Why Websites?
Too often, plans that cities or counties have invested a great deal of time and money into end up sitting on a shelf somewhere, under-referenced in day-to-day life.
That’s why, at Alchemy, we deliver our final plan to you in the form of a website: content with step-by-step action items to bring about lasting community change that’s easy to share with community members and build excitement around online.

Completed Projects

  • Acadia Parish, LA

    Acadia Parish, LA

    Population: 62,045

    Project Overview

    Acadia Parish, less than an hour away from urban Lafayette, Louisiana, is seeing much of its young population leaving for larger cities. Community visioning pointed to a lack of entrepreneurial amenities and incentives and revealed community desires for other enriching cultural amenities.

    This dynamic, multi-city action plan contains business plans and programming guides for a mixed-use center in Crowley (including a coworking space, classrooms and workforce training, a business incubator, and a cafe), a social club in Rayne, a taproom and eatery in Church Point, a community park in Iota, and a Cajun Dance Hall in Fifth Ward. Also created was a regional talent incentive program.

    Completed: 2019

  • Atmore, AL

    Atmore, AL

    Population: 9,890

    Project Overview

    Through extensive interviewing, research, and community visioning session with more than 500 community members, Alchemy developed an action plan centering around the Strand Theater and revitalizing the empty storefronts of downtown Atmore, Alabama.

    The plan includes re-opening the shuttered Strand Theater, introducing new programming, and opening the Strand Social Club. Atmore’s former hardware store is slated to become a mixed-use event center, hosting live music, sound recording, and an artist residency program. A former Radio Shack is planned to become a bakery/pizza parlor with a makerspace on the second floor.

    Completed: 2018

  • Bay Minette, AL

    Bay Minette, AL

    Population: 9,291

    Project Overview

    Funded through the EPA’s Brownfields Assessment Grant Program, Alchemy worked with PPM Consultants, an environmental and engineering consulting firm, to plan for the redevelopment of abandoned and underutilized areas and properties in Bay Minette.

    As a result of Alchemy’s process of community engagement, priority projects were identified, with special consideration given to projects that will enhance the region’s economic competitiveness. These priority projects are designed to incentivize redevelopment and capital investment, attract and retain talent, and make north Baldwin County a better place for industry to grow and thrive.

    Completed: 2020

  • Cabot, AR

    Cabot, AR

    Population: 26,141

    Project Overview

    Cabot, centrally located in Arkansas and near the state’s capital, is well-positioned to attract the abundance of young people who are looking to settle down, purchase a home, and possibly start a family, but lacks recognition as a place to do these things and the artistic amenities millennials are seeking.

    Included in this plan is the renovation of the local firehouse into a creative center and development of a plan to introduce several unique local festivals to the market Cabot to the surrounding communities. Additionally, several branding options were created for the city of Cabot, and new wayfinding and public art plan was presented.

    Completed: 2020

  • Cassopolis, MI

    Cassopolis, MI

    Population: 1,695

    Project Overview

    Cassopolis is a community of dreamers and doers who know what kind of future they are looking for and are actively making big things happen. During the visioning sessions, Alchemy discovered the #1 concern was the lack of local food/drink options. A close second was an overall lack of amenities/things to do.

    Alchemy proposed concepts that focus on the unique assets Cassopolis can leverage to build community, including a new CATSopolis Days Festival, highlighting the birthplace of kitty litter; downtown building revitalization to introduce three new food/drink options; public art and bike lane connectivity concepts; and a comprehensive housing strategy to address community concerns related to cost and feasibility.

    Completed: 2020

  • Coopersburg, PA

    Coopersburg, PA

    Population: 2,515

    Project Overview

    Coopersburg is situated in one of the fastest-growing regions in America but hasn’t seen real population growth in decades. Competing with other regional “bedroom” communities, Coopersburg enlisted Alchemy to assist in growing their cultural offerings to attract new residents to the borough.

    Working with the Pennsylvania Department of Transpiration, Alchemy proposed several traffic calming measures along Coopersburg’s main corridor and added pedestrian safety improvements. Additionally, public art concepts are provided on this corridor as well as in the downtown area. The underutilized Borough Hall will house a multi-use community center and offer new programming.

    Completed: 2020

  • Fayette, IA

    Fayette, IA

    Population: 1,469

    Project Overview

    Fayette is a city on the rise. Much of this new excitement stems from the Opera House. Standing on the literal middle ground between both worlds, The Opera House will stimulate an active downtown shared by both worlds of Upper Iowa University and life-long residents of Fayette.

    The Opera House cannot do it alone. Collaborating with the other nonprofits old and new to form a new nonprofit collaboration will help to stimulate economic development. This, combined with a new restaurant operator, developing the vacant land on Main Street, and implementing a comprehensive housing plan will bring Fayette back to prominence.

    Completed: 2017

  • Greene County, IA

    Greene County, IA

    Population: 8,981

    Project Overview

    Through community visioning sessions and quantitative and qualitative input, the Alchemy team identified nine catalytic projects: a housing project in Paton and a housing plan in Jefferson, expansion of daycare facility, the Downtown Jefferson coworking space, building new sports complex and aquatic center, complete streets program, a business class restaurant/brewpub, passing a school bond referendum, the Grand Junction artists’ colony, and a new trails system.

    With the action steps laid out in the Alchemy Action Plan and the enthusiasm of the regional community to grow, Greene County is well poised for growth in the coming decades.

    Completed: 2017

  • Hardin County, IA

    Hardin County, IA

    Population: 17,048

    Project Overview

    Alchemy worked with members of each of these seven communities to identify perceived problems. Alchemy provided Hardin County with steps to enact a regional Skilled Trades Enhancement Program (STEP) to attract workforce; a marketing plan to increase Hardin County brand awareness; and action steps to develop code enforcement that will aid in blight development and increase pride in home ownership county-wide.

    Alchemy also developed projects for each of the seven communities: a mixed-use public market, a county creative center, a sports academy, a fourplex, a bowling alley/brewery/restaurant, community beautification, and an outdoor outfitter.

    Completed: 2017

  • Keosauqua, IA

    Keosauqua, IA

    Population: 1,029

    Project Overview

    Keosauqua is a community dedicated to growing in a responsible way, keeping its small town community feel. Tucked into a river bend, Keosauqua has no stoplights or fast food restaurants and instead supports three locally-owned restaurants.

    However, the community is facing population loss issues, and workforce development issues. Community visioning and employer interviews revealed these issues were tied in the lack of downtown cultural amenities and entertainment. Alchemy’s action plan identifies buildings primed for re-development and provides steps to create a community cultural center as a catalytic downtown development project.

    Completed: 2019

  • Kossuth County, IA

    Kossuth County, IA

    Population: 14,908

    Project Overview

    Kossuth County has good jobs with good companies making good wages. Why, then, are people not moving here to work? The short answer: lack of housing and amenities. Young people looking to move for work don’t think they’re going to stay for very long. They want a nice, modern apartment rather than a mortgage. They want places to meet people and socialize.

    Alchemy’s housing action plan centers around the creation of a robust revolving loan fund with contributions from the private corporate community, county funds, and state funds. The plan outlines how funds should be allocated, how the loan fund replenishes itself over time, and how to use the fund to attract developers to the area.

    Completed: 2019

  • Manchester, IA

    Manchester, IA

    Population: 5,179

    Project Overview

    Manchester is truly one of Iowa’s best kept secrets. Main street businesses are full of retail shops and restaurants, the school is top notch, employers continue to see growth, and they are home to a whitewater park. With all this success, they identified the need to create people-focused strategies to see continued growth.

    The Alchemy team identified four catalytic projects: a housing project that included the creation of a revolving loan fund to support developers, a marketing and brand strategy to attract new residents and visitors, an entrepreneurship center to encourage innovation and collaboration, and the redevelopment and expansion of the Delaware County Recreation Center.

    Completed: 2020

  • Mena, AR

    Mena, AR

    Population: 5,534

    Project Overview

    The former Mena High School building is over 50,000 feet and centrally located in Mena’s downtown square, but has sat vacant for decades after the high school relocated to a new facility. A local businessman, after a swell of community outpour against tearing the structure down or using it as a jail, enlisted Alchemy to create a road map for what this amazing space in the heart of Mena will become.

    Combining educational opportunities (a culinary innovation center, a library extension, a makerspace, and a production studio), with income-generating sources such as vacation rentals, a coworking space, and retail space creates a well-rounded business model with a positive community impact.

    Completed: 2019

  • Moore Haven, FL

    Moore Haven, FL

    Population: 1,807

    Project Overview

    Moore Haven is primed for population growth, especially with the recent groundbreaking of the Airglades International Airport project. However, Moore Haven faces a serious housing shortage, meaning they can’t house the project’s construction workers or future residents as regional expansion occurs.

    Alchemy worked to address the city’s housing shortage, as well as the creation of several amenities to attract a modern workforce, including the creation of a waterfront restaurant, a strategy to bring a fresh food market back to town as well as developing a city branding and wayfinding plan to direct traffic to these amenities.

    Completed: 2020

  • Murphysboro, IL

    Murphysboro, IL

    Population: 7,477

    Project Overview

    Murphysboro has invested significant time and resources into revitalization efforts and renewing interest in the town as a center of historical and cultural tourism. Alchemy was enlisted to assist in this effort by identifying specific projects desired by the community.

    One repeated sentiment was that locals have shown interest in creating businesses and renovating downtown spaces, but didn’t know where to start or even which spaces were available. Community members shared that their biggest issue was lack of recognition: there were already tons of events happening, but no central method of communication; there were already fantastic artists in town, but no public art to showcase their talents, and downtown Murphysboro is already home to unique shops and restaurants, but pedestrian access was limited. Lack of housing was also identified as a top concern.

    Completed: 2020

  • New Market, IA

    New Market, IA

    Population: 405

    Project Overview

    New Market has taken an active and innovative approach to community development after population loss and housing decline forced their local post office to close. The city hired Alchemy to build a plan to bring their workforce back into town, and create community space for recreational activities.

    Alchemy’s action plan focuses heavily on housing, and creates housing maintenance standards and local enforcement mechanisms for blighted properties. Also highlighted are corridor beautification and wayfinding to get visitors off the highway, a coworking space for remote workers, and a mixed-use community center with a variety of uses.

    Completed: 2018

  • Newton, IA

    Newton, IA

    Population: 15,147

    Project Overview

    Newton is on the brink of major growth. There are strong signs already in a healthy housing market: developers showing interest in the rental market, the Centre for Arts & Artists (CAA) responding to artistic venue shortage by launching a capital campaign, and Des Moines Area Community College’s continual march toward filling up the former Maytag Campus. What was most desired from the community was an expansion of the already successful CAA.

    Alchemy identified five major projects: additional programming for the CAA, modernization of the existing Capital II Theater, a full-service restaurant with an upscale lounge, a brewery, and a daycare. Newton has been successful in the implementation of several pieces of Alchemy’s planning work.

    Completed: 2017

  • Oskaloosa, IA

    Oskaloosa, IA

    Population: 11,546

    Project Overview

    Oskaloosa, Iowa is home to William Penn University, several large employers, retail outlets, and arts & entertainment amenities. However, visioning sessions revealed a lack of community connectivity, downtown dining options, and a significant lack of housing options.

    Alchemy’s action plan focuses on three broad themes: downtown revitalization, connectivity, and quality of life. This project includes action plans for a highway transfer of jurisdiction and shared streets, sustainable arts and cultural amenities, housing development and blight strategies, downtown beautification concepts, a new restaurant, and university/downtown connectivity.

    Completed: 2019

  • Ottumwa, IA

    Ottumwa, IA

    Population: 24,454

    Project Overview

    Ottumwa, Iowa (population: 24,454) has made recent economic investments in its cultural amenities, but two of their oldest buildings: the Ottumwa Theater and the Capitol Theater, historic movie houses, have fallen by the wayside and remain unoccupied. Our efforts to fill these spaces with unique concepts include self-sustaining concepts that add community value.

    Final concepts include a black box theater, classroom space for coding classes, a small recording studio, lobby space with coffee shop sales, a makerspace and coworking space, a basement speakeasy, and a video game hall of fame, as Ottumwa boasts the name “the Video Game Capital of the world.”

    Completed: 2020

  • Pleasantville, IA

    Pleasantville, IA

    Population: 1,692

    Project Overview

    Located just 30 minutes from downtown Des Moines, Pleasantville presents itself as an alternative to city living with a strong sense of community, home to an excellent school district, and access to employment in various sectors, all with access to big-city amenities of the nearby capital city.

    Recognizing its potential for growth as a bedroom community, Pleasantville enlisted Alchemy’s services to enhance their amenity options to attract new residents. Specific focus was paid to the downtown square, including beautification enhancements and a strategy for filling the recently vacated grocery store. A community-wide housing program was presented to address the lack of median range homes for sale and rent.

    Completed: 2020

  • Rosedale, MS

    Rosedale, MS

    Population: 1,619

    Project Overview

    Located along the Mississippi River in the heart of the Delta, Rosedale community members founded Riverside Rising, a non-profit organization created to address generational poverty, low academic attainment, and significant health disparities for the Delta population through community development programs.

    Alchemy worked with Riverside Rising and created a strategy to bring to life a coding academy, an artist residency program, concepts for two museums celebrating Delta cultural heritage, and a strategy to enhance existing parks and trails in Rosedale.

    Completed: 2020

  • Spencer, IA

    Spencer, IA

    Population: 11,031

    Project Overview

    The Alchemy team worked with a group of city officials, local business representatives, and nonprofit leaders to identify opportunities to strengthen the financial position of the various nonprofit cultural groups in Spencer and increase arts and culture programming city-wide. The result of this process was the formation of the Spencer Arts District plan revolving around several anchor institutions including a heritage center, art gallery, and community theater.

    The plan identified specific policies for the implementation and management of the Arts District. With the steps laid out in this plan, the Arts District is well poised to take a leading role in the revitalization and redevelopment of downtown Spencer.

    Completed: 2019

  • St. Joseph, MO

    St. Joseph, MO

    Population: 75,959

    Project Overview

    Nestled right by downtown, Cathedral Hill is in a prime location within the St. Joseph community. This historic neighborhood is full of some of the most gorgeous homes full of opportunity yet most suffer from decades of neglect, which has fueled squatters and crime. Recently, the neighborhood has seen some big wins with new local businesses opening on Frederick, and the St. Joseph Cathedral opening a daycare facility.

    Alchemy worked with The Community Alliance to develop a creative placemaking playbook that recommended a variety of catalytic concepts including the Urban Homestead Relocation Program, a mixed-use cultural center, an overall housing strategy, defined gateway signage, and neighborhood park improvements.

    Completed: 2020

  • Stanton, IA

    Stanton, IA

    Population: 689

    Project Overview

    Since 2010, Stanton has invested more than $39 million in community enhancements. In 2017, Stanton hired Alchemy to provide a cohesive future strategy to attract new residents to their community. To date, Stanton leads the way in the successful implementation of Alchemy’s planning work.

    Based on community input, Alchemy developed a citywide housing initiative to encourage development, an artist residency to recruit talent from nearby Omaha, a community connectivity plan to connect the Viking Lake trail to Stanton and capitalize on recreational tourism, developed makerspace and restaurant business models, worked with HyVee to develop a grocery locker system, and scheduled downtown revitalization with a mixed-use center.

    Completed: 2017

  • Staples, MN

    Staples, MN

    Population: 2,952

    Project Overview

    Occupying most of a city block in downtown Staples, the 112-year-old Batcher Block Opera House stands as “one of the best-preserved rural opera houses in Minnesota,” and through its life, the building has served as the cultural heart of the city of Staples and the greater region. Currently, the City of Staples has a chance to restore the now-dormant space to preserve the historic character of the building while making necessary changes and upgrades for the building to function with a new use.

    Alchemy’s plan for this space involves restoring the main level Opera House to host performances and pop-up events, as well as a full-scale programming model for the rest of the building including classrooms, an artist residency program, and office space.

    Completed: 2020

  • Villisca, IA

    Villisca, IA

    Population: 1,171

    Project Overview

    Every town wants to be known for something, but what happens when that “something” is a gruesome 100-year-old crime? Villisca sees thousands of visitors annually as the site of eight murders in 1912, but the broader community has yet to capitalize on these tourism dollars.

    This action plan creates a town-wide signature event around their tourist destination, outlines wayfinding initiatives to get visitors to drive through the downtown area instead of bypassing it, and provides step-by-step strategies for implementing other vitally needed community amenities, including a grocery store, a daycare facility, and a comprehensive housing initiative to fix blight and attract developers.

    Completed: 2019

  • Wayne County, IA

    Wayne County, IA

    Population: 6,476

    Project Overview

    Wayne County is on the rise as East Penn Manufacturing expands with the promise of 200+ new jobs in the next few years. While Wayne county already has a lot to offer to residents including great jobs, excellent schools, a comprehensive hospital and clinic system, top-rated outdoor recreation, companies in the area are having a hard time attracting a vital workforce due to lack of housing availability, quality, and price point.

    Alchemy worked with local employers, city and county officials, development groups, and key local stakeholders to create a revolving loan fund housing model dedicated to building new homes and apartment rentals, with state, county, city, and private dollars available to developers to bridge the cost gap.

    Completed: 2019

  • West Monroe, LA Downtown Master Plan

    West Monroe, LA Downtown Master Plan

    Population: 12,431

    Project Overview

    In July 2019, the City of West Monroe was awarded a Rural Business Development Grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development. The City of West Monroe leveraged this federal grant program to develop a downtown master plan.

    The two public visioning sessions were attended by more than 100 residents who provided their input and feedback about the opportunities and challenges facing their community, with emphasis on the downtown and riverfront areas. As a part of the visioning process, five priority projects were identified: streetscape, a new food hall concept, distillery, housing, and cohesive branding + wayfinding for the downtown area.

    Completed: 2020