Mississippi State University research center receives national American Planning Association award

March 8th, 2016 Comments Off on Mississippi State University research center receives national American Planning Association award

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The Carl Small Town Center has been awarded the 2016 American Planning Association (APA) Small Town and Rural (STaR) James A. Segedy Award for Outstanding Student Project for its planning work for the community of Houston, Miss.

The Mississippi State University research center hosted a workshop in February 2014 as part of the Citizen’s Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), which served to gather ideas from the Houston community and its leaders about the Tanglefoot Trailhead® in Houston. Houston is the southernmost community along the 44-mile-long Tanglefoot Trail®, a cycling/pedestrian pathway that runs from New Albany south through Pontotoc and Chickasaw Counties. Students helped prepare interactive activities, plans and maps and facilitated group table discussions at the three-day CIRD workshop.

A main goal of the workshop was to create a plan to designate a new pavilion location at the trailhead, as well as lead visitors from the trailhead to Houston’s downtown area and also to connect the trail to the nearby Natchez Trace Parkway.

The planning workshop was themed: “Start Dreaming, Houston…” The result was a swell of momentum to capitalize on the new trail and all its potential for the community.

“Our students gained immeasurable experience in community engagement and developing leadership skills while helping facilitate the design workshop,” said Assistant Director of the Carl Small Town Center Leah Kemp. They also gained exposure to national experts and worked alongside them, which they really enjoyed.”

The center has since designed a pavilion for the site, which is scheduled to be constructed in spring 2016.

“The people of Houston are making big strides to put the workshop plans into action, and we have enjoyed working with them to make it happen,” said Kemp.

The workshop was funded by a 2014 CIRD Award funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and Houston was one of just four communities nationwide to receive the funding.

The James A. Segedy Award is given annually to recognize an outstanding project by a graduate or undergraduate class or individual that addresses a planning issue facing small town or rural areas.

“This award is one of many recent awards that recognizes the work of the Carl Small Town Center to develop and implement design projects for small towns and communities in Mississippi,” said College of Architecture, Art and Design Associate Dean Greg G. Hall, Ph.D., AIA, NCARB. “The Houston planning workshop serves as an example of ways in which the center supports the mission of the university to serve the development of the state through teaching, research and service.”

The award will be presented at the STaR Business Meeting on Sun., April 3 during the National Planning Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. The Houston Trailhead project will be highlighted at the meeting and featured in a STaR newsletter article.

The Carl Small Town Center is a nonprofit community design and outreach component of the College of Architecture, Art and Design and its School of Architecture. The research center works to help improve the quality of life and create economic opportunity in small towns by improving their physical environments. For more information on the center, visit carlsmalltowncenter.org.

See the story at msstate.edu

See the story in the Mississippi Business Journal.

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