City to be focus of architectural study

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 18, 2003

The city of Greenville will soon become a college architectural project.

On January 23, students from the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, will travel here to review our town’s architecture and conduct a charette.

According to Notre Dame officials, a charette is the name given an intensive, cooperative design process, usually in relation to an art or architectural project.

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The charette will include a town meeting with area residents and a forum, consisting of six groups of students and townspeople, in which information and ideas will be gathered to use in preparing a plan and model of future buildings for Greenville, or the remodeling of existing structures.

The town meeting will be held Saturday, January 25, at 10 a.m. at the Ritz Theatre. Coffee will be served beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The town meeting will be followed by lunch with the students at First Baptist Church Family Life Center, and those signed up to participate in the forum will do so after lunch at the church.

&uot;We will need about 48 Greenville residents to sign up for the forum,&uot; said Main Street Director Nancy Idland, who is hosting the Notre Dame group while they are in Greenville. &uot;There will be six discussion groups consisting of two students and eight to 10 residents. The Notre Dame group will want ideas and historical facts from local people. This will help them in developing their design ideas.&uot;

The students will get ideas from the discussions, then meet with their professors Saturday night to begin drawing plans.

A final meeting will be held Sunday night at approximately 5 p.m. to allow residents to view the preliminary drawings the students have prepared.

&uot;This is not necessarily a beautification project,&uot; Idland said. &uot;It’s a chance for our town to get some outside input from people who don’t necessarily see the town as we see it. We’ve lived here and look at the buildings and areas every day. But they may look at a vacant lot and visualize it as a little playground, or think something else would work better in a certain location than the building that’s there.&uot;

How did Greenville, Alabama, get selected to be a part of an architectural project for some Indiana college students?

Idland said it was by chance.

&uot;A Greenville resident called the Alabama Historical Commission and asked for help with a church preservation project,&uot; Idland said. &uot;While they were here, they were impressed by the amount of architecture from earlier days that’s still intact in our community, and suggested that the university use our town as one of their projects.&uot;

Notre Dame Professor Alan Defrees agreed with the commission’s assessment and made Greenville one of the two communities that the architecture students will use for their annual senior projects. The other community is an urban area of Chicago.

All residents are encouraged to participate in the project. Saturday’s town meeting is open to the general public.

Anyone interested in participating in the forum is asked to call Idland at 382-3041. Idland also is asking for members of the community to join her in forming a welcoming committee to meet the Notre Dame group at Montgomery’s Dannely Field Airport, Thursday, January 23, at 4:15 p.m. in front of the terminal building.