Published On: Thu, Apr 27th, 2017

Town Hall Meeting set for Thursday

RANDOLPH — The City of Randolph is hosting officials from FEMA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,USDA, NPPD, Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District, Center for Rural Affairs, and others, for a Town Hall meeting and community workshop.
Prior to the meeting, the workshop team and officials will tour Randolph to get a feel of the community, according to Gary Van Meter, Randolph Community Development Director.
The Town Hall Meeting, which is open to the public, will be held April 27, from 6-8 p.m., at the City Auditorium.
The City of Randolph had been awarded a Technical Assistance Sustainable Communities Grant.
Mia Candy, a consultant with Renaissance City Planning, has been hired through the grant and will take part in the tour of Randolph Thursday.
Van Meter asked Candy the following questions during an interview he had with her. Her answers follow the three questions she was asked by Van Meter.
1. Why was Randolph selected as one of the 24 grant recipients nationwide? What made Randolph stand out among other applicants?
“When selecting grant recipients, EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities looks for communities than can demonstrate a need for technical assistance, but who are already doing work to improve their town and will continue to do so after the Building Blocks program is complete. Randolph has a clear need for sustainable interventions to address stagnant growth, and also has a group of dedicated community members who are looking to use the workshop as a springboard for future action. Randolph is therefore well suited to take advantage of the sustainable strategies for rural towns provided by the Building Blocks program.”
2. Will you be looking for anything in particular while touring the community? Will your team be listening for specific inputs from the Public?
“Over the past few months, the technical assistance team has spoken with community members via conference calls to learn about the opportunities and challenges facing Randolph. We heard a lot about stagnant growth, and dilapidated and vacant buildings, and we also heard about community assets such as the Randolph schools and the proposed daycare. The community tour is an opportunity for the technical assistance team to see these things first hand. In particular, the team will tour downtown Randolph to better understand how it might be revitalized through sustainable interventions. Local residents, business owners, and students sometimes participate in the tour by showcasing a project or site that is relevant to the Building Blocks program. The Town Hall on the evening of April 27 will be a great opportunity for the wider public to provide input and ideas about the future and Randolph.”
3. What do you find unique or distinctive about working with rural communities in your work?
“Rural towns have unique challenges that differentiate them from larger urban centers, but they also have a number of key assets that bigger cities don’t have. Rural communities tend to have a strong sense of identity and local pride. The smaller the town, the stronger the relationships between community members, which is really important for building sustainable, vibrant places. We generally find that folks in places like Randolph are willing to show up to town halls, and work together to improve their town.”

Following the Town Hall meeting, the team and agencies will prepare their assessments for a Friday Workshop involving community leaders and guests which will be held at the city auditorium from 9 a.m.-12 noon, and 1-4:30 p.m. The Technical Assistance Team will work with residents to create a sustainable strategy for growth that centers in three areas:
•Strengthen the local economy
•Revitalize village and town centers
•Engage and connect with community members
The plan will provide Randolph a blueprint to follow as it goes through floodplain remediation and the years following when the community will be eligible for Federal and State community betterment programs.