Innovative downtown development workshops help spark revitalization

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs recently held placemaking workshops to encourage and help with downtown revitalization.

“These workshops are just one of many methods we plan to utilize in order to encourage and grow placemaking concepts across the state,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “The tools provided in the workshops will help communities develop a plan to start small activities that will ultimately leverage larger community development.”

From Minneapolis, Minn., The Musicant Group joined the workshop and impart their knowledge in community leadership through a systematic and holistic approach. They specialize in combining artful design, readily available materials and simple construction methods to create inexpensive alterations to a public space. 

During the course of the workshop, each community built a temporary public placemaking installation in strategic areas of their respective downtowns. More than 30 participants from local main street organizations, planners and private firms devoted time, resources and creativity in helping communities grow.

“We learned so much and met so many new people through the process. It made the reveal of the project an event that brought pride and a feeling of accomplishment to many,” said Talisha Coppock, Executive Director of Downtown Bloomington Inc. “The final project provided examples of inexpensive fixes to real needs as well as setting the stage for bigger long term investments.”

Four more workshops are scheduled in Angola, Plymouth, Bargersville and Marion during September and October. For more information, visit www.in.gov/ocra/2506.htm.

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