The first community meeting for the downtown Shawnee revitalization project took place Monday at First Baptist Church.
The meeting featured several students from the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture. The students are taking "Studio Shawnee," a class focusing on downtown Shawnee. The class is taught in conjunction with Institute for Quality Communities.
The students will spend the semester studying downtown and creating a plan for the future of downtown.
Ron Frantz, director of small town studies for the Institute for Quality Communities, has worked with Shawnee previously during his time with the Oklahoma Main Street Program.
"Lots of good stuff is still downtown," Frantz said, including the Aldridge, the Ritz Theater, the library and several antique shops, he added.
There are other attributes in Shawnee, including a pool and Woodland Park.
"Oklahoma City is putting a lot of money into a downtown park and you guys already have one," Leslie Novotny, an OU student, said.
After a brief introduction community members were invited to take part in research for what is needed. Four stations were set up with different discussion points, including:
- Dreams for downtown Shawnee
- What resources would you use to revitalize downtown?
- What activities would you like to see downtown?
- Where do you live or work?
- What brings you downtown?
The students will use this data, along with data gathered at similar events, to create a plan for revitalizing downtown.