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Get Ready for Upcoming Your Town Alabama 2024

Your Town Alabama is a 2 ½-day workshop that provides civic leaders and elected officials of small and rural towns with the tools to strengthen their economy and make community improvements. And while doing so, retain the characteristics that give their town its singular identity.

The Your Town Alabama workshop introduces business and civic leaders to the role of design in community planning. Armed with a new set of tools based on asset-based planning and design, participants are better able to solve problems and develop projects that build on the positive aspects of their community.

Brandon Bias, a Your Town Alabama board member and certified Community and Regional Planner for Goodwyn Mills & Cawood, says Your Town Alabama is probably the best introductory program for the importance of community design in the state. An organization with “such a great program that helps participants understand how to value design in decisions to impact the outcomes for better communities.”

“Also, the way in which the program is delivered makes it accessible to anyone – participants don’t need to be architects, engineers, council people, etc.,” he adds. “Some of the best participants I’ve encountered over the years are small store owners, hair stylists, and journalists.”

But they all share a common trait, as he points out: “They love where they are from, and want their community better.” Brewton is one of Your Town Alabama’s many success stories. With $20,000 in local funding, the city of Brewton created Market Park, a popular green space whose mural has become a popular spot for photographs. In addition, a tech startup located to the community and is projected to bring Brewton over 300 new jobs and over $1 million in city sales tax.

The University of Alabama’s Center for Economic Development, which is a Your Town Alabama partner, observes that communities of rural America are facing a range of critical problems. In some cases, these problems are heavy out-migration and a loss of jobs. In others, it is rapid growth from suburban sprawl, the location of a new facility, or an influx of retirement population. Problems that affect the vitality of the community, its design and sense of place.

Along with UA’s Center for Economic Development, Your Town Alabama partners include: DesignAlabama, Alabama Communities of Excellence, Alabama Historical Commission, Auburn University’s Urban Studio, MainStreet Alabama, Alabama Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, and Cawaco RC&D Council.

Since the program’s inception in 1998, 834 Alabama civic and elected leaders from all regions of the state have graduated from the annual Your Town Alabama workshop. The 2024 workshop will be held April 3-5 at Camp McDowell adjacent to the Bankhead National Forest in Winston County. For more information on participating in Your Town Alabama 2024, visit https://www.yourtownalabama.org/workshop/

 

*Article Written by Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of Your Town Alabama

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