for a common good by breaking down perceived barriers.”

The two-tier awards are selected through a juried process. Achievement Awards recognize accomplishments in areas of specialization within the planning profession. For more than 50 years, the awards have recognized outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.