The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 27, 2008

OU students to present downtown plan

By Debby Woodin

dwoodin@joplinglobe.com

MIAMI, Okla. — Property owners, other residents and business operators will get a chance to see a first draft of a downtown revitalization plan proposed by a group of University of Oklahoma students, and make suggestions for changes.

The meeting is planned for 1 p.m. Friday, March 7, in the City Council chambers at the Miami Civic Center, 129 Fifth Ave. N.W.

Larry Eller, the city’s community development and grants coordinator, said the landscaping architecture students will present a proposed redesign of the downtown’s parking lots and other areas with the idea of giving downtown a new look.

“They will be looking at new ideas for landscaping, lighting and possibly banners” for the parking areas, as well as a plan for possibly developing a park area outside the Coleman Theatre, he said.

“They want to look at ideas that had worked in other communities” and adapt them to possible use for Miami, Eller said.

“Once they get input from the public, they will go back and work on more concrete plans, and come back with those plans for a second public meeting.”

A presentation also will be made by Jerry Ruse, city engineer, on a $2 million project for Main Street that involves landscaping and the installation of antique-style streetlights.

That could involve changing to angled parking in the downtown area where the urban renewal-era mall has been removed.

The city also will receive funds to incorporate a Miami Gateway sign into downtown and erect markers on historic Route 66.

“It’s an opportunity for all the property owners to view the plans for downtown and comment upon them,” Eller said. “It’s not too late to make changes, so it’s a good opportunity for everyone to have input.”





Partners



Asking the University of Oklahoma students to make Miami downtown revitalization a class project is “kind of unique,” said Larry Eller, Miami’s community development and grant coordinator.

“It’s a neat opportunity for them to get some experience and for us to get some new ideas,” he said.

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