The City of Bellefontaine and the Petite Nation recognized for the revitalization of the city center
More than 800 of Central Ohio’s top political, business and civic leaders gathered at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s (MORPC) annual State of the Area event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
It was the region’s first in-person state since 2019. The event brought together many leaders, collaborators and friends for the first time in two years. The event, held earlier in the day, highlighted major community achievements and celebrated leaders in the region. He focused on creating a way forward for the future.
MORPC is the Central Ohio regional council for more than 70 members from a 15-county region. Bellefontaine and Logan County are two such member communities. MORPC is proud to bring together communities of all sizes and interests to collaborate on best practices and plan for the future of our growing region.
This year’s theme, From Possibility to Reality, presented MORPC’s vision for the future of the region, highlighted the endless possibilities that could be and the exciting realities that are fast approaching.
The William C. Habig Collaborative Achievement Award recognizes individuals or organizations who have achieved an effective effort or an innovative collaborative project in central Ohio. This year’s award was presented today to the Town of Bellefontaine and Small Nation in recognition of their downtown redevelopment efforts.
Across the country, many small towns with once thriving economies have declined. Small Nation believes passionately in the ability of a community to revitalize its downtown. Through concerted efforts to nurture and support entrepreneurs, rehabilitate old commercial buildings, and incorporate the expansion of unique housing/workspace hubs, Small Nation Founder and CEO Jason Duff has inspired small towns to to reinvent oneself.
The most notable of their achievements is the restoration of the City of Bellefontaine. This public-private partnership between Small Nation and the City of Bellefontaine has led to the repurposing of derelict spaces to attract the creative class of innovative entrepreneurs, and a wide range of unique support services to help these start-ups thrive. .
The city welcomed private investment and augmented these efforts by expanding designated outdoor eating areas in public spaces, adding benches and picnic areas, and improving the pedestrian experience. These efforts have demonstrated that small towns can reinvent themselves through their collective efforts to help each other prosper.
“It’s very gratifying to be recognized at this level. We celebrate the investment that so many of our entrepreneurs have made in our community. We are always happy to share our story with other communities as well,” said Bellefontaine Mayor Ben Stahler.
Mayor Stahler added additional comments:
“This recognition is an honor. It celebrates the creativity, hard work and partnerships cemented in downtown Bellefontaine. Small towns across Ohio admire Bellefontaine’s unique businesses, collaborations and accomplishments. We set out to be the cutest downtown in Ohio. We are on track to achieve this goal,” said Jason Duff.
“Logan County is proud of the entrepreneurial spirit shown by so many young men and women. Our county’s services are further enhanced by the sales tax revenue generated by these businesses,” said Logan County Commissioner Joe Antram.