Public outreach planning tool recognized with Gem award

The Public Outreach Planner (POP) was recently honored with another award, this one from the American Planning Association's (APA) Idaho Chapter. Specifically, the POP received The Gem Award, which recognizes planning achievement and/or leadership in "Building Better Partnerships" the theme for the annual chapter conference.

The award will be presented Oct. 8 in Boise in at the Eight & Main/Zions Bank Building. It will be the fifth award for the POP tool.

The POP was submitted in early August by Sonna Lynn Fernandez, ITD transportation planning coordinator, in the Public Involvement category for award consideration. After the careful consideration and by interviewing her, the Awards Committee felt that the POP should be singled out for the Gem award. Fernandez says the POP was selected as a shining example of how to plan in Idaho and how the department has taken steps to build better partnerships through community involvement.

Under development since 2011, the POP tool was launched in late 2012, designed to help guide public-involvement decisions and outreach efforts. The POP is an online, interactive tool that helps employees determine when or if to begin the formal public-involvement process and which options to choose. The tool was developed to be specific enough for the needs of the department, yet broad enough that local agencies and local highway jurisdictions can use it as well.

"The POP allows access to information needed to set up, organize and conduct a public hearing or workshop," ITD Public Involvement Coordinator Adam Rush said.

"As the department seeks to use limited resources wisely, the POP helps to determine what approaches, technologies and strategies can be used to most efficiently and effectively communicate with the public," he added.

Published 10-3-14