Students enrolled in the Oklahoma University Institute for Quality Communities (IQC) program recently met in Blanchard to present their project ideas for enhancing the downtown area to city officials.
The City of Blanchard was selected by the IQC as one of the communities to receive an Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) grant to design projects that create experience-based learning opportunities for students in their College of Architecture, all the while providing the communities with credible options to assist in accomplishing their goals.
In his grant proposal, City Manager Robert Floyd outlined several issues the community is having in the downtown area that he wished for the IQC students to address. Included in the request was a review of Main Street that is centered by a flagpole, which is surrounded by bare sidewalks and vacant lots. Even though the street has had some redevelopment, Floyd said the area is lacking landscaping and pedestrian infrastructure. The flagpole has created a de-facto roundabout which can create traffic confusion.
Other areas of concern that the city manager stated were lack of proper gateway markings and creating a pleasant environment for visitors coming to downtown events. "We were wanting to get some fresh eyes viewing our Main Street, and the students came through in a big way," Floyd said.
The IQC students presented the City with four distinct proposals, including the creation of a proper round-a-bout turn at the flagpole, pocket parks, wall murals, streetscape, and a wall for residents to express their vision for Blanchard.
Floyd said that he was very impressed with the design concepts and looks forward to implementing their ideas soon. Floyd also expressed appreciation to the OML for providing the grant to assist in this project.