Working to boost downtown London’s vibrancy

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(Posted Oct. 20, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

What can be done to boost the health and vibrancy of London’s downtown historic district?

The Historic Downtown Revitalization Commission (HDRC) is seeking public input and support. In coordination with Heritage Ohio and the Ohio Main Street program, the commission is hosting a presentation and input meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28 at London City Hall, 20 S. Walnut St. The meeting also will be broadcast online.

The city of London established the HDRC to create a vision and gather resources for fostering a robust downtown historic district. A board was appointed in the spring of 2019. The board then partnered with Heritage Ohio.

“Heritage Ohio’s Main Street program brings a multi-year, multi-faceted approach, providing teaching tools, references, workshops, etc., so that people don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Todd Fisher, HDRC chairperson. “They help you figure out what a successful downtown looks like and what you need to do to get there and continue it.”

The evening meeting on Oct. 28 is one component of Ohio Main Street’s two-day visit to London. The morning of Oct. 28, program representatives will take a self-guided tour to assess the downtown’s strengths and weaknesses from an outside perspective. In the afternoon, they will accompany local stakeholders on a guided tour for an inside perspective. On Oct. 29, program representatives will meet with core stakeholders.

The goal of the two-day visit is to set priorities and foster the consensus needed to take steps to provide solid business management to the downtown. The tours, presentation and meetings are designed to introduce the community to the building blocks of a long-term improvement plan, including operations, marketing, design and economic vitality. At a later date, program representatives will return to London to deliver recommendations and work with the local team on a first-year plan.

HDRC members have been working to recruit stakeholders–individuals from diverse backgrounds who are willing to commit their time, talents and expertise to the revitalization of downtown London.

“The greater the community participation, the greater value this program will have to the community,” the HDRC states in a letter to potential participants.

The HDRC is asking volunteer stakeholders to commit to one year, attend monthly meetings with 80 percent attendance overall, and volunteer six to 10 hours per month, including meetings.

Stakeholders who wish to continue past the first-year commitment will have first option to make application to be on the board of directors. Board members will serve in one-, two- and three-year increments, staggered to avoid full turnover at one time. Expectations of board members are: 80 percent attendance at meetings, six to 10 volunteer hours per month, service on at least one committee outside the board, and a financial contribution to the board at the level each person is capable.

Anyone interested in becoming a stakeholder can contact Todd Fisher at todddavidfisher@hotmail.com or Shannon Treynor at info@treynorlaw.com. In addition to Fisher and Treynor, appointed HDRC members include Amy Boyd, Jackie Call and Wayne Roberts.

Registration is required for the Oct. 28 presentation and public input meeting. You do not need to be an official stakeholder to participate. Those who attend in-person must wear masks. Registration is required whether attending in-person or watching online. Contact Fisher or Treynor to register or for more information.

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