Community Redevelopment Meeting in Buchanan Common – Follow-Up
by The Buchanan Chronicle Team
The Buchanan Chronicle team took in the Community Redevelopment Meeting on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in downtown Buchanan, MI at the Common. We believe there were at least 100 people that braved the cooler weather and rain. Thank goodness for that big, white tent! Our team was excited for this event, as we had a feeling that more media outlets would be present, however there were not that many. After the presentation was done, the team was able to chat and get photos with the Andrews University design student team, our local city government officials and some of Buchanan’s finest police officers. I asked our team of who attended to write about what stuck out the most to them. So take it all in, along with the many photos from the meeting. Like City Developer, Richard Murphy said at the meeting, “Let’s keep on talking about these ideas.” We would like to hear your comments on the Facebook post of what you thought about the meeting, or what you have seen in our photos on our Facebook page.
Our Team’s Reactions:
Jill: The overall in-person attendance of the meeting seemed great, despite the stormy weather that rolled in shortly after the meeting began. Instead of the nearly 100 attendees leaving as it thundered and poured rain, they simply migrated under the shelter of the tent. The energy of the presenters was high, as they passionately shared their ideas to redevelop and revitalize Buchanan. Under the big tent were nicely printed large photos on easels of each PowerPoint slide they shared, allowing a closeup look at their ideas. Overall I was very impressed with the unique ideas and look forward to seeing Buchanan transform from any of the ideas that are implemented.
Tom: The presentation was very nice and professional. The ideas for redevelopment in Buchanan are certainly going to take some time to implement, and Rich Murphy is going to have a challenge ahead of him convincing developers to want to invest in Buchanan. I much enjoyed the presentation regarding the development along the St. Joseph River. I for one would love the opportunity to simply take a walk along the river. I also enjoyed the presentation for the redevelopment along Days Ave. in downtown Buchanan. I hope that the ideas presented can come to fruition.
Rebecka: I thought the presentation was done very well. Our publisher and I had seen some of the student’s ideas before the meeting as we visited the Andrews University student’s work studio. I liked how each student described their ideas for Buchanan. The amount of work they put into this was shown. They based their ideas/vision for Buchanan on the community survey, other meetings held with other neighborhoods, and they toured the city this past winter to look at all the potential that can possibly be in Buchanan, MI. The one thing that really stood out to me was the ice skate rink by the duck pond, as a welcoming into the city. In the summer it would turn into a skate park, which would be a benefit for the kids of our town. They need something more than just a playground at a park. I also liked them pointing out the areas that are open and where more housing could go, as this can help with Buchanan Community School’s enrollment with the Promise Scholarship they have, and to experience life in the “Nicest Place in America.” One last thing that stood out to me was the benches and outdoor dining on the north side of Front Street where the McCoy Creek goes through. What a neat sound to have the chance to sit there with some company and hear the creek running through.
Nik: Even though the rain had tested many supporters in the town of Buchanan, the redevelopment meeting went lovely. The students have many great ideas to bring attractions to this town. I thought the fire pit sounded really cool, to kind of bring the town together as a meeting point. I also liked how they had facts and stats concerning how much money is made per mile involving restaurants and businesses. The next 5 years should be exciting for this lovely town in America.
Stephanie: To me, my favorite moment was watching Nilda Gregorutti, the proud mother of Ornella Gregorutti, the only female architecture student on the team, lose her marbles like she won at bingo when her daughter’s name was called. It explained why she was pacing so much. She told me how proud she was of her beautiful daughter and how her father picked out that name. Natives of Berrien Springs, Ornella in the bold striped pants, will not be lost in a crowd with all of the talent and support of such a God serving team. This brings me to my other favorite moments. The first is that I am such a fan of law enforcement (especially our Buchanan law enforcement) that when I saw them there at the event, Chief Tim Ganus, Officer Brie, and Officer Amy were really soaking in the pictures and talking about the future of the town, and I completely expected as much. I hope to see growth with their station. The other moment I will hold dear is arriving just in time to catch the Andrews University team praying before their celebratory meal at Lehman’s. There were so many bright futures in that room that are going to change the way that we see the world. Great job guys and thank you!
Jen: The Andrews University Urban Design students put in tons of hard work this semester to give The City of Buchanan some amazing tools to guide our future growth. Having gone through the same class and degree as these students, I know exactly how much work it was! We are so fortunate as a City to have not only these world-class professional design tools now at our disposal, but also our new Community Development Director Rich Murphy. He has used these very tools in the past (in nearby Michigan City, IN) to grow and develop that community, and he knows exactly how to make these presented community dreams into realities. I’m excitedly looking forward to all the things we can do as a Buchanan Community; from this starting point they gave us, we can grow in the direction we want, toward a common future with this as a shared vision from which to bloom.