US EPA Smart Growth Achievement Award

Dubuque Receives EPA Smart Growth Achievement Award

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named Dubuque a recipient of its 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol will accept the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 5.

"This year’s winning projects show that smart growth approaches are having a visible impact on communities across the country—large and small, cities and suburbs, towns and rural places,” said US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “They show that the choices communities make about how they develop can protect people’s health and the environment while contributing to local economic growth. Most importantly, they show other communities that the path to a sustainable future is just around the corner.”

Competing in the “Corridor or Neighborhood Revitalization” category, Dubuque was selected for revitalization efforts in the Historic Millwork District and Washington Neighborhood. Winning entries were selected based on their effectiveness in creating sustainable communities; showing innovative smart growth planning and implementation; establishing a robust public involvement process; generating partnerships among public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders; and serving as national models.

“I look forward to accepting this award on behalf of all the community partners who have and continue to work together to improve these critical parts of our community,” said Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol. “The residents, property owners, and stakeholders in both the Millwork District and Washington Neighborhood should be extremely proud that their efforts are being recognized at the national level as an example for other communities to replicate.”

Once considered the nation’s largest millwork district, Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District housed dozens of companies, employed over 2,500, and connected downtown Dubuque to surrounding neighborhoods. Efforts are underway to reclaim the abandoned district as a regional engine of growth, with plans to locate over 1,000 new residents and more than 1,000 new employees to the area. A major revitalization initiative was also launched in Dubuque’s Washington Neighborhood, which contains some of the city’s oldest housing stock and has experienced years of disinvestment. Efforts in the neighborhood includes the Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project to prevent stormwater flooding, create a community attraction, and spur economic development in this neighborhood located adjacent to the Historic Millwork District. 

CLICK HERE to see a video produced by the EPA about Dubuque's smart growth efforts. 

CLICK HERE for a PDF of the EPA booklet describing Dubuque's Historic Millwork District and Washington Neighborhood.

Award winners were selected by two separate panels. The first consisted of experts from the planning and design professions, nonprofits, academia, and federal agencies. The second was an internal EPA panel that provided additional comments. EPA’s Associate Administrator of Policy made the final award determinations. Four additional winning communities and two honorable mentions will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

EPA created the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2002 to recognize exceptional approaches to development that respect the environment, foster economic vitality, enhance quality of life, and provide new opportunities for disadvantaged communities. Over the past 12 years, EPA has received 886 applications from all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. This year, EPA received 77 applications from 31 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

For more information on the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, visit