York plan will expand city, maximize positive traits

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

YORK-For months, the city of York has gathered input about the cities positive features. On Monday Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. in the Hightower Center in York, the Center for Architecture and Urban Studies will unveil its final sketches on a master plan for York.

Coleman Center executive director Nathan Purath said everyone is very excited about Monday’s unveiling because it will give the city a starting point toward success.

“The biggest thing about the program is that it is the final presentation of their drawing,” Purath said. “It should be really exciting to see what they have come up with.”

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Shana Berger, who also serves as Executive Director of the Coleman Center said it has been great to work with the urban studies program.

“It is just exciting for York to have a map to lead them to a better future,” Berger. “Cheryl Morgan and the team from Auburn have been great in putting together a community plan.”

The big picture, Purath said, is the most exciting part.

“We think this is important because it lets the city of York plan for a better future,” Purath said. “We think it is going to be great for everyone to get together on a plan and go through with it.”

The purpose of the master plan was to survey ideas and positive features and use them to move the city forward. Berger said it was important for cities to use their strong points.

“Sometimes we try to start with what we don’t have,” Berger said. “It is important to look at what we do have and use all our resources.”

Over the past years, the City of York has been going through what many have called a renaissance. Art, investment, and good governance have blessed the city with substantial growth. The Coleman Center for Arts and Culture has been one of the forerunners in this rebirth.

In 2005, the Coleman Center and the city of York enlisted the talent and energy of Prof. Cheryl Morgan and her students at Auburn University’s Center for Architecture and Urban Studies based in Birmingham to begin a strategic planning process for the city of York.

Morgan’s first visit to York was in January 2005 when the Coleman Center held an exhibition of master plans created for other Alabama towns. Morgan spoke with community members and introduced the framework from which York’s plan would be built. She explained the goals of the Small Town Design Initiative – to use the natural assets of a local community to maximize its long term potential for growth. With these words in mind, the citizens of York spent the next eight months thinking about their vision for York’s future.

Thanks to funding from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alabama Power Foundation, the municipalWORKSHOP, the Coleman Center for Arts and Culture and the City of York, Auburn has been working with the York community over the last year to develop a plan to capitalize on the community’s assets.

On Sept.12 York’s planning process began when the first official meeting was held with community members. Citizens who attended the meeting contributed their knowledge of York’s past and their hopes for its future.

The Auburn team recorded the proposals of the citizenry and returned to Birmingham to work on the plan. On Oct. 3 Morgan’s team came back to York to present their initial results: to build on the arts and entertainment community that is developing in York by adding a recreation center, a cultural center for entertainment, as well as developing walking trails and eco-tourism. The Auburn team got additional feedback from the community and will return on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Hightower Center in York to reveal their final sketches.

For more information please contact the Coleman Center for Arts and Culture, (205)392-4233, info@colemanarts.org.