The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 13, 2014

Drury students brainstorm with Webb City residents

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Architecture students from Drury University in Springfield met Thursday night with the Webb City community to hear what officials and residents think should be included in a comprehensive plan for the city’s future.

Five students have teamed up with the Webb City Planning and Zoning Commission to develop ideas for citywide improvements that ultimately will be turned into a book of suggestions for the city.

It is the third such partnership. The university previously sent students to help develop ideas for improving the city’s downtown and King Jack Park.

Throughout the project, public meetings will be slated to discuss plans that have been developed.

Thursday’s “vision workshop” served as a way for people to brainstorm and let the students know what is important to residents.

Richard Crow, chairman of the commission, said the students will help put together a vision for the city from a different point of view.

“I hope the kids will bring us a whole different perspective on what the community could look like and give us some ideas that maybe we wouldn’t think of,” Crow said.

The students will help the commission with street design, traffic flow, and elements regarding the business corridor, neighborhoods and parks.

“That all feeds into what we’re trying to accomplish as a whole,” Crow said.

Michael Ligibel, a junior at Drury, said this project is different from what architecture students at the university have done in the past.

“In the past, it’s been single buildings, single projects,” he said. “We’re getting a chance to look at urban development as a whole. So it’s just a really unique and great experience.”

Ligibel said he enjoys being able to work with communities and clients.

“I think it’s going to give us a lot of good insight into how things actually work,” he said.

The students will be working on the project until the spring semester ends in mid-May.

During Thursday night’s meeting, each student worked with a group of about seven residents. The groups built charts that outlined what they thought the city’s main goals and objectives should be, as well as some methods that would help the city reach them.

The goals and objectives that were discussed included becoming a regional destination, developing a green city, revitalizing the downtown and promoting recreational activities.

Mayor John Biggs said he hopes the project will help create plans that will make the city a better place to live.

“We’re looking for a lot of good ideas,” Biggs said. “I hope we come up with a plan to guide us in the future.”

Next meeting

STUDENTS WILL USE the information gathered Thursday night to develop early concepts that will be presented during the next meeting, set for 6 p.m. March 16 at the Route 66 Events Center, 21 S. Webb St.

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