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Charette Happens tackles first project

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A mobile design studio is on the way to Rochester's Oak Terrace and Parkside mobile home parks to create a plan to use nearby public spaces better with the help of the people who live there.

Olmsted County Public Health Services, along with the parks' management and Bear Creek Church, lined up local architect Adam Ferrari make this the inaugural outreach project for his nonprofit Charette Happens truck.

The truck is a non-profit side project for the professional architect, whose Rochester office is called 9.square.

Ferrari will take his design studio on wheels to the neighborhood on Saturday to work with residents to create a plan for an area around the parks' community pool as well as a nearby city park that features a community garden. The goal is to have a draft of a plan to transform those areas into spots that the residents actually will use.

Kelly Corbin, community health specialist with Olmsted County, says the goal is to create places where people in this "often forgotten neighborhood" can gather for activities with their families and neighbors.

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"There has been a lot of energy out there recently to revitalize Oakside Terrace," she says. "Right now there is not enough space for people to gather outside… We want to make sure the environment there supports active living."

State grants for improving public health are being used to partially fund this public-private project.

The group also wants to be certain that local residents will use the public spaces. That's where Ferrari comes in.

"We wanted to partner with Charette Happens to ensure we were doing something with the neighborhood and they had ownership over the project," says Corbin.

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Riverstone Communities, which manages the Oakside Terrace and Parkside mobile home parks, and Bear Creek Church are sponsoring an end of summer bash for residents Saturday. Olmsted County Public Health is also helping with event.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., healthy snacks will be served at the community pool, while Adam Ferarri works with residents to design a plan for the pool area. The Charette Happens truck then will move down to the one acre city park along Marion Road for more design planning, music, carnival games and chances to win school supplies from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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