Citizens Planning Institute graduates 30 more citizen planners; next round of classes starts soon

Philadelphia has another 30 citizen planners.

The planning commission’s Citizens Planning Institute offers classes on key elements of community planning, designed  to help interested and active citizens “be more effective advocates for planning issues in their neighborhoods,” CPI Director Donna Carney said at the recent graduation ceremony.

Some graduates may use their new skills when work on the district-level portions of the comprehensive plan comes to their neighborhoods. In fact, the graduates of the Fall 2011 institute were honored at last week’s unveiling of the drafts of the first two district-level plans, Lower South and West Park. The district level plans will use the principals of the new city-wide comprehensive plan to carve specific planning goals and zoning recommendations for 18 clusters of similar neighborhoods.  Learn more about district planning here.

After gently ribbing the grads about the zoning code conversations they must have at parties, Mayor Michael Nutter seriously thanked them for the time and commitment they made to their city.

“I don’t think there is a major city in America that is doing this,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Planning Commission Chairman Alan Greenberger. “This is an extraordinary thing.”

“It was absolutely wonderful,” said program graduate Paulette Rhone, who lives in South West Philadelphia and is president of the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery.  Rhone said among the more valuable things she learned was the importance of finding resources that can be shared among citizens’ groups and “pulling together for a common goal.”

CPI courses are taught by volunteer instructions. This term’s volunteers: Greg Heller, Rick Redding, Ian Litwin, Kiki Bolender, Tom Witt, Rose Gray, Anne Fadullon, Andy Frishkoff, Jim Flaherty, Kira Strong, Suzanna Barucco, Patrick Hauck, Sarah Wu, Alex Dews, Christine Knapp, and Amy Miller and Jeff Carpineta.

CPI students are chosen through a competitive application process.  The 30 recent grads, representing  25 city neighborhoods, were chosen from 77 applicants.  The application process for the spring 2012 term, which will run from April 188 through May 30, starts next month. Application forms and course summaries will be posted on the CPI website March 1.

Over its three sessions, CPI has graduated 89 citizen planners. Here is a list of the latest, by neighborhood: Sadique Akbar, Overbrook; Gail Blackwell, Logan; Sandra Broadus, West Oak Lane-Ogontz; Vernon Brown, Southwest; Emaleigh Doley, Germantown; Thomas El, Brewerytown; Nijah Famous, Haddington/Cobbs Creek; Philip Green, Olney; Drew Kondylas, Francisville; Shawn McDonald, Logan; Tanya Morris, Belmont/Mantua; Stephanie Odell, South Philadelphia/Lower Moyamensing; Veronica Outlaw, King’s Village; Linda Rauscher, Chestnut Hill; Paulette Rhone, Southwest; Christopher Sample, West Philadelphia; Natania Schaumburg, South Kensington; Blair Shaw, Sharswood/Brewerytown; Michael Showell, Southwest Center City/Graduate Hospital; Mary Stumpf, Passyunk Square; Carol D.  Tart, 7th Street Corridor; Lynne Taylor, East Oak Lane; Nasha Taylor, Belmont/Mantua/Powelton; Vaughn Taylor, Southwest Philadelphia; Michael Thorpe, Mantua; Philip Washington, Ludlow; John Weatherbe, Southwest; Allison Weiss, Lower Southwest Germantown; James White, Lower South District; Justin Young, Bella Vista/Italian Market.

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