October 4, 2019

As part of National Community Planning Month, John Cruz, Data Management Coordinator at Rise and American Planning Association St. Louis Metro Section Board Member, was presented with the American Planning Association Missouri Chapter’s 2019 Community Planning Champion Award. These awards are given to recognize citizens and organizations that distinguish themselves through their leadership and exceptional efforts to advance their communities, places, and people. The Community Planning Champion Award honors persons who are making impactful contributions to their community through their actions, talents, and commitments.  These persons have a deep passion for their cause and a proven ability to catalyze commitment into action.  Most certainly, John Cruz is a person with a deep passion for community development in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

John was in good company. Other awardees include Sundy Whiteside of The Saint Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO) and The Vacancy Collaborative, Gary Newcomer of Community Builders Network-St. Louis, and the Vacancy Collaborative itself.

People who receive these awards:

  •          Inspire positive action in their community,
  •          Encourage fellow citizens to partake in community and civic engagement,
  •          Advocate for specific community needs and issues while embracing compassion and inclusivity,
  •          Strive for strong, equitable, and vibrant communities for all people, and
  •          Establish significant and lasting impressions on land use and the built environment.

The following week, John was in Tulsa at the APA Quad State Planning Conference, giving a presentation on Rise’s community planning approach to planners from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

John is part of the team that facilitated the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan and is currently working with Rise and our partners to facilitate the Winstanley Community Plan, the OurFerguson 2040 Plan, and the West End Plan. Congratulations, John! The award is well deserved.