Archive for February, 2005

34 Days to Charrette

Monday, February 14th, 2005


Mark Miller, M.E. Barwacz, Terry Tromp, Terry Sanford and Marvin Miller.

We had a very good visit with Terry Tromp (CEO), Terry Sanford (Charrette leader) and Mark Miller (Architect/Planner) of Nederveld Associates, Inc. Terry Tromp met with Mick Kurtzfeldt of McCook County Highways, then John Knox (Zoning), Marc Dick (Commissioner) and Ralph Dybdahl (Commissioner) to discuss implementation of overlay zoning codes necessary to permit Laurent to be built. Terry then went to meet with Ken Pedersen of TM Rural Water to discuss options in providing water needs for Laurent and the surrounding areas. South Dakota has limited supply of fresh water, and the wells in the area has mostly hard water that requires softening. We will seriously consider water conservation efforts built into all of what we build in Laurent.

Terry Sanford and Mark Miller along with M.E. and Marvin met with local architects, Jeff Hazard and Bob Natz of Koch, Hazard and Baltzer in Sioux Falls to discuss plans for charrette, local trade skills and needs as well as plans for specific buildings. We then drove up to Salem to meet with a group of local contractors and builders. Mark Miller and Terry Sanford gave a visual slide show showing possible types of buildings and asked them to discuss the challenges and potential difficulties in building them. The contractors responded saying they can do the job. The meeting was arranged by Joe Bartman of Greater McCook Economic Development Alliance. Thanks, Joe!

We came back to Sioux Falls and had a dinner at Sushi Masa (a really GREAT Japanese sushi restaurant — great food for a wonderful price). We continued our discussion on charrette details and agenda. We now expect to get final schedule for the whole week of March 20 to 27th soon.

Next thing is to send out the e-mail invitations to folks who reserved for a lot in Phase 1. Things are rolling along.

M.E. and I expect to move our families to Salem next week, and The Laurent Company’s office will open the week after that. Yup, things are moving along!

Nederveld Associates’ Second Visit

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

We are having good folks of Nederveld Associates over here today for a series of meetings. We will be meeting with our local architecture firm, then later in the day, we will meet with some of the McCook contractors and builders.

Things are moving forward. 38 days left before the first day of Charrette in March 20 to 27th!


What would you like to see built at Laurent, S.D.?

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

We just got back from Tampa, Florida where National Association of the Deaf Board meeting took place. M.E. and I presented to the group, and it was well-received. The board voted to support The Laurent Company’s efforts to build the town. We’re very grateful for a such show of support because building a town is not one person’s job… it takes a community to do this right.We went to visit Celebration, Florida near Orlando, and it is a New Urbanist town developed by Walt Disney. It is a very successful new town, yet the look and feel of the town wasn’t what we were looking for. The whole project still felt too “suburban”, and we were disappointed with what we saw. There were some wonderful design examples, and the town center itself is very colorful and vibrant. Yet, we felt it was still too “auto-oriented”. Cars actually outnumbered the people on sidewalks.I still think modeling after the Old Quebec or the best of small towns in Europe is the way to go. In England, they built a new town that actually looked and felt authentic. Poundbury Village.At any rate, I would love to hear some feedback from you. Can you imagine living in a very dense and walkable town where you don’t need to depend on card to get you to places? Have you visited some great towns and cities in Europe that you feel could be a great example for us? Share your thoughts! E-mail me at [email protected].