The Oklahoma Municipal League and the OU Institute for Quality Communities (IQC) recently announced the FY 18-19 grant recipients.
OML and the OU IQC are now in their second year of partnership. OML’s role in the partnership is to promote the grant application process to its membership and pay up to one-half of the IQC fee it charges to assist the communities. The total amount contributed by OML for the first two years is $15,500.
The students that are involved with the IQC program are enrolled in the urban design class. The grant request winner’s become class projects throughout the year. At the end of the project, the students will take their ideas and recommendations to each community, where they will give examples and discuss the strategies and applications used to help alleviate the issues with the grant applicants.
Congratulation’s to this year’s grant recipients:
Oklahoma City Capitol Hill Main Street: The Main Street organization has recognized a donated empty lot at the corner of S.W. 25th and Robinson as a site that could be developed into a public plaza to serve neighborhood residents and visitors. Even though the group has pondered many uses for the land, they stated in their grant application that they could not decide on how to develop the space. Therefore, their goal is for the IQC students to come up with workable and viable solutions that will connect residents and businesses across the Capitol Hill area of OKC.
Cities of Wynnewood, Altus and Wewoka: All three of these OK communities were awarded grants for improving safe routes and walkability throughout their towns.
The focus in Wynnewood is to create an improved quality of life for citizens of all ages, from children walking safely to school, to the business districts, to residents attending activities at school or downtown events and shopping. Additionally, the leaders in Wynnewood wish to create safe walking routes that will empower more people to walk and live healthier lives.
The town of Altus is seeking to connect multiple educational sites, parks, routes to work, and shopping. The proposed locations of the project currently present multiple challenges including narrow roads, no sidewalks, few crosswalks, no bike lanes, and heavy traffic, especially during school hours. Their goal is to make streets safer by creating interactions between the pedestrians and vehicles less frequent and more controlled.
The town of Wewoka is seeking insight on how to best improve the communities walking and biking paths, cross-walks, streetscape, outdoor seating, directional signage, and traffic calming features. Additionally, they wish to learn ways to connect the city’s housing complex for senior citizens with public amenities and create safe routes to schools.
City of Waurika: The purpose of the Waurika grant is for IQC students to help define the vision of the Main Street corridor and how the citizens can make it the best possible “place” in their area of the State. The biggest challenges that the community has in making this goal a reality are empty buildings, the demise of ‘side’ streets, lack of comfortable and secure feeling in the area, and walkability. Additionally, the downtown area has available space for redevelopment, but the community leaders desire some outside perspective on how to effectively accomplish this.
City of Chickasha: The goal of the community leaders is to establish a sense of place by creating a plan for the revitalization of the historic urban district of town. Community leaders also wish to develop a downtown area that will attract both residents and non-residents for dining, entertaining and shopping. By taking advantage of many intact historic buildings, city leaders hope that the area can once again become the center of the community.
The project recommendations will be presented to the communities over the next several months.