Institute for Quality Communities Westville Project Awarded TSET Grant 

The community of Westville, Oklahoma was recently awarded a Built Environment Grant from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust to continue implementing a plan developed by OU’s Institute for Quality Communities. TSET Built Environment grants provide funding for projects that positively transform and improve the health of Oklahomans through enhancements in the built environment. TSET awarded nearly $4.6 million to 11 different projects, including $983,777 to Westville to support the construction of a new town plaza.

The project initially began in 2022, when the town of Westville, located in Adair Country in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, approached the IQC with a proposal to revitalize a vacant downtown lot. During the spring 2023 semester, Ph.D. assistant Rebecca Blaine, graduate assistants Jake Lange, Henry Wilson and Natalie Young, and graduate consultant Rajith Kedarisetty drew up plans to transform the vacant lot into a town square. The community began developing the project in September, in collaboration with design and engineering firm Kimley-Horn

With the designs provided by the OU team, Westville city officials hope to enhance the town’s streetscapes and improve overall community connectivity. In phase one of the project, the city will build new sidewalks with safe rail crossings to connect the new town square to Westville’s public schools. In phase two, the north half of the town square, featuring a food truck park, an outdoor stage and seating area and new landscaping, is planned.  

In addition to the TSET grant, The Cherokee Nation provided a matching donation to aid in the development of the amphitheater portion of the plaza. The project also received a Merit Award from the Oklahoma chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects in the Student Design category. This award recognizes the superior professional accomplishment of collaborative work by Landscape Architecture students and students from allied disciplines.

Learn more about the project at