Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Drury and Extension Partner to Help Four Communities in Southwest Missouri with Community Visions

Jeff Barber, housing and environmental design specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Drury University architecture students and University of Missouri Extension specialists are continuing their work to improve urban and rural development in Missouri as a part of Drury University’s Center for Community Studies (CCS).

Students meet with their communities several times during a semester and collaborate with the citizens to envision a future. At the end of the project, students present several poster sized presentation boards and a book that they call the “visioning toolkit.”

“Drury’s CCS works with MU Extension to prepare communities before Drury students begin working with communities. After students have completed their projects, MU Extension continues to work with communities to develop and pursue their action plan,” said Jeff Barber, a housing and urban development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The students’ work is a valuable tool for Missouri cities. CCS only charges for project expenses, averaging $5,500 per community project, a small fee considering the 300-plus in-kind hours donated by each architecture student throughout the semester resulting in $15,000 of value per student team member. Travel distance is the largest factor in cost for each community.


This partnership has impacted five southwest Missouri communities during this academic school year. The most recent projects are as follows:

Webb City (Spring 2014) population 10,996: Five students are working with a Visioning Advisory Committee to build on the Spring 2008 Main Street visioning effort, Fall 2013 King Jack Park visioning effort, and the DREAM Initiative reports to develop a citywide vision for their 20-25 year future horizon. The students have toured the community and conducted a workshop with 29 participants attending and sharing their input through a gaming method used to determine an overarching goal, objectives and methods. Funding is provided by Webb City.

Sheldon (Spring 2014) population 543: Four students are working with a Visioning Advisory Committee to develop a citywide vision for their 20-25 year future horizon. The students have toured the community, studied super-trends affecting Sheldon and have conducted a workshop with 39 participants attending and sharing their input also through a gaming method used to determine an overarching goal, objectives and methods.  Funding is provided by West Central Community Action Agency, citizens, businesses and the City of Sheldon.

Carthage (Fall 2013) population 14,378: Five students studied the parks and recreation facilities in Carthage to assist a citizen committee with developing their broader vision for improving and expanding park opportunities. Clear to all participants was the need to have a focus that ranges in scale from the neighborhood park to regional assets like conservation areas and expanded greenway trails. Funding was provided by the City of Carthage.

Joe Bald Park (Fall 2013): Four students were asked by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce to lead an exploratory group to compile ideas to help the site become a greater recreational and financial community asset. The Advisory Committee is comprised of 25 individuals representing various agencies, officials, local business owners, fishing guides and area residents. Joe Bald State Park has been closed to the public since 1998, but many citizens hope that it will once again become a regional asset.


Reeds Spring Community Vision-to-Action, population 913: Following the Spring 2011 Visioning Effort in Reeds Spring, the school district approached the Board of Aldermen to gift the Old Reeds Spring High School building and property to the city.  This led to the relocation of the City Hall to the site and notions of developing the Old High School into a community center. Anticipated follow-up includes assistance with PACE funding application, grant applications, professional services procurement and an advisory role in any implementation.


For more information about the CCS program contact Jay Garrott at Drury University, (417) 873-7371 or Jeff Barber at the Greene County Extension Center, (417) 881-8909. Some additional information can also be found online at


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