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Bringing Stakeholders Together to Chart the Future of Downtown

The Grand Forks Downtown Vibrancy and Vision Project

The Situation

In 2015 Grand Forks began a process to outline the future of the city’s downtown and to improve arts and events in the community.  Community leaders felt that downtown was nearing a turning point of growth and investment. At the same time the city needed to assess and adapt its programs to support events planners and public art.

Our Process

Over several months, we led two citizen and private sector working groups through a multi-stage planning process with extensive public input. The project included several facilitated public meetings, focus groups, interviews, and charrettes. We assembled relevant policy research and worked closely with city staff and elected leaders throughout the process.

The Outcome

The process has culminated in an extensive downtown vision and action plan and in-depth policy recommendations to improve the local arts community and spur event planning. The downtown plan became the basis for an in-depth technical urban design plan for downtown and has seen significant recent  private investment and development. The project received an award for excellence from the North Dakota Main Street Initiative.