SDAT Team Leaps Forward to Help with Helper Revitalization Project


By Destiny Basso and Traci Bishop

A public meeting was hosted last Wednesday evening in regards to a grant that was received by the Helper Revitalization Steering Committee. Community members were invited to attend the event to voice their opinion and share ideas. Attendees were treated with free hamburgers, hot dogs and chips after the meeting.

The Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program awarded the committee with a grant that will help rejuvenate Helper. The city was one of seven awarded the grant. The SDAT program, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), is a community assistance program that focuses on principals of sustainability by sending teams of professionals to work with community decision makers to help them develop a vision and frame-work for the community’s future.

For the past 50 years, the AIA has been sending national teams to partner with local communities focused on helping them envision a better future. Some of the professionals that are sent include architects, planners, attorneys and more. The SDAT is a volunteer effort made by the AIA. Therefore, planning professionals have donated their time for free.

With the help of the grant, the goal is to create a workable plan for Helper. A total of $15,000 is donated by the AIA for expenses. However, the community must raise $5,000 to cover any additional expenses. Helper’s main objective with this grant is to leverage this program to develop and communicate to the community the meaning, long-term value and economic benefits of sustainability. The city would also like to take the proposed solutions from the AIA and work to implement them once they have left.

The visit from SDAT concluded on Friday with a meeting open to the community that showed the takeaway from their involvement.

“The turnout by the community for both Wednesday and Friday was amazing and the energy and excitement generated by the AIA visit will yield meaningful short term results for Helper City,” said Lenise Peterman, co-chair of the Helper Revitalization Committee.