Team plans to conduct charette in Linden

Published 10:16 pm Friday, January 30, 2009

Citizens in Linden will soon get the chance to see their town in a completely new light. A team of architectural and community planning specialists will be in Linden this April to begin the process of transforming the city, at least in theory.

Called a charrette, it involves a series of surveys and assessments that culminate with a map of what Linden could look like by making some recommended changes.

Conducted by Auburn’s Urban Studio under the direction of Cheryl Morgan, they work with towns to provide strategic planning tools that larger cities usually have, but by-and-large, do not have the capacity or resources to afford.

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The charrette will be funded through the west Alabama-east Mississippi WIRED Initiative.

Glenn Haab, who works through the initiative at Alabama Southern Community College, said he has always had Linden in mind for the program.

“I was very impressed with the Grow Linden town hall-type meeting and planning sessions a couple of years ago,” he said. “I thought that Linden would be perfect for this.”

The charrette will begin with a town hall-type meeting in April where citizens, community leaders and officials will be asked to present their ideas of what can make Linden better.

Morgan’s team will compile information they gather from the town meeting, along with what they gather through tours of the city, and begin putting together a realistic model of what Linden could become. The process usually takes about three months to complete.

“Through on-the-ground research, town hall meetings and study of successful alternatives, the studio proposes an illustrative plan designed to be a roadmap of concepts for the community,” said Haab. “The results are published in a 22-by-34-inch full-color poster that can be exhibited throughout the community — city hall, the schools, churches, shops, post office — and can, unlike reports that are filed away, become a reminder of the town’s goals and aspirations.”

Charrettes have been completed in the west Alabama cities of Monroeville, Gilbertown and Evergreen.

Haab said the process also includes help finding ways to get grants and other funding to meet the goals outlined in the charrette.

He said that once Linden has gone through the charrette, it would help the city in trying to secure state grants.

“There is a lot of respect for Cheryl Morgan and her team and what she does,” said Haab.

“This will be a great opportunity for Linden,” said Gates. “I am so excited.” they have picked our city for this project.”