WALK ALONG THE RIVER: COMMUNITY DESIGN PROCESS FOR THE NORTON RIVERWALK
Reilly, Charles Dylan
Ellis, Christopher D
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The City of Norton, nestled in Southwest Virginia’s coal country, has a proposed 2-mile Riverwalk running along the Guest River and connecting to an existing Safe Routes to School sidewalk. The designer employed informal interviews, a design charrette, and formal presentations during the summer of 2016 to better understand the challenges and opportunities for the Riverwalk. Design ideas from the community engagement process were triangulated and compared against the site analysis, to better understand which ideas had the most support and were feasible. The resulting design from this process focused on improving pedestrian connectivity; improving quality of life for residents and attracting visitors; and telling Norton’s history, from towering chestnuts to coal mining. The community engagement process reached about 145 people and produced media buzz for the project with four front-page articles in local and regional newspapers. The charrette brought residents from diverse perspectives to the design table.