(ORLEANS) - Efforts towards a new comprehensive redevelopment initiative entitled "Imagine Orleans" continued last Thursday night in a meeting held at the Orleans Town Hall with local steering committee and Ball State team members.
Imagine Orleans is a team comprised of eight Ball State University Urban Planning students who will be working in Orleans over the next ten weeks with a goal of improving the overall quality of life for Orleans and its 2,142 residents.
The project is a joint effort between the Orleans Chamber of Commerce and Town of Orleans. Both groups have agreed to participate in a community assistance and immersive learning exercise this summer with Community Based Projects (CBP), Ball State University. Working with community leaders and guiding the process is Scott Truex, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Director of Community Based Project (CBP) from the College of Architecture and Planning.
The project overview includes working with community and business leaders, stakeholders and residents of Orleans over a period of the next several months and Ball State advanced architecture students & staff members to develop a detailed initiative for the historic downtown area.
One of the highlights of the project will include a three day Community Visioning Workshop or Charrette to be held July 12-14 at the Orleans Christian Church's Unity Hall.
The students have been looking into Orleans in their classroom and spent the afternoon on Thursday getting a close up and personal look at the community. The team members will also be visiting and gathering community data at the OC Homegrown Farmers Market and the upcoming OC Music & Heritage Reunion event in June.
Local steering committee members and community partners include Robert F. Henderson, Exec. Director of Orleans Chamber of Commerce who chairs the group, Mike H. Fields, Orleans Town Council; Gary McClintic and Roy Kline, Orleans Community Schools, Rev. Mike Hester, and Pastor Jackie Munson, Orleans Ministerial Association; Janie Baker and Janet Fields, citizen representatives; Dr. Leah Morgan, Orleans Community Schools; Judy Boyer, Orleans County Tourism; Bob Turner, Orange County Music & Heritage Reunion; Randy Clark, Orange County Tourism; Cathy Hardin, Orange Co. Community Foundation; Misty Weisenteiner', Orange Co. Tourism; Dave Miller, Orleans Antiques; Greta Lewellyn, Magpie; John F. Noblitt, The Progress Examiner; Pam Chapman, Duke Energy; Greg Sekula, Indiana Landmarks; Terry and Brenda Cornwell, Saving Historic Orange County (SHOC); Joe Timbrook, manager of Radius/Indiana; The Cook Group; Orange County Homegrown; and Orange County Mainstreet.
The committee will work closely with Truex meeting monthly to identify critical issues and determine community engagement process for the study, assist in the research, inventory and analysis phase, serve as a "host" for the charrette, and develop the strategies for implementation of the redevelopment strategy. The next Steering Committee Meeting is set for June 14.
The project expense is being paid for in part by mini grants provided by a variety of community partners including a $13,000 grant secured through the Duke Energy Foundation to be used towards the community development portion of the study. Other community partners include Orange County CVB and the Orange County Community Foundation.
For more detailed information on the project or to become involved contact Henderson at the Orleans Chamber office, 865-9930 and/or Orleans Town Hall, 865-2539.
Interested residents and persons may also participate and follow the project on the newly developed Imagine Orleans Facebook page and website by the same name. On Twitter: twitter.com/#!/ImagineOrleans. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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