Urban Design Alumni See Plans for Collinsville Come to Life

Recent alumni of OU’s Master of Urban Design program are seeing their visions for Collinsville, Oklahoma, come to life. On Aug. 21, 2023, local officials announced a $4.4 million project in partnership with LandPlan to revitalize Collinsville’s historic downtown area. 

Back in 2020, Master of Urban Design alumnus Chris Paulsen designed a new downtown park, plaza and food truck park in Collinsville as a part of his capstone project, “The Depot: A Collinsville Market.” Paulsen worked closely with local community members and stakeholders to develop a design proposal for a vacant lot next to the local fair barn and veteran’s building. 

After conducting in-depth research and engaging with the local community, Paulsen recommended that the city relocate the historic depot station and caboose, an important local site and museum built in 1899, to the Collinsville Market. He also came up with several placemaking ideas to revitalize this new space such as farmers markets and movie nights.  

Paulsen’s design ideas are now being incorporated into the master plan for the Depot Park. According to Paulsen, “When you spend a year working on a project like this, you hope it becomes more than a dusty plan on a shelf. It makes me happy to see it go from just being a plan, to taking its first steps, to becoming a reality.”  

He continued, “I love how LandPlan was able to integrate some of my ideas and reimagine them, such as incorporating the water tower into playground equipment. The water tower was one of my favorite concepts for the park, so it was exciting to see it. This goes to show that one idea can be interpreted in so many different ways.” 

Jessi Stringer, an alumna of the Master of Urban Design program and current city planner for Collinsville, is overseeing the implementation of the new Depot Park. Current plans for the park include a performance stage, a food truck park, a farmers market area, a gathering space with outdoor seating, and a playground with synthetic turf and a play fountain.  

Paulsen expressed his excitement for the new project, “I look forward to the day I can go to Downtown Collinsville to see the difference this project has made and how much happiness it can bring to a small town in Oklahoma.” 

Learn more about the upcoming project at https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/a343efa37c134b28b3c176306ab96095.

Featured Image: “Depot Park drone photo sim #2” from LandPlan.