Welcome to another match up in our Sweet 16 Round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to read the answers that representatives from these two towns provided to questions about transportation, incremental growth, adapting to challenges, and more. Please scroll down to the bottom to vote.


Killeen, TX

Entry submitted by: Ramon Alvarez, Tanida Mullen, and Joan Scribner

Give an example of an incremental project that has happened in your town.

Downtown revitalization.

Describe your town's transportation system and what transportation options are available for residents.

Auto, bike lanes, hike and bike trails, public transit (HOP).

Describe how residents of your town are actively involved in local decision making.

There are numerous stakeholder groups, civic organizations and YP members that help to reach out to the depths of our transient and diverse community.

Tell us a story about how your town adapted to a challenge in some way.

Recently the Mayor, after listening to his constituents, made it his mission to revitalize a main arterial within our Downtown, Rancier Ave. This will not only help to spur redevelopment but will help bring back a sense of place to an otherwise forgotten part of our community.

Is your town financially strong and resilient for future generations? How do you know?

Yes. There's always room for improvement however our current City Council has made it their mission to run the City efficiently and effectively as possible with a lean budget while looking for new funding sources such as Impact Fees.

Does you town have a central "downtown" or district? If so, please describe this place.

Yes. The Downtown Historic District which is one of the few Downtown's with some great post-war and art Deco buildings.

What is your favorite thing about your town?

The diversity. Growing up there I've been exposed to various rich cultures from a young age.


Courtesy of Downtown Lafayette (Photo by Denny Culbert)

Courtesy of Downtown Lafayette (Photo by Denny Culbert)

Lafayette, LA

Entry submitted by: Carlee Alm-LaBar

Give an example of an incremental project that has happened in your town.

We have recently done a road diet on a major arterial in our community which has allowed increased neighborhood access to our downtown, created a new public plaza, and added more than 100 more parking spaces to the area. This restripe is the first project to begin redevelopment along this corridor and in a few short months has helped underscore the importance of incremental change for our community.

Describe your town's transportation system and what transportation options are available for residents.

Our transportation system is very similar to that of a southern, suburban city. We are auto-dominant and dependent with a transit system and some bicycle and pedestrian activity. Our local University (a major employer and population center) has a bikeshare system. The community has room for growth in diversifying our transportation options.

Describe how residents of your town are actively involved in local decision making.

In 2014, we had a very active comprehensive planning process which resulting in a plan that is actively being monitored, implemented, and updated. We have continued to engage the community in various planning efforts across the community as well as update and engage the community on the success of the current adopted plan.

Following the oil bust in the 1980s, local leaders understood that while the roots of our community are in oil and gas, deliberately diversifying our economy was important.

Tell us a story about how your town adapted to a challenge in some way.

Lafayette has a strong community pride, and the community is currently undergoing an economic downturn because of the decline in oil prices over the last couple of years. However, the economic downturn is a lot less severe than the ones caused by previous declines in oil prices, and it reflects our community's commitment to diversifying our economy. Following the oil bust in the 1980s, local leaders understood that while the roots of our community are in oil and gas, deliberately diversifying our economy was important. Health care, education, IT, and culture have all become major economic drivers since the last oil bust, and their combined growth has softened the current economic downturn in a way that demonstrates our community's willingness and ability to adapt over time.

Is your town financially strong and resilient for future generations? How do you know?

We aren't perfect, as the recent Strong Towns article noted. However, as Chuck has said, Lafayette's willingness to look at itself in the mirror and ask tough questions about financial sustainability is an important step in understanding how to create a more resilient community. In addition, as a result of the floods in 2016, we are continuing being forced to ensure that our rebuilding efforts are resilient, and we have had several opportunities to interact with national resiliency experts in our recovery planning. Part of the need for Strong Towns' work is how far all of our communities have to go.

Does you town have a central "downtown" or district? If so, please describe this place.

Our downtown is the center of our city, our parish, and our region. It is home to many of our cultural assets, including the center of many of our community's cultural activities. It is not a large downtown-- and most activities revolve around Jefferson Street, a road that serves as the spine of the community. The city does not have a large stock of historic buildings, but the downtown is sprinkled with civic, historical, and cultural assets that make it a community magnet.

What is your favorite thing about your town?

The culture is often palpable, and it infuses every part of our community's lifestyle. You will notice it at obvious places like restaurants and festivals, but if you pay attention, it is a part of family gatherings, shopping experiences, language choices, and much more.


Voting is now closed.