Smart Growth America Comes to Pawhuska

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From Osage Nation Information Technologies

Media Contacts:       RM Kirk, rmkirk@osagenation-nsn.gov, 918-287-5201 or

                                    Susan Bayro, sbayro@osagenation-nsn.gov, 918-287-5492

                                    Alex Dodds, 202-207-3355 x112 adodds@smartgrowthamerica.org    

Pawhuska, Okla. (Tuesday, April 25, 2017)—Osage Nation was recently awarded a grant-funded technical assistance workshop delivered by Smart Growth America (SGA), a national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. Osage Nation was one of only six applicants nationwide to receive this planning workshop. The focus of the workshop is revitalization and economic development based on SGA principles that include sustainability as a primary consideration. SGA strategies help towns and cities across the country to grow stronger economically by using land strategically, making the most of existing resources and using public funds to catalyze private development. The workshop is a collaborative effort of Osage Nation, City of Pawhuska, Osage County, Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce, Osage County Tourism as well as local businesses and citizens.

The SGA Workshops are free and open to the public and scheduled for May 2-3. Following a half-day tour of the community, the SGA team will offer a public presentation on May 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm at the Constantine Theater at 110 W. Main in downtown Pawhuska. The Stakeholder Workshop is a day long, invitation only event that will be held at the Pawhuska Business Development Center on May 3, 2017.  The workshop includes a guided planning discussion.  Based on what is discussed at the workshops, SGA will provide a Next Steps Memo outlining SGA strategies that can be implemented locally. In addition to SGA staff facilitating the events, representatives from several federal and state entities are expected to be on hand. These agencies will be there as a resource to discuss programs available for economic development, job creation and training as well as other services.  The workshops will assist community leaders in understanding SGA principles, which focus on building sustainable, affordable, accessible, and healthy communities, with strong local businesses. 

Smart Growth America is a national leader in their field. The non-profit organization has accumulated extensive experience working with communities to realize the benefits of smart growth. The workshop will draw on this expertise to provide actionable steps that the community can use to overcome the barriers to smart growth and build stronger economies now and for generations to come.

The Osage Nation applied for the technical assistance (https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/news-events/news/osage-nation-wins-competitive-award-help-smart-growth-america-0) after learning about the program during an economic development conference. The Osage Nation’s application described many of the current needs of the local area but also highlighted some of the aspects that make Pawhuska a special place. Downtown Pawhuska consists of dozens of historical buildings, many of which have unique architectural and cultural significance. Tribal, local and western influence is evident throughout the area. Old photographs and film depicting Pawhuska from many years ago help reinforce the importance and vitality of the area in earlier times. Many people have been working very hard to return Pawhuska to that level of relevance and successes are happening.  Businesses are relocating back to the area and renovations are taking place in many of the structures but there is still a lack of some essential services that continues to hold up growth. Infrastructure deficiencies like public transportation, parking, pedestrian areas and broadband access for instance will be topics of discussion. The SGA Workshop will help identify these areas of concern and assist the local stakeholder community in developing plans to improve conditions. In the coming months, SGA will also work with the stakeholders to monitor and report on progress of those initiatives.

Downtown Pawhuska has become a very popular place in the last few months. The opening of Ree Drummond’s Mercantile has been a fantastic success. Thousands of visitors from around the country are making the drive to Pawhuska to experience the Food Network star’s restaurant and shop. Although the increased traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, has made the shortcomings of the infrastructure in downtown apparent, it has also shown what Pawhuska can accomplish when given an opportunity. This is especially true when the entire community works together. Osage Nation has multiple projects in process that will have a significant impact on the downtown area. The City of Pawhuska, in conjunction with Osage Nation, recently received a grant to improve traffic flow and pedestrian areas in downtown as well.  On-going projects like these will be incorporated into the Smart Growth Plan for Pawhuska. Some areas of need are greater than others of course but by following the plans developed in the workshop, most concerns will be addressed.

The program is made possible through a “Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities” grant received by Smart Growth America from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities. The Office of Sustainable Communities sponsors a variety of programs that help interested communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place.

Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. For additional information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.

If you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about this event, please email communications@osagenation-nsn.gov

 

Category: 
Public Event