Andrews University Buchanan Project Open House Event at the Common on April 28 at 5:00pm
Submitted by Richard Murphy, City of Buchanan Community Development Director
Andrews University Students Invite the Public to Imagine the Next Wave of Redevelopment in Buchanan
The City of Buchanan has been working with the Andrews University School of Architecture & Interior Design since early January to craft a collective vision for redevelopment in and around Downtown and the North Side. A broad diversity of Buchanan voices have been part of this process. The students led by Professor Andrew von Maur invite the public to attend a presentation of their work on Wednesday, April 28 at 5:00 PM at The Common in Downtown Buchanan. The students were engaged by the City of Buchanan, Michigan, recently named the ‘The Nicest Place in America” by Reader’s Digest, to reimagine redevelopment opportunities in Buchanan.
Mayor Sean Denison who has been part of the project from day one said on Friday, “This will be a special evening for the City of Buchanan to unveil its collective vision for the future. What a better setting than to do it than at the Buchanan Common in the backdrop of our beautiful Historic Downtown. I could not be more excited for the future of Buchanan!”
Steering Committee Member and City Commissioner Patrick Swem said of the project, “It has been a pleasure working with the students from Andrew’s University’s School of Architecture and Interior Design. Professor Von Maur has challenged his students and community stakeholders to think in ways that bring out elements of Buchanan we want to expose to the forefront while staying true to who we are as a community. With central themes such as place making, pedestrian safety, family, and economic development at the heart of what we’ve asked them to design, the end result has been something I don’t think we would’ve come up with on our own. I appreciate all the work the students and community leaders have put into this project and look forward to seeing what the community adds to the conversation. This is about investing into a community we all love and want to continue to share with the world.”
“From the very beginning there has a lot of excitement in this group to work with the leadership and the community to discuss what could be in Buchanan,” said Professor Andrew von Maur on Friday. “Our design studio has done work across the globe. It’s great to be working on a compelling and relevant project in our own back yard that I believe will yield results,” von Maur said.
City officials and community leaders are asking for help to get the word out to the public to attend this special event. “This is a special time in Buchanan! There is so much positive energy here right now. It’s really inspiring to see the community come together and rally around this project,” said City Manager Heather Grace.
Steering committee member and member of One Buchanan, Monroe Lemay said, “I’ve worked with the city on several projects for a period of two decades serving on several different boards and committees, but this was truly the highlight for me. The way in which the Andrews University Urban Design Studio student led by Professor Andrew von Maur worked to unite and help the steering committee understand the needs of every aspect of our citizens was amazing. They definitely did their homework, and put together a beautiful plan that is suitable for our diverse community. I take my hat off to Rich Murphy and Heather Grace for achieving so much in such a short period of time. I’m delighted to have been a part of this process.”
Since early January, the 5th year architecture students have been having an intense conversation with residents, businesses, local students, community groups, city leadership and other stakeholders about what they envision for the future of Buchanan. This event will be the first unveiling of this collective vision for the City of Buchanan. Community Development Director Rich Murphy said, “The goal of the project is to provide a roadmap for the next wave of redevelopment and revitalization in Buchanan. This event will be a celebration of the future of Buchanan and a chance to build the buzz on this collective vision and then launch into the marketplace for implementation. This is an especially talented group of students who has a done a deep dive into Buchanan in order to forge a consensus on community priorities and redevelopment opportunities,” Murphy said. “Big questions were asked by a small town throughout this project,” Murphy added. “How can Buchanan be better for the next generation? How can Buchanan grow and become a stronger community? How can Buchanan compete in the marketplace with its compelling self of self in order to create jobs, invite more businesses and residents to choose Buchanan? How can Buchanan leverage its assets in order to rev up our economy? It’s so exciting to be a part of this important process in Buchanan, truly one of the great American small towns.” Murphy said.
The Andrews University student team includes Ronesto Pineda, Juston Foote, Joel Soto, Jaysung Choi, Reu Avellona. and Ornella Gregorotti. Ronesto Pineda summed up well the benefits of the project for both the students and the City. “Working with Buchanan has been a riveting experience. It was eye opening to see the passion that these citizens have for their small town, and it makes me excited for the future of Buchanan and my future career as an architect.”