Placemaking workshop sparks new ideas

MEEKER | Think of a place you love in a town you’ve visited (or live in); a place that makes you feel welcome, happy and part of a community. It might be a sidewalk cafe or a downtown square, a park, or a local business.

Placemaking is the process of creating squares, plazas, parks, streetscapes and waterfronts that attract people because the places are interesting, active and pleasurable. If you’ve watched Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” you’ve seen an animated version of placemaking: the downtown square with the fountain where the community gathers is a perfect example.
Placemaking is good for a community economically. As people are drawn to a place, they may buy a meal, visit a shop, or attend a concert.
Placemaking can also impact a community’s health. A 2016 report titled “The Case for Healthy Places,” from the Project for Public Spaces, identifies ways placemaking contributes to mental, physical and social health.
“By increasing access to places that foster these five things—social support and interaction, play and active recreation, green and natural environments, access to healthy foods, and safe routes to walk and bike—communities everywhere are demonstrating innovative ways to increase quality of life and maximize shared value for all their residents.”
The Meeker Chamber of Commerce, Rio Blanco County Department of Economic Development and the Meeker:Project 45 Main Street program were awarded the Blueprint 2.0 Community Placemaking Initiative from the Colorado Office of Economic Development this year. At a public meeting in October, residents weighed in on Meeker’s assets and identity, challenges, ideas and aspirations with the help of Bud Tymczyszyn of Community Builders.
“It’s apparent that our citizens care about where they live. The public workshop had a great turnout with many people who brought ideas on how to make downtown a great place to be. Community input is vital to help inform decision making and we encourage anyone to join us at our monthly meetings to keep this process rolling,” said Meeker Chamber Director Stephanie Kobald.