Two local projects win Knight Cities bid

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus is receiving two grants to help improve the community economically and culturally.  Two of Columbus’ plans were chosen out of more than 4,500 across the U.S. as part of what’s called the Knight Cities Challenge.

The Knight Foundation is investing $5 million into 26 cities including Columbus.  The Foundation is pumping in almost $180,000 to help improve the Columbus community.

One of the plans to improve the community is Phillip Trocquet’s “Urban Glen” idea, which is an outlet for people to use hammocks in an urban setting.

“Inserting six by six posts into grounds and areas where there’s not a whole lot of activity, specifically in public parks so, kind of in Lake Bottom area where the middle of that park is not as utilized as other areas of the park,” Trocquet explained.

The Parks and Recreation Department will put the posts in the ground.

“They would be painted or they would be decorated and they would be kind of an exposition of public art.  So, it’d be an art piece in the middle of the park and that art would be functional because you would hang your hammock between it,” Trocquet said.

Columbus’ other winning idea is from a non-profit organization based in Minnesota.  Jim Kumon is teaching people how to develop into small-scale property owners in their own communities throughout the country.

“Help bring about a new cohort of small-scale developers.  People working at the neighborhood scale to build residential and mixed use buildings in our walkable neighborhoods,” Kumon said.

Kumon is concentrating on Midtwon.  He says Midtown is a great opportunity to tackle issues like this.

“It’s kind of a microcosm of so many things of this city and this region, whether from a land use pattern.  There’s so many different types of buildings, sizes of buildings, old, new and there’s a huge range of different people in a very small place,” Kumon explained.

Kumon believes if they can make this project work in Midtown, they can make it work across the region.

Betsy Covington with the Community Foundation is excited about these projects.

“I think what these ideas will mean is further discussion about how we live in our community,” Covington said.

The Community Foundation is spear-heading a local version of the Knight Cities Challenge.  They are taking the other 93 ideas submitted on behalf of Columbus and have local panel looking at those to select some to promote in the community.

Both projects will take a little over a year to complete once they receive the grant money.



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