Nelsonville: Planning = Revitalization Power

We’re too poor.

We’re too old.

We tried that.

It didn’t work.

We can’t do it.Nelsonville Town Square

Historic cities: often beautiful, often challenged, often held back by their own ghosts.

Few places demonstrated this stew better than Nelsonville.  Poverty, historically poor access, collapsed industries, and more led many old-timers to insist that nothing could be done to make Nelsonville better.  But a new city manager and a small collection of community supporters sensed that this wasn’t the whole story, even if they would have had a hard time telling you why.

For this community, revitalization began with analysis. By demonstrating areas of economic growth, documenting regional demand for the kinds of experiences Nelsonville could provide, and re-evaluating the potential created by a highway bypass that many had assumed would be a threat, Nelsonville’s new leaders found their voice and the arguments that they needed to rally others around the city’s improvement.

The Comprehensive and Economic Plan laid the groundwork for a stunning number of improvements, ranging from community marketing and streetscape improvements to the establishment of one of the first Main Street programs in southeastern Ohio.  Today, Nelsonville still has challenges, but the community takes initiative and finds solutions that the old guard would have found unimaginable..