Experience

"In our profession a plan that everyone likes for different reasons is a success. A plan that everyone dislikes for the same reason is a failure. And a plan that everyone likes for the same reason is an act of God." Richard Carson

As a NYS Woman Business Enterprise, we partner with a diverse group of organizations including Federal, state, county, and municipal governments of all sizes, public agencies, private businesses, nonprofit groups, universities, investors and developers at all points in the planning process. We are proud that many of these organizations have been clients for decades. Our hands on collaborative approach has created true partnerships, built on respect our customers and concern for their communities.

Testimonials

Kristin Tompkins, Fourth Generation Prattsville Resident and Town Board Member

“Working with Margaret and her team in Prattsville over the past four years has been wonderful. When faced with a situation that was completely overwhelming and out of our comfort zone, she brought knowledge and experience to the table which was only enhanced by her personality and dedication. Her ability to listen and truly understand what we wanted and needed before we even knew how to express it, is truly a gift. Margaret, and her team, are true professionals and I cannot imagine having gone through this without them!” 

Rob Riley, President, Northern Forest Center: Thriving Communities and Healthy Forests

"I’ve been highly impressed with the River Street planners and their team working in the Park. They worked with a broad set of stakeholders to help develop a pragmatic, strategic, and results-oriented economic development plan for the Adirondacks. They are truly eager to secure results – this is evident in the quality of research, writing, and presentations – and their willingness to dig into new industries, understand new models and provocative ideas. It’s been a pleasure to be part of the process!"

Melissa McManus, Community Revitalization Consultant

“Having worked with River Street for eight years, on a variety of projects, I am continually impressed at their genuine interest in "getting it right" to best meet the needs of their client community.” 

Nick Rose, Executive Director, Central Adirondack Partnership for the 21st Century (CAP-21)

“River Street Planning & Development are the consummate professionals. They balance their years of expertise and experience with a human face, touch, and understanding of our project’s people and needs.” 

Kevin Piccoli, Chair Long Term Community Recovery Committee, NY Rising Community Reconstruction Plan and Prattsville Development Corporation

River Street Planning is a pleasure to work with. Over the three years that we have been working together, Margaret and her team were always there for us, regardless of the situation. They were quick to provide suggestions, practical recommendations, and helpful guidance and advice, and spent whatever time was necessary to make sure the final result was first rate. The Town of Prattsville was devastated by Hurricane Irene and River Street helped us organize and develop a long-term recovery plan. They worked hand in hand with the entire community, helping us develop a vision, design a holistic new resilient neighborhood strategy, prioritize our projects, and lead us through the maze of regulations, applications, and paperwork. Their dedication, knowledge, and commitment to working with us in our rebuilding efforts went beyond what anyone could expect from a professional or a volunteer. Thank you Margaret and your team for all your hard work. We could not have done it without you! 

Nancy Barton, Professor, NYU Steinmetz School of Art and Director Prattsville Art Center

“As the Director of the Prattsville Art Center and Residency, I was present for the hurricane that destroyed Main Street, and was involved in the design of our Long Term Community Recovery Plan. Margaret Irwin was present in Prattsville from the first days after the storm, holding town hall meetings, building morale and hope, presenting a sophisticated array of design ideas and rebuilding options to the devastated residents, and engineering a community planning process that was both inclusive and visionary. Once a plan was developed, she was instrumental in gaining substantial funding for the town's recovery, bringing in professionals to fill needed roles, and helping to ensure the success of every project. She went far beyond her position as an unpaid recovery manager, taking late night phone calls, volunteering needed services, and assisting with grants to rebuild the town and revitalize this low-income community. In my former role as Chair of New York University's Art Department, I have dealt with designers and project managers all over the world, and Margaret is one of the most far-sighted and responsive planners I have had the pleasure of working with, and our newly resilient community and art center has been extremely lucky to have her and our team as our partners.” 

Rene VanSchaack - Executive Director, Greene County IDA

“The Greene IDA has worked with River Street Planning and Development on a number of projects and has always been impressed with their ability to convey an effective message and process in rural communities where complex theories and practices related to land use planning and regulation are not well understood. The River Street team has always demonstrated an uncanny ability to become part of the community in which they are working which is not an easy task for most consulting firm.” 

Glen Bellomy, Member Prattsville NY Rising Steering Committee

“Margaret is absolutely the best Planning and Development Manager that I have ever worked with. She is very strong technically, persistent, thorough and supportive. She does not let things “fall through the cracks” and is excellent with clients and team members. We all looked to Margaret for leadership and guidance on our many Prattsville town/community flood recovery projects. Margaret has great telephone communication skills and excellent business economic awareness. I definitely want her on my team every time. She knows how to do her homework!” 

Steven Strichman, City of Schenectady Economic Development Director and Executive Director, Capital Region Land Bank

“River Street led the City of Schenectady's Comprehensive Planning initiative a few years back, developed our zoning and subdivision laws, facilitated two transit oriented development strategies, and administered a façade improvement program in our Union Street neighborhood. The efforts included approximately 25 neighborhood meetings. Margaret is an expert facilitator and kept a positive spin on some very contentious issues. The Plan was completed in a timely and professional manner, moved the city forward in tackling policing and code enforcement issues, and has been responsible for the city obtaining millions of dollars of grants. “ 

Ernest Swiger, Ernest Swiger Consulting, Inc.

“I have worked with Margaret and her team on a number of projects over the past decade and have come to appreciate not only her project management skills, but her work as a facilitator. Margaret has managed some large and diverse teams, and gets things done on time and to the highest standards. It has been a pleasure to be part of several projects teams that she has led.” 

Tim O’Byrne, Omni Housing Development

“Margaret is an effective communicator who excels at building consensus with interest groups on potentially controversial projects. In October and November of 2014, Margaret and her staff at River Street led a community visioning workshop on behalf of Omni Housing Development and the Troy Housing Authority’s proposed Martin Luther King Revitalization project. Margaret was able to convey technical information to a non-technical audience. She anticipated potential areas of tenant concerns which enabled all involved to leave the workshop excited and supportive of the project. I look forward to future opportunities to work with River Street Planning and Development and highly recommend the company.” 

James Coleman, Division of Homeland Security/FEMA, Recovery Operations/Community Planning and Capacity Building/Community Recovery Assistance Task Force Leader

“When Hurricane Irene hit the Catskills in 2011, Margaret was first to respond to hardest hit Prattsville in Greene County, NY. I served as the DHS-FEMA Technical Assistance Group Supervisor and Deputy Branch Director for ESF-14 Long Term Community Recovery. Margaret had marshalled volunteer planners from across the county and led the strategic recovery planning efforts pro-bono in this mountain community. Her team and the ESF-14 team were coordinated by her and complemented each other as evident by the highly successful continued recovery of Prattsville. Prior to FEMA’s recovery operations commencing, Margaret had already initiated recovery planning. I was notified of her willingness to assist the FEMA recovery operation by New York’s Department of State. Once I reached out to her, there was no holding her back. Margaret’s expertise, leadership, facilitation, compassion and empathy for the disaster survivors all were second to none. It was a real pleasure and honor to work with Margaret. She stands alone, and her selflessness and her actions during this strategic disaster recovery planning operation are to be emulated.” 

TW Theodore, Recovery Coordinator at FEMA

“I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Margaret and her staff on the recovery plan for the town of Prattsville, NY, following the devastation of the town after Hurricane Irene. Margaret put together and managed a group of planners and architects to work with community leaders in developing and implementing the plan. I brought a community recovery team from FEMA to work collaboratively with Margaret, River Street Planning and the group of professionals she had assembled. Margaret drove the process with her dedication, commitment, expertise and managerial skill. She was able to help coalesce a plan from disparate and constantly emerging and shifting priorities, points of view, and personalities. The work could not have been accomplished without the full range of her talents.” 

Susan Blickstein, Sustainable Land Use & Transportation Consultant

“Margaret's work with River Street is always highly responsive to clients' needs and input gleaned from the public outreach processes that she helps to design and facilitate. As a planner myself, I hold her work in high regard and consider myself fortunate to have worked with her as a partner on a variety of projects.” 

John Redente, Economic Development Coordinator Village of Sidney

“To do our long term community recovery planning following Tropical Storm Lee without River Street Planning & Development would have been a complete failure for the Village of Sidney. As a result of Margaret’s work and guidance, Sidney has pledged support for projects worth over $50 million dollars, some of which are emerging models for sustainable flood recovery including the Sidney GreenPlain and Riverlea Farm LEED ND Sustainable Neighborhood. Her team cares about our community, because she cares.” 

River Street Services
At River Street, planning is our primary practice. For more than 20 years, we have helped communities to face longstanding challenges and emerging opportunities head on.
Read About Our Projects & Services
 

Address:
River Street Planning & Development
4 Ridge Road
Troy, New York 12180

Phone: 518.273.8980

Email: mirwin@riverstreet.org

About River Street

River Street Planning & Development, LLC is a NYS Certified Woman Business Enterprise owned by Margaret Irwin, formed in 1997 with offices in Troy, New York. The company employs five staff members and provides services to a diverse group of organizations including Federal, state, county, and municipal governments of all sizes, public agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities, investors and developers in the northeastern United States.  Services offered include public meeting planning and facilitation, focus groups, mediation, economic development, downtown and Main Street revitalization, design and administration of small business support programs, land use planning, zoning, historic preservation, and housing and commercial market analysis. River Street specializes in facilitating community engagement and identifying a consensus vision that can be shared and supported by diverse stakeholders. We offer an effective, outcome-oriented approach that builds consensus and community capacity, strengthens local leadership and shapes community pride and vision –  vital ingredients for successful community action.

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