Community Planning Assistance Teams

Hiram College and Village Master Plan —
Hiram Village, Ohio

Project Background

Established in 1894, Hiram Village is a small rural community in northeastern Ohio's Portage County. It is located roughly 40 miles from Akron and 40 miles from Cleveland.

Hiram College location on Ohio mapOver the past decade, Hiram Village has seen changes. Its population, according to 2000 and 2010 census data, has increased from 1,242 to 1,406 — a sizable 13.2 percent increase for a community that fits within a single square mile. Additionally, this trend shows no sign of slowing down.

Inextricably linked to Hiram Village is Hiram College. Founded in 1850, the college occupies roughly a fourth of the village's one square mile. It has also seen significant changes in recent years. Since 2004, Hiram's enrollment has increased from 750 to 1,100 students — an increase of almost 50 percent that also shows no sign of slowing.

Hiram College and Hiram Village have a close working relationship. College administrators and faculty members often serve in the Hiram Village municipal government. The village and the college are inextricably linked to each other's success. Acknowledging this, leaders promote a culture of cooperation and collaboration. Hiram Village and Hiram College acknowledge the inevitable growth they both face.

Building off the work of the Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT), the village and college will create a joint master plan that guides strategic growth and land usage for the next 20 to 50 years.


Preliminary Visit

February 27-28, 2013

Hiram CPAT Team Leader, Bruce Knight, FAICP, and APA project manager, Thomas Bassett conducted a preliminary visit to Hiram, Ohio. Located in the triangle between Cleveland, Akron, and Youngstown, Hiram sits in the rural northern part of Portage County. They toured the township, village and college to understand the physical interplay between the two levels of government and educational institution. Meeting with key stakeholders, such as regional planners, the college president, village mayor and council, and township trustees, they were narrowing the focus of the CPAT to pinpoint the needed expertise to fill out the rest of the team for the full team visit. The full team's return is still not chosen as they found out the college is coming out with a masterplan in May 2013. Since the team will want to engage with the students, school should be in session when they return. Because of summer, the team is looking to return to Hiram in September in order to have the masterplan released to inform the CPAT as well as have a chance to hear from students.

Meet the Team

Bruce Knight, FAICP, will lead the CPAT in Hiram Village, Ohio.

Bruce Knight, FAICPBruce Knight, FAICP,
Team Leader

Bruce Knight has served as Planning Director of Champaign, Illinois for 25 years and as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Illinois in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning for 10 years. He previously worked in Liberty, Missouri, and Iowa City, Iowa, and at the Mid-Iowa Development Association Council of Governments in Fort Dodge Iowa. Knight joined APA in 1980 and became a certified planner in 1985. He was elected to the AICP College of Fellows in 2003. Knight served a term as APA President-Elect, President and Immediate Past President from 2008-12. He served two terms on the APA Board of Directors from 2000-2008 and two terms as APA Illinois Chapter President from 1997 to 1999. Knight served on the Fellows of AICP Task Force and selection committee, chaired the Great Places in America Task Force, chaired the Membership Committee of APA, chaired the APA awards program for 5 years, co-chaired the Host Committees of the 2002 and 2013 National Planning Conferences in Chicago and served on the APA Mission Statement Task Force. Knight has a B.S. in Urban Planning from Iowa State University and an M.A. in Public Affairs from the University of Iowa.

April Atkins, AICPApril Atkins, AICP

April Atkins, AICP, is a community affairs specialist with a federal financial institutions regulator. Previously, she was a part-time lecturer at Georgia Institute of Technology in the building construction program, where she developed and taught graduate level courses that focused on residential development trends and policies, and the process of financing different types of residential developments. She has also served in various urban planning, community development, and government and community affairs roles with the Office of the CEO of DeKalb County, Georgia; the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners; the Urban Land Institute's Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing; the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association; and the City of Marietta's Planning Department in Georgia.