On August 5-7, the Ottawa, Kansas, Main Street Association hosted a work- shop on the Ottawa University Campus. Located in a historically agricultural region in eastern Kansas, Ottawa has experienced substantial growth in recent years as nearby Kansas City and Lawrence sprawl outward.
Mary Allison Haynie, the Ottawa Main Street Executive Director, gathered an excellent faculty and speakers, including Randall Arendt, Peter Swift, Dennis Domer, and Carroll Van West. New faculty to Your Town included Al Zelinka and Susan Jackson of the Urban Design Studio, who introduced their community design process Place Making on a budget. The design issues included a highway by-pass with a focus on entry corridors; conservation design and new urbanism; Main Street revitalization; and heritage tourism.
Mary Allison Haynie stated, "On Wednesday, November 10, 2004, the Ottawa Main Street Association hosted a Your Town reunion with presentations to the public on the design ideas for the intersection of First and Walnut and Haley Park. Also, efforts are underway to secure local ownership of several properties at the intersection of First and Walnut so that public and private improvements can take place on them."
The second presentation described the process, boundaries, and logistics of creating a downtown commercial historic district to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ottawa Main Street has applied for a Historic Preservation Fund Grant from the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office in order to hire a consultant to complete the nomination.
The community's goals are to continue press coverage of the activities and ideas generated from the Your Town workshop. A one year communications project concerning the groups' study topics will continue in order to broaden public support and understanding for design ideas and planning processes that will support and enhance good design in the community. They also hope to engage the Youth Action Council, Art Guild, and Arts Council in promoting some of the design projects involving public art.
-Excerpted from Your Town: Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, Update, Fall, 2004