Not only is it a good time, but the proceeds go towards improving the town. The Friends of Murphysboro created the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest event in 2009 and has funded projects like the dog park at Riverside Park and the Splash Pad in Longfellow Park and handed the torch off to Revitalize 62966 in 2021.
Revitalize 62966 is a grassroots effort initiated to address local challenges, by building a practical action plan through creative placemaking – a people-centered approach to building strong, vibrant communities. The project’s goal is to help Murphysboro achieve economic and population growth through the creation of identified catalytic projects. McClure Engineering was contracted with Jackson Growth Alliance (JGA),the economic development body for Jackson County, to identify through community sessions successes, weaknesses, and opportunities from Murphysboro people then build a plan. The project itself was generously funded by multiple people, not-for-profits, the City, and local businesses.
From community sessions, interviews, meetings, observations, and research McClure assembled a comprehensive how to-do-it plan. The plan was revealed to our steering committee June of 2020, where duties were assigned, and work has continued despite COVID. The Revitalize 62966 – Murphysboro Action Plan can be found at: www.revitalize62966.com. It is a living and sharable web-based plan that breaks out the action items into seven categories: housing, downtown revitalization, business assistance, shared streets, public art, community calendar and next steps. Next steps include additional main street green space, daycare facility to tie in with a makerspace concept.
Our first and most attainable projects are shared streets and public art. The Public Art Committee conducted their first fundraiser and installed the first wall mural last fall. Murals and other planned artwork are slated to begin in the coming weeks. We are awaiting results from a grant opportunity that was submitted from a downtown planning study conducted last year that would improve streetscape and walkability on Walnut Street from 10th to 17th Streets. Housing concepts, housing districts and historical districts are also in progress. Creating downtown revitalization initiatives, marketing pieces, business assistance concepts and improving community communications will be our next focus.
Many of this excitement and positive dialog has translated to new businesses popping up downtown and collaborative initiatives are beginning to take place. I believe we have a great stock of residents, volunteers, community leaders and businesses owners that want to continue to see progress and help move us forward. Your funds will not only make the Big Muddy Brew Fest possible, but additional proceeds will go to Revitalize 62966, through the 501(c)(3) Southern Illinois Community Foundation (SICF), to fund and support our progress for the betterment of Murphysboro, as well as the surrounding areas in Jackson County.
We are also always looking for others to join our efforts.
If you’re interested in volunteering or becoming a member of Revitalize 62966 send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org