February MSU Rural Design Workshop to be Held in Houston


STARKVILLE, Miss. (Press Release) — Four widely recognized resource experts from around the country will be in Chickasaw County next month for a Citizen’s Institute for Rural Design workshop sponsored by Mississippi State’s Carl Small Town Center.

Organizers from university research center, part of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art, and Design, also will be in Houston to help lead the free Feb. 22-24 open-to-all event.

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The workshop will assist city leaders in development of plans to lead visitors from the Tanglefoot Trail to the downtown area and connect the trail to the nearby Natchez Trace.

A cycling and pedestrian pathway that replaced a former railroad line, the 43.6-mile Tanglefoot runs south from New Albany in Union County through Pontotoc and Chickasaw counties.

Last year, Houston was among four U.S. communities selected for a National Endowment for the Arts’s CIRD Award to fund the information- and idea-sharing workshop. One of two Chickasaw County seats, the municipality of more than 3,500 is the trail’s southernmost point.

The MSU-organized workshop begins Sunday afternoon at the trailhead, with other sessions taking place at the Houston Civic Center. Its visiting panelists include:

–Andrew Barresi, principal at Massachusetts-based Roll Baressi & Associates. He will serve as graphic designer for wayfinding and signage around the community. For more, see www.rollbarresi.com/andrew-barresi.

–Heather Deutsch, a sustainable transportation planner with Toole Design Group in Washington, D.C. She is cycling advocate and authority on rails-to-trails networks. For more, see www.tooledesign.com/company/staff-directory/heather-deutsch.

–Keith Holt, Southeast Region director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. A bicycling advocate, he will be the community engagement specialist. For more, see www.wisconsinbikefed.org/about/staff.

–Brice Maryman, a landscape architect and University of Washington lecturer, who will provide expertise in his professional field. For more, see http://larchwp.be.washington.edu/people/facultystaff.

Leah Kemp, CSTC assistant director, said she and other organizers “are excited to have this esteemed group of experts to help Houston realize its potential at the trailhead of the Tanglefoot Trail.

“Each of these resource team members will provide a skill-set that will be beneficial to help envision and design a great place for Houston,” Kemp added.

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, New York-based Project for Public Spaces Inc. and Vermont-based Orton Family Foundation and its CommunityMatters Partnership.

Established in 1991, CIRD has convened more than 60 rural design workshops in all regions of the country to help empower residents to leverage local assets to build better places to live, work and play. For more, visit www.rural-design.org.

More about MSU’s Carl Small Town Center is found at www.carlsmalltowncenter.org; the College of Architecture, Art and Design, at www.caad.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s flagship research university and is online at www.msstate.edu.