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Faculty participate in award-winning Belfield revitalization project

Belfield master plan

Faculty members from the NDSU Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture participated in a project that recently was honored with a Main Street Award from N.D. Gov. Doug Burgum. The downtown project for Belfield, North Dakota, received the Revitalizer Award, one of the 2018 Main Street Awards.

The awards recognize communities that elevate the three pillars of the Main Street Initiative through local projects or other efforts. The pillars include Smart, Efficient Infrastructure; 21st Century Workforce; and Healthy, Vibrant Communities.

“We deeply appreciate the commitment and dedication of communities to differentiate and enhance the quality of life for their residents, present and future,” Burgum said. “It’s with great pleasure and gratitude that we recognize these communities for efforts to create vibrant communities poised to attract and retain a 21st century workforce.”

Yang Song, assistant professor of landscape architecture, and Matthew Kirkwood, associate professor and program director of landscape architecture, helped the city of Belfield through a grant to provide vision and planning for local communities in the state.

Song said an art park and Main Street renovation are underway in Belfield, with more work planned for next year. “Landscape architecture as a profession has a significant impact on society and quality of life. We are glad that our design can improve the living environment and drive economic and cultural activities for Belfield,” Song said. “This honor encourages us to continue working on service projects and assisting local communities.”

Kirkwood said the design for the plaza was inspired by the community’s art deco theater, giving a historical context to the future identify of Belfield.

“Along with teaching, our community service work allows us to participate in local outreach. This is an opportunity to use our expertise in the profession of landscape architecture,” Kirkwood said. “Often our students are validated in their education by seeing their mentors working on projects that employ techniques shared in the classroom.”

The Revitalizer Award recognizes communities that have worked to beautify their Main Street, protect and celebrate historic structures and turn their downtown into an attraction.

“The City of Belfield is fortunate to be able to tap into the resources NDSU offers to improve our town,” said Belfield auditor Natalie Muruato in a letter of appreciation to Kirkwood and Song. “Because we were able to work with the landscape architecture department, we saved money on the design and plans, making the project more affordable.

“The downtown pocket park is one of the projects included in our main street revitalization efforts where we took two abandoned empty lots on our main street and turned it into a beautiful plaza for all to enjoy,” Muruato said.

Other North Dakota communities receiving honors for projects included Watford City, Jamestown, Binford, Fargo, Rugby, Grand Forks, Stanley, Garrison and Tuttle.

The Main Street Awards are a collaborative effort of the Office of the Governor, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the North Dakota League of Cities. A selection committee made up of the collaborating agencies and partners judged the entries to make final awards.

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Vice President for University Relations
North Dakota State University
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