The Ohio Planning Conference (OPC), a state chapter of the American Planning Association, awarded the Big Darby Accord a first place finish in the "Focused Planning Project."
The Focused Planning Project award recognizes a planning project of unusually high merit dealing with subjects like environmental planning.
It took two years of collaboration with ten jurisdictions (Prairie Township, Franklin County Pleasant Township, Grove City and the City of Columbus, etc.) in the Big Darby Watershed to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure the safety of the Big and Little Darby Creeks, which are classified as state and national scenic rivers.
"Rarely in history do you see so many jurisdictions set aside parochial issues to focus on the best possible future for the entire region, but the Big Darby Accord is proof that central Ohio’s communities are cooperating like never before. That is a great sign for our shared future and for the Darby," said Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman in a press release.
Since the plans’ completion in 2006, six of the ten member jurisdictions have adopted the plan. Those six jurisdictions represent 95 percent of the land within the planning area.
The Big Darby Watershed is not only the home to 37 rare and endangered species of mussels and fish. It is also the home of 50,000 acres of undeveloped area. The Big Darby Accord ensures that this spacious area remains clear from encroaching development.
"I think we deserved this award for the plan and the effort," said Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker. "There is still a lot of work to be done, but we’re ready for the challenge."
The award, which is shared with the Cincinnati Scenic View Study, was presented at the OPC’s statewide planning conference, Sept. 19-21 at the Columbus Convention Center.