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Elizabethtown will receive some help on revitalizing the downtown district this week from the University of Kentucky.
Students from UK specializing in areas such as historic preservation, architecture and landscape design will descend on the city Friday morning to meet directly with the public and evaluate several downtown structures, outgoing Heritage Council Executive Director Heath Seymour said.
Seymour said the students will be mobilized at the Brown-Pusey House and will meet directly with the public from 9 to 10 a.m. for input and ideas on what Elizabethtown’s residents would like to see, which could include a park or some other form of outdoor recreation, Seymour said.
The students then will spend time analyzing and assessing the inventory of downtown properties and will return to the Brown-Pusey House in the afternoon to break up into small groups and begin sketching outlines and designing concepts for those structures, Elizabethtown Planning Director Ed Poppe said.
The process is known as a charrette — a collaborative session or sessions in which designers craft solutions to problems.
Poppe said students representing the teams will return later this month and present their findings during the quarterly downtown design meeting Oct. 24 at the Historic State Theater. He encouraged residents to attend the morning session because it will aid students by alerting them to what is desired.
Seymoursaid UK has tackled these types of projects in the past and plans presented by the group could produce results for years to come. He said the work could brace Elizabethtown to better serve potential developers who are interested in a property because it will have a conceptual drawing or sketch of what could be done with the building courtesy of the students.
Poppe said bringing in the students should offer a fresh perspective and possible new ideas on how to develop infrastructure or push design.
Poppe said the charrette also will be beneficial to the students because they get to dissect a real city and apply the skills they have sharpened in the classroom.
“The students need that real world experience,” he said.
Douglas Appler, an assistant professor of historic preservation at UK, has said he expects some “strange” but solid ideas from the students.
Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or email@example.com.