Limon Recognized in National Competition Awarded a Rural Design Workshop
On June 1, the Citizens’ Institute on Rural DesignTM (CIRD) announced that Limon, Colo. was added to the roster as a 2016-2017 host community, and was awarded a stipend from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to host a rural design workshop in spring of 2017.
When this opportunity was initially announced, the Town of Limon Comprehensive Plan update was in draft stage with many goals already outlined, in which the plan and goals have now been finalized.
Included in the updated Comprehensive Plan are goals to emphasize Limon’s role as a rural regional center with the need to entice interchange visitors and lodging guests to explore Limon. Strategies identified were:
- Expand in-town recreational facilities including parks, trails and indoor recreation.
- Improve gateway signage at both interstate interchanges.
- Establish a wayfaring system, including: streetscaping, pedestrian walkways / pathways, consistent lighting, banners, directional signage and other visual clues to direct and entice more people to downtown Limon, historic sites, parks, recreation facilities, open space and cultural resources.
According to a recent Growth Summit 75 percent of participants supported continuity and visual clues leading to downtown and 67 percent favored expansion of the trail system.
As a result of those goals, strategies and support, the Town of Limon began the application process. The support offered by the CIRD program would result in a stronger plan than local expertise could provide at a minimal cost to the Town. The completion of the Wayfaring Design Vision (WDV), including Alternative Transportation Options Vision, would strengthen future grant applications to implement the ideas.
In its next steps, the Town of Limon created local partnerships to assist in the application and, if selected, to guide the implementation of a two-and-a-half day design workshop and follow-up. Looking at both the priorities of the CIRD program and the proposed outcomes of the project locally, Town staff asked the Limon Chamber of Commerce, Limon FFA, Limon Heritage Society and Lincoln County Tourism to join the effort and all agreed to participate.
The application was submitted early in January 2016. Across the nation, 52 communities submitted applications and sixteen communities were selected as finalists and participated in a telephone interview.
“NEA is proud to support a CIRD workshop in Limon, as it is a topic of importance to communities big and small,” said Jason Schupbach, NEA Director of Design Programs. ”Brainstorming ways on how to make Limon more navigable for pedestrians will entice residents and visitors alike to explore all that the town has to offer.”
“We are thrilled to add Limon to our 2016-2017 program,” said Cynthia Nikitin, CIRD Program Director and Senior Vice President of Project for Public Spaces, Inc. “Limon’s plan to develop a comprehensive wayfinding and design plan will improve safety of pedestrians and provide visual cues that highlight local businesses, town’s history, recreational paths and other community assets. This plan will be an economic driver that has broad applicability to rural communities around the country.”
Completion of the local CIRD project will, first and foremost, provide the Town with a strong, professional vision to use in obtaining funding to implement the plan. It will enable the Town to point to community involvement, a regional resource team from Colorado and the nationally recognized resource team provided by the CIRD program. Additionally, the outcomes will result in stronger a community process into the future.
“This announcement provides a first step in implementing a portion of the updated Comprehensive Plan,” said Julie Coonts, Mayor of Limon. “With this announcement, the initial team can begin reaching out into our diverse community to identify stakeholders from all sectors of the community. As you think about the future of Limon ask yourself:
- What destination locations should be included in the wayfaring process?
- What are destinations that would encourage visitors to explore the entire town?
- What can Limon do to make its primary highway entrances more inviting?
- In terms of planning and implementation, which entrances need to be an initial priority?
- What have you seen in other locations outside of Limon that provided significant guidance to destinations?
- What connections are important to the community for safely allowing walkers and bikers to reach key destinations within town?
- How should those be prioritized if construction would be phased?”
Assistant Town Manager Joe Kiely will coordinate the rural design workshop. Please contact him with questions or inputs at 719-775-2345 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. www.arts.gov.
ABOUT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE – RURAL DEVELOPMENT
USDA Rural Development administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers, and improve the quality of life in rural America. www.rd.usda.gov.
ABOUT PROJECT FOR PUBLIC SPACES, INC.
Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Founded in 1975, PPS has completed projects in over 2,500 communities and all 50 US states. PPS has become an internationally recognized center for resources, tools, and inspiration about placemaking. www.pps.org.
ABOUT THE ORTON FAMILY FOUNDATION
With its Community Heart & Soul™ method, the Orton Family Foundation empowers people to shape the future of their communities by improving local decision-making, creating a shared sense of belonging and ultimately strengthening the social, cultural and economic vibrancy of communities. Community Heart & Soul does this by assisting the residents of small cities and towns in making plans and taking action based on what matters most to residents and upholds the unique character of each place. For more information visit www.orton.org.