City Council approves funding for DesignPlace Program

Published 8:27 am Thursday, February 17, 2022

By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

HELENA – The Helena City Council approved funding towards DesignAlabama’s DesignPlace Program in the amount of $7,500 at its meeting on Monday, Feb. 14.

DesignAlabama is an organization that works throughout the state of Alabama with the League of Municipalities with the goal of enhancing communities throughout the state of Alabama.

DesignPlace is the next and final step of the Design Alabama programs where multiple designers will come to the city and get to understand the community thoroughly to enhance connectivity and rebranding of the city to represent the best of the community.

“It’s a whole sphere of remaking the city of Helena based on ways we can get the best out of the city itself,” said Mayor Brian Puckett.

In order to be eligible for DesignPlace through Design Alabama, the mayor has to have recently completed a mayoral summit for Design Alabama which Puckett said he completed two weeks ago.

“It was a two-day intensive meeting down in Prattville where it was five designers and engineers, and for two days we were going through the city map-wise, and we were going, ‘How do we truly define community?’” Puckett said. “Well, for Helena it’s that connectivity; the connectivity of the trails, the connectivity of our past, present and future. All of those things define who Helena is.”

Puckett said the evaluation of marketing the city is based on residents’ and the city leaders’ individual visions for what they want out of the city. The result is the designers are able to come up with a plan to better market the city based on ideal function and aesthetic, all the way down to the small details.

The next step in the process is for Puckett to submit the application to DesignAlabama to qualify for the DesignPlace Program.

“We’re still not guaranteed to be selected, and the funding would only take place if we are approved,” he said.

Puckett said though there is no guarantee, he’s optimistic that Helena will be a prime candidate to be chosen from the application.

“We want to be able to connect Helena’s past with our future and embrace that small town community feel,” he said. “When we say small town feel, people are like, ‘Well, what does that mean?’ That’s what this program will do: it will isolate those things we value and how we can use it to enhance our city to the best it can be.”

For more information on DesignAlabama, visit DesignAlabama.org.