“We want to start with small projects and get something done so that people can see that with group effort and not a lot of money, we can do things that make the community better,” says John Shilling, co-chair of a new revitalization committee with fellow Mount Sterling resident Eddie Mason.
The committee invites the public to attend a meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Mount Sterling Community Center, 164 E. Main St. The purpose is to collect ideas for projects that will enhance the village and to create subcommittees to see those projects through.
The revitalization committee was formed at the suggestion of Sean Hughes, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, who brought the idea to Mount Sterling Mayor Charlie Neff.
“We got it rolling and then turned it over to the community. It will be run by residents rather than the government,” Neff said.
“We’re trying to improve the village, dress it up a little bit. The idea is to start with beautification then go into bigger and better things from there.”
One possibility is to spruce up the signage welcoming motorists into the village.
“We want to start developing pride in our hometown,” Shilling said. “We’re trying to light a fire to get the average person to improve their own properties, so that we’re all moving forward together.”
The committee also wants to find ways to help small businesses get started and compete with the big chains.
On a bigger scale, Shilling would like to see a new housing development in Mount Sterling that offers a mix of residential options and more commercial development, which would bring in more tax dollars to the schools and jobs to the residents. The whole package could keep young people from moving out of Mount Sterling upon graduation, he said.
A truck bypass and a regional campus for a central Ohio college are two more big ideas Shilling is throwing in the ring for consideration and comments.
He stresses that the revitalization committee is open to any and all ideas—big, small or otherwise. Complaints, too, can be a catalyst for change, he said.
“There’s so much that can be done. We just need a starting point. We have to build on small successes so that one day we will have big success,” he said. “We hope to get people excited about improving Mount Sterling.”