City of Opelika wins urban planning award

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

The city of Opelika was recognized March 31 at the Savannah State University Urban Planning Conference for winning the 2017 Urban Planning Award for the Opelika Art Line Project. The project is part of the Carver-Jeter Revitalization Plan.
The city designated intersections of the Carver and Jeter communities to creatively and colorfully design appealing neighborhood features. These artistic expressions create strong visuals for citizens and visitors, and demonstrate the city’s passion and pride. The Opelika Art Line project engaged residents and local artists. The Art Line reflects the heritage, history, character and aspirations of the Carver and Jeter neighborhoods.
“We are extremely excited to accept this award. This is just one of the many projects the city is initiating to better connect the Carver and Jeter neighborhoods to the greater city of Opelika. It’s always been our goal to preserve the rich heritage of our community while moving us forward toward a promising future. We want to thank everyone involved in this amazing project. It is because of them we receive this recognition and award,” said Mayor Gary Fuller.
The award was given based on outstanding initiatives that provide public benefit by responding to the needs of a changing community, providing tangible benefits or improving accessibility. The initiative had to demonstrate one or more of the following themes: collaboration, implementation and design.
Nathan Gallentine, AICP, and Aaron Fortner, both with Canvas Planning Group, were instrumental in helping the city of Opelika develop and implement the Carver-Jeter Revitalization Plan. They, along with city officials, employees and citizens, worked hard to make this Art Line project a success. Special thanks goes to Jimmy Wright of Wright’s Market, Lisa Thrift of the Opelika Community Development Office, artists Carole Carson and Tevin Drake, as well as Jeff Conway and students from Opelika High School and Opelika Middle School for leading this effort.
Gallentine had the honor of receiving the award on behalf of the city of Opelika. Gallentine stated, “”This award reflects all of the great ideas and input we received from the community. We were so excited to be able to fold so many of the ideas together in the Opelika Art Line initiative. The ways that this city and this community have implemented and have followed through with the plan is truly noteworthy within the planning world. We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it.”

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