Campustown Action Association makes Campustown shine one project at a time

The former T Galaxy building in campustown is one of several spaces available for rent.

Alexander Furman

Have you ever seen the colorful-looking Campustown logos around campus? Well, that’s just one of the projects headed by the Campustown Action Association.

Some of the goals that the Campustown Action Association has have included making Campustown more inviting to people, bringing in more customers, improving the facade of businesses and recruiting potential businesses when there are vacancies.

“We’re working to promote the district as a whole and to educate that Campustown isn’t just Welch Avenue; it’s Ash to Sheldon, Lincoln Way to Knapp; so it’s a pretty big district,” said Kim Hanna, director of the Campustown Action Association.

Premiering for the first time on March 9, 2013, the Campustown Action Association will host the Make Campustown Shine initiative to clean up the streets around businesses to make the students social area more inviting to not just us, but to Ames residents as well.

“These [clean ups] will be March through November each year. It’s these months because of the weather and there are three fraternities scheduled for April 6,2013,” Hanna explained.

“They’ll also have volunteers on Saturday and Sunday morning of Veishea weekend [April 20 and 21, 2013] to make Campustown as clean as possible for Sunday mass. There are eight worshipping houses on campus, so we want to make sure worshipers have a clean area to walk through.”

This project was spurred by the sad reality that trash is thrown over balconies at nearby apartment complexes, as well as the fact that Iowa is a flat, windy state, so some trash on campus wasn’t even from students to begin with.

Currently, the only areas that have cigarette disposal areas are outside certain businesses and butts continue to be a large proportion of the litter. It has also been stated that some streets like Chamberlain don’t even have trash cans, something to be fixed in relation to the project.

So far, fraternities have shown initiative in joining this effort.

“Since it is the morning after Relay for Life I’m hoping people will just come over after that. I’d like to see a dozen people there to help out, that’d be a good goal for us,” said Rachel Kirpes, vice president of service for Alpha Phi Omega.

Besides the cleanup plans, the Campustown Action Association has two major events scheduled each year; the next planned one is FAC, or Friday Afternoon Celebration.

The event received positive feedback last year during homecoming at the Cytennial, so will continue this year along with the same band, Standing Hampton.

The Friday Afternoon Celebration will be a 21-and-older event, featuring a beer garden, and will be held in the area behind Dog Town University and Welch Ave. Station.

Other efforts to make Campustown more appealing include a facade restoration project, similar to the downtown project lead by the Main Street Cultural District. They’ve seen much success with their program, and the Campustown Action Association hopes to follow suit.

Currently, the Campustown Action Association is working to secure a grant for this that, if awarded, will give Campustown $15,000 for repairs and restoration efforts.

Safety has also been a topic for debate for the association as well, especially with the growing number of students enrolling at Iowa State.

“We’re working to increase all modes of transportation. We’re working to be more clear on what can be on sidewalks and what can’t. Bicycles are not supposed to be on Lincoln Way or Welch sidewalks; there are signs, but they aren’t very visible, so we’re working with the city to create some sort of educational plan because our sidewalks aren’t very wide,” Hanna said.

“When you have bicycles, skateboards and pedestrians all fighting for space on the sidewalk, plus people opening business doors and walking out, that’s an issue because people are getting hit.”