Press Release – Announcing Opportunities for Free Technical Assistance for Maine Communities


October 12, 2011
GrowSmart Maine
309 Cumberland Avenue
Suite 202
Portland, ME 04101
CONTACT: Nancy Smith


GrowSmart Maine is pleased to announce two new opportunities for communities interested in smart growth strategies.

First, applications are now being accepted for free technical assistance from Smart Growth America. This program has been made possible by a five-year grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide direct assistance to communities across the nation to develop local strategies to grow in ways that benefit families and businesses while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place.

Organizations or communities interested in this opportunity can apply for one of twelve workshops offered through the program, including:

  • Implementing smart growth 101
  • Planning for economic and fiscal health
  • Regional planning for small communities
  • Sustainable land use code audit
  • Smart growth zoning codes for small cities
  • Complete streets
  • Walkability workshop/audit
  • Transportation performance measurement
  • Parking audit
  • Implementing transit-oriented development 101
  • Cool planning: local strategies to slow climate change
  • Using LEED-ND to accelerate the development of sustainable communities
As a national leader in the field, Smart Growth America has accumulated extensive experience working with communities to help them use land strategically, make the most of existing resources and invest strategically to catalyze private development. They are dedicated to providing best practices to local leaders in urban, suburban and rural communities working to create housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools and we are thrilled to be able to provide Mainers with this amazing opportunity.

Apply today for free technical assistance
Go to to learn more. Full application guidelines as well as more details about individual workshops and a digital application form are all available there.

This technical assistance is funded by U.S. EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities under its Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. The Building Blocks program funds quick, targeted assistance to communities that face common development problems. Three other nonprofit organizations—Cascade Land Conservancy, Global Green USA and Project for Public Spaces—also received competitively awarded grants under this program this year to help communities get the kinds of development they want.

Second,  the EPA  has announced a new Request for Letters of Interest (RFLI) for the SGIA Program.  Many communities want to foster economic growth, protect environmental resources, enhance public health, and plan for development, but may lack the tools, resources, and information to achieve their goals. In response to this demand, EPA developed the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) Program.

The SGIA program is an annual, competitive solicitation open to state, local, regional, and tribal governments (and non-profits that have partnered with a governmental entity) that want to incorporate smart growth techniques into their future development.

Once selected, communities receive direct technical assistance from a team of national experts in one of two areas: policy analysis (e.g., reviewing state and local codes, school siting guidelines, transportation policies, etc.) or public participatory processes (e.g., visioning, design workshops, alternative analysis, build-out analysis, etc.). The assistance is tailored to the community's unique situation and priorities. EPA provides the assistance through a contractor team – not a grant. Through a multiple-day site visit and a detailed final report, the multi-disciplinary teams provide information to help the community achieve its goal of encouraging growth that fosters economic progress and environmental protection.

EPA initiated the SGIA program in 2005 with three goals in mind:

  1. To support communities interested in implementing smart growth policies;
  2. To create regional examples of smart growth that can catalyze similar projects in the area; and
  3. To identify common barriers and opportunities for smart growth development and create new tools that other communities can use.
The 2011 RFLI (PDF) (5 pp, 69K) is now open. EPA will be accepting letters of interest from September 26 to October 28, 2011.

Frequent questions about the SGIA application process are answered here.


GrowSmart Maine is honored to be working with Smart Growth America and the EPA to announce these amazing opportunities to Maine communities.