Project updates

Sheffield, Iowa

UPDATE #5: Draft Plan Concepts | October - December 2021

  • The Atlas/McClure team developed draft concepts and renderings on housing and theater plans and presented them to the Steering Committee Core Group for approval. 
  • Developed a high level community assessment report based on qualitative and quantitative inputs for local leaders and steering committee members to review key trends and challenges, future vision, and strategic opportunity areas.

UPDATE #4: First Site Visit | July - September 2021

  • An online community survey was released in July 2021 and is set to close in September 2021. 
  • In July 2021, the Atlas/McClure team visited Sheffield for the first time to tour the community,  attend meetings with key stakeholders, facilitate focus groups, and meet with the Steering Committee Core Group.
    • During the visit, the Atlas/McClure team facilitated two focus groups with an emphasis on topics such as housing, childcare, economic development, workforce development, cultural amenities, and downtown revitalization.
      • Focus Group 1: Sukup Employees 
      • Focus Group 2: Builders and Developers
  • The online community survey closed on September 22, 2021 and received 151 total responses.
  • In September 2021 a photographer was sent for a site visit to interview key stakeholders and capture some images highlighting community assets to visually narrate challenges identified and strategic opportunities. 

UPDATE #3: Visioning | April - June 2021

  • Developed Community snapshot including background information on local history, demographics, review of existing plans, studies, and/or any other relevant materials. 
  • The Atlas/McClure team convened the steering committee for its first official meeting in April 2021 to provide an overview of the RPIC initiative and the scope of work for the placemaking process before facilitating a visioning session to solicit input about the region’s assets, challenges, and opportunities related to housing and economic development.
  • An online housing survey was released in June 2021 for residents who are involved with or have expressed interest in local housing efforts. 

UPDATE #2: Steering Committee | January - March 2021

  • A website for the Midwest Placemaking Innovation Accelerator (MPIA) was created and launched at This website is for reference of important project information and promotion of public meetings, online surveys, updates, etc. and sharing with local networks to build awareness around the USDA Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge
  • Sheffield Betterment Foundation assembled a project steering committee comprised of 22 individuals with backgrounds ranging from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

UPDATE #1: Project Kickoff | October - December 2020

  • In October 2020 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) launched the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) to provide technical assistance and planning support to foster placemaking and spur economic development in rural communities. USDA RD selected five technical assistance providers from across the country to assist identified communities with preserving cultural and historic structures, enhancing capacity for broadband access, and supporting the development of transportation, housing and recreational spaces, among other things.
  • In collaboration with USDA RD, Atlas Community Studios and McClure partnered to launch the Midwest Placemaking Innovation Accelerator to develop placemaking action plans and provide implementation technical assistance to three rural communities, including: Sheffield, IowaAllen County, Kansas, and Atchison, Kansas
  • The overall goals of the placemaking process are economic and social development, increased population and tourism, and improvement to quality of life standards. 
  • Sheffield’s placemaking action plan focuses on three key priorities: Housing, Economic Development (Daycare), and Key Building Revitalization (“The Grand Theater”).