Penobscot Ave Millinocket Sept. 2019 crpdThe town of Millinocket, Maine, is developing a design strategy that will help build economic viability and increase quality of life in the community. In a recent 2-day workshop, residents collaborated on improvements and guidelines they would like to see result from the town's design project with the Citizen’s Institute on Rural Design (CIRD).

As a facilitator of the project, the Center helped the town and local nonprofit Our Katahdin write a successful program application to work with CIRD and has been an active participant throughout the project. The project has been a collaborative effort for the Town of Millinocket, which received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host the multi-day design workshop.

The CIRD workshop gathered input from residents via Zoom and in person to inform the creation of a visual rendering of the downtown corridor.

CIRD focuses on rural communities to increase quality of life and economic viability through community workshops and design. The workshop empowers local citizens to have a voice and ensures that local and regional assets are highlighted in the design and that the design has a strong sense of place. CIRD will use input from the workshop to create a “LookBook” that will serve as a design guidebook for future downtown revitalization initiatives.

“The CIRD process helps create cohesion among many projects happening in downtown Millinocket, such as wayfinding, walkability, and plans to attract new residents and visitors to the region,” said Brittany Grutter, Katahdin project manager for the Center. “The overarching design concepts for the downtown corridor tell us what residents want to see. The signage for the wayfinding project can further develop within those parameters.”

The CIRD design process has engaged the community in planning the future of the Magic City. Millinocket will also participate in CIRD’s inaugural peer learning cohort for rural leaders from 23 communities.