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City To Use $10,000 Bruner Silver Award Funding To Provide WiFi Downtown

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By the end of the year patrons of Celebration Plaza and the downtown area could be enjoying free Internet, thanks to a $10,000 Rudy Bruner Award.

The city was nominated for the national award by Ian Lockwood of Toole Design Group, the design engineer behind the downtown revitalization project. From among many cities nominated across the country, Sulphur Springs was named a finalist for a Rudy Bruner Award.

“The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence is a national design award that recognizes transformative urban places distinguished by their economic and social contributions to America‚Äôs cities. Founded in 1986 by architect Simeon Bruner, the award promotes innovative thinking about the built environment by celebrating and sharing the stories of creative and inspiring urban development,” according to Rudy Bruner Award website.

One gold medal and four silver medals are awarded biennially. The Rudy Bruner gold medalist receives a $50,000 cash prize and each silver medalist receives $10,000.

“We didn’t win, but we got silver,” said Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell.

The funding will be utilized to expand the city’s internet pipeline so that WiFi is available to those who visit downtown. While free, there would be a few parameters for the free WiFi. Discussed was potentially limiting use to up to 4 hours per IP address per day, according to the city manager. All of the details have yet to be worked out for installation and use, but the service is expected to be installed this fall or winter.

A page from the city’s Rudy Bruner Award application showing the downtown square before and after the revitalization project.

The city was awarded the project for the redesigned, rebuilt and re-imagined downtown square, Main and Connally Streets.

“Sulphur Springs Downtown provides a great example of how to bring small towns back to life,” the 2019 Bruner Award Selection Committee noted.

As was the case in the development of the downtown area into the popular destination and thriving area of the city once more, many individuals contributed data and information to the Bruner application.

Maxwell provided a public agency perspective, Billie Ruth Standbridge provided a developer perspective, Ian Lockwood a professional consultant perspective as well as a project description, and Myra Watson the perspective of a real estate expert. The written part of the application was 20 pages, with at least that many more pages filled with color photos and descriptions of the area before and after the project.

Photos of a building at the corner of Connally and Gilmer Street submitted in the city’s Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence application

Author: Faith Huffman

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