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The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ announced on Thursday that the City of Thomasville was selected to host a community planning workshop to improve MacIntyre Park. As a CIRD award recipient, the City of Thomasville will receive a $10,000 stipend to support a community planning workshop and follow-up sessions. The City will also receive in-kind design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000, as well as additional support through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources on

The workshops are designed to bring together local leaders, non-profits, community organizations and citizens in connection with a team of rural planning and creative, place-making professionals to find solutions to enhancing the MacIntyre Park as a communitywide resource.

“The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™ represents important tenets of the NEA’s work,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “By providing resources to assist rural communities in crafting design and arts-based solutions to their development challenges, the

The proposal submitted by the Thomasville team of non-profit, public and municipal leaders was one of six selected by an advisory panel from a pool of 53 applicants this year.

“We were extremely impressed by the number of high quality applications we received. The selected communities demonstrate rich potential for leveraging partnerships to take action on a wide range of rural design issues,” said Cynthia Nikitin, CIRD Program Director and Senior Vice President of Project for Public Spaces, Inc.

“Each of the projects selected for CIRD workshops has the potential to lay the foundation for positive transformation. Collectively they demonstrate how planning for the future by focusing on assets and opportunities strengthens the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of communities,” said David Leckey, Executive Director of the Orton Family Foundation.

The community planning workshop will focus on storm water management challenges facing MacIntyre Park, as well as revitalization efforts. The historic, but underutilized 15-acre park is flanked by cultural institutions, public schools and a planned 15-mile, multi-use trail system which will connect the park to the city’s cultural and civic landmarks.

Thomasville City Planner Brian Herrmann acknowledged the team of fifth graders who began the discovery process in 2015 on how to improve the green space. “The enthusiasm for this project made it easy to assemble a collaborative team for the workshop that includes the City, Center for the Arts, YMCA and the Thomasville City School system,”

“We hope to use creek restoration as a vehicle for creating a more attractive, educationally inspiring and active park that infuses new recreational opportunities, an outdoor classroom, and civic art,” Herrmann added.

The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD) is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture, Project for Public Spaces, and the Orton Family Foundation. Established in 1991, CIRD has convened more than 70 rural design workshops in all regions of the country, empowering residents to leverage local assets in order to build better places to live, work, and play. For more information visit


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