Buchanan leadership, Andrews University present revitalization project

BUCHANAN — After months of waiting, residents braved the cold, rainy weather at the Buchanan Commons Wednesday evening to watch as city leaders and urban design students unveiled a new vision for the city’s future.

Wednesday, the city of Buchanan and Andrews University students hosted “A Vision for Buchanan,” which presented plans and visual renderings of city revitalization projects.

“We have a vision for you tonight, and oh, what a vision it is,” said City Manager Heather Grace. “Buchanan is a small town with a big heart, and we are always looking to improve. This is one way that we can do that.”

The presentation resulted from a semester of work by the Andrews University Urban Design Studio led by Professor Andrew von Maur. Design students arrived in town in January, and since then, have been working with city staff, business owners and community members to craft a viable vision to revitalize Buchanan’s downtown and beyond. The Andrews University student team includes Ronesto Pineda, Juston Foote, Joel Soto, Jaysung Choi, Reu Avellona. and Ornella Gregorotti.

“This is a menu of different opportunities,” Von Maur said of the presentation. “This is not a master plan that will be adopted in a formal sense. This is to start a conversation that can be built on.”

The Andrews University team said the project kept historic preservation, adaptive reuse and redevelopment in mind with all its recommendations.

“As part of our intents to the city was to keep its historical identity while maximizing its potential and encouraging people to see how beautiful its buildings are,” Soto said.

The design committee recommended revitalization projects in the following areas: downtown, “Clarktown” and the Northside neighborhood.

In downtown, the team recommended wider sidewalks, paving details, hardwood trees and generous storefronts on Front Street. On Days Avenue, the group recommended creating a more pedestrian- and event-friendly environment by adding curbless streets, a fireplace and a restroom building. In the Buchanan Common, they recommended a splash pad, hardwood trees and outdoor furniture to make it feel like an “outdoor room” and town square.

The team also recommended making better use of the waterfront space next to the McCoy Creek, improving accessibility, increasing parking and adding lighting.

The second area discussed was “Clarktown,” the area of town behind city hall previously utilized by Clark Equipment. The design team recommended adding housing, such as apartments and row houses, facing the creek. They also recommended utilizing the McCoy Creek Trail to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The third and final section of town discussed was the Northside neighborhood.

“A lot of people see [the Northside] as neglected,” Von Maur said. “We see a lot of opportunities here.”

The first recommendation was proper maintenance and restoration of Victory Park. Specific recommendations for the park include adding a pavilion, parking, tree planting and a children’s play area.

Outside of Victory Park, the team recommended adding an Indigenous history and ecology trail, a boutique restaurant and inn, improvements to Red Bud Trail, a bike trail, a riverfront boardwalk, housing and a camping area.

In closing the presentation, Von Maur said he and his students enjoyed working in Buchanan and said the recommendations would be a resource to those working on community development in the city of Buchanan.

Community Development Director Rich Murphy thanked the team for their work and the community for attending the presentation.

“We want to continue this discussion this evening, tomorrow, the day after that, all the way to implementation and reality for this collective vision in Buchanan,” he said. ‘Let’s continue this discussion.”

 

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 901,683 cases, 19,902 deaths

Dowagiac

Free Concert Friday caps SMC choir camp

News

Fort St. Joseph Open House returns Aug. 7-8

Dowagiac

City of Dowagiac accepts donation of property for redevelopment

Buchanan

Buchanan leaders hear community development update, resident tree concerns

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 23-26

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Niles, Dowagiac featured stops in Lemon Rally vehicle race

Cass County

9-year-old injured in Cass County ATV accident

Local Government

Mayor presents volunteer with Certificate of Appreciation

Cassopolis

Cassopolis Public Schools superintendent resigns

Berrien County

Niles man gets jail, probation on assault-related charges

News

Two arrested on drug trafficking charges in Niles

Berrien County

Dowagiac woman gets probation, jail time in Berrien County stolen property case

Dowagiac

SMC ETS ventures back outdoors

News

Drunk driver sentenced to prison

Business

Chamber hosts ribbon cutting for Dr. A’s Releaf Center

Business

Niles chamber welcomes in-home health care company to the community

Cassopolis

Police searching for vehicle of interest in Cassopolis shooting

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 21-23

Dowagiac

Three injured in Silver Creek Township crash

Cass County

Former SMC instructor accepts plea deal in sexual misconduct case

Cass County

Vandalia resident sentenced to 10 months in jail for drug offense

Berrien County

Students experiencing homelessness remain hard to identify after year with remote education

Cass County

Dowagiac man heading back to prison on weapons charges