In 2017, everyone who lived, worked, or played in the greater Albion area was invited to participate in a community forum because input was being sought from the public to aid the Albion Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI) Team in identifying a community development project to encourage “placemaking”, leadership, and/or economic growth in Albion.
This was the first step in a process that Albion was chosen, as one of just five communities in the State of Indiana, to participate in by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). As an HCI Community, Albion benefitted from having community development professionals from OCRA, Ball State University, and Purdue University coach several volunteers who made up the HCI Team on how to reach goals identified by listening to citizens.
A survey was conducted first, then the public forum was held. A variety of outcomes were possible, including the development of retail options, restaurants, and recreational spaces; development of leadership to take Albion into the future; and economic development.
Albion's newest downtown public venue!
Over the following year more people joined the conversation with the core HCI Team. They learned, together, how to facilitate community conversations, how to prioritize, and how to reach consensus.
At the end of this learning process came a "Capstone Project". Albion's HCI Team ultimately chose "Placemaking" and decided to complete an "alley activation" to give more purpose to an often vacant downtown space and enable a place for community to gather and engage downtown.
In 2019 the alley surface was upgraded and painted to look like a railroad track to complement the Pizza Depot's theme, and their plans to install some wall art on the side of their building.
More upgrades were made in 2020 with the installation of a custom-fabricated railroad-style crossing bar that can serve to close the alley from incoming traffic when used for special events. Overhead "Edison-style" lighting was added for ambience and after-dark events. A couple of benches and flowering pots were added in the fall, just in time for the beginning of the Make It Your Own Mural Fest that brought the Doc's Fox to town.
As 2021 rolls forward, and with the HCI Team's work complete, the Albion STAR Team is assisting the Town of Albion by promoting the alley, now called "Celebration Station", to further activate this new space and bring people downtown!
The STAR Team's vision for the continued development of Celebration Station is more beautification, including murals/backdrops, that will help anyone see that downtown Albion is THE place to get together and celebrate almost any occasion, including birthdays, anniversaries, proposals, reunions, new product/store launches, games, and more!
If you or your organization would like to use Celebration Station for your activity or event, use the buttons at top to learn about Albion's Special Events policy and/or submit an application.