A group of citizens, business owners, and government officials have come together to form a Main Street team in order to establish Circleville as a vibrant destination in which to shop, live, play, and invest through beautification, preservation, and promotion. The group has chosen the name “Uptown Circleville” as affiliates of the Main Street Program. Once we meet the full requirements needed to be a full Main Street Community then we will be called “Main Street Circleville”. We are working on forming a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
The Ohio Main Street Program, administered by Heritage Ohio, works with communities across the state to revitalize their historic or traditional commercial areas. Based in historic preservation, the Main Street approach was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to save historic commercial architecture and the fabric of American communities’ built environment, but has become a powerful economic development tool as well. — Heritage Ohio Website
Heritage Ohio, the program’s state-wide coordinator, is part of the national Main Street America Program administered by the National Main Street Center. Uptown Circleville will coordinate citizens, businesses, and governments to work together to realize a Main Street revitalization that drives pride throughout the whole community, preserves they city’s history, and provides economic development for the City and the entire County.
The effort is being driven by volunteers and includes members from City, County and State Government, local business owners and representatives, Berger Health System, Ohio Christian University, and residents of the area that hold the uptown area in high regard.
Tim Wilson, Executive Director at the Pickaway County Visitors Bureau, said “Circleville is central Ohio’s best kept secret. The city has a classic small town feel, great potential for growth, and is historically significant. It’s worth preserving.”
“It’s important when applying for grants and other funding that a community is united around a common vision, and we often see that happen under Main Street initiatives,” added Kathleen Young from Governor Kasich’s office.
Tom Spring, a local attorney and city council member, serves as the president of the organization’s board. He said, “Although the group is still in it’s forming phase, we’re already seeing some early signs of progress and excitement.”
Tony Jankiewicz and Richard Rhoades are working to bring more restaurants and entertainment to the uptown area through what’s called a Revitalization District. Jankiewicz said, “We will be working with the city and the state liquor control board to bring as many as 15 new special class liquor licenses to our entertainment district. This gives existing and new restaurants the ability to include alcohol with their menu. We saw Chillicothe make this change, and as a result, their historic areas are making a strong comeback.” Rhoades added, “It’s my mission to see a micro-brew on Main Street. It’s going to happen.”
Brenna Gibson, who leads up the Design Committee of Uptown Circleville, has also been busy on a beautification project. She said, “We’re going to add beautiful flower containers to Uptown Circleville. It won’t cost the city or citizens a dime. Local businesses have agreed to pay for this improvement project, which I think will be the first of many.”
The program consists of four points which work to create a total image for the community. The points are: Organization (consensus and cooperation), Design (improving the physical appearance), Promotions, and Economic Development. Volunteer committees have been formed around each point and are being lead by someone with proven success in that area.
“You have to bring people together to make things happen, not only the private sector, and the private reinvestment, but also with the municipality, and the local governments… That partnership is absolutely incredible,” said Sandara Hull, the Executive Director of Mainstreet Wooster.
Mayor Don McIlroy concluded, “The Main Street concept will require downtown merchants and general public involvement. We need everyone to get excited and involved for success of these fresh ideas and insights. This is a volunteer driven effort, and if you have a dream about a vibrant uptown, this is your best opportunity to make that happen.”