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Caspar Plans Charrette

Caspar News and Press Releases

October 6th Charrette

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The Caspar Community, hoping to consolidate recent successes and prepare for the future, has scheduled a design workshop for Sunday, October 6th. Randy Hester, professor of Community Design at University of California at Berkeley, has once again been retained as ring master for this event, which is being described as a charrette.

What's a charrette? According to Peter Musty of Minneapolis Charrette Center, a charrette is "an intensive, multi-disciplinary planning process that facilitates open discussion between all stakeholders of a development project, including architects, community groups, developers, and neighbors. A charrette is usually a short process resulting in a clear, detailed, realistic vision for development." Architects engage in charrettes to solve difficult planning problems in a short time, so life can go on.

Hester and a team of his graduate students came to Caspar five years ago to help the planning process that led to the Caspar Community's successful effort to preserve the Caspar headlands and purchase the old schoolhouse as a community center.

"We have a folder full of projects, little and big, that cannot be moved forward until we can see the big picture," explains Mike Dell'Ara, president of the Caspar Community board. "How do we make the Community Center accessible? Where will everyone park if the Community Center, Shul, and Caspar Inn all have big events on the same night? If we can win our post office back, where would it go? Where do we put the fire house and emergency supplies? What about a community water system? Obviously, these and many other questions are of pressing importance." to me and my Caspar neighbors."

Michael Potts, one of the event's organizers, says "Communities all over the world are struggling with livability, sprawl, and other issues that can get worse without careful planning. Too often, planning is done for too short a time, or so infrequently that the plans are hopelessly outdated when they come to be applied. In Caspar, we're trying to learn new tools and even new words like 'charrette' to help us plan to preserve the quality of life in our village for generations. We hope our grandchildren can be proud of what we set in motion."

The planning workshop will be held at the Caspar Community Center on Sunday, October 6, starting at 3 PM.

written by Michael Potts for the Mendocino Beacon, 26 September 2002

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