Leaders hope professional redesign of downtown will yield revitalization

Getting some professional help and initially targeting a small portion of downtown Chillicothe, Ohio as a model for future work are being touted by members of the Downtown Development Commission as ways to get the next stage of downtown revitalization moving.

While the rehabilitation of the Carlisle Building has been seen as a catalyst for a rebirth of the downtown area, commission members Wednesday said additional visible evidence will be needed to help keep the momentum for revitalization going.

There has been plenty of discussion regarding general cosmetic improvements, tree removal and replacement, and general maintenance of the downtown, but a grander action plan for bringing significant change that will breathe new life into the area is still lacking.

This really does beg to have an urban planner,” commission member Ed Kunzelman said, noting the existing Streetscape plan is outdated and that revitalization involves things that go beyond cosmetic changes and considering such things as traffic flow, curbs, crosswalks and handling drainage off buildings.

The approach to revitalization to this point has generally tried to look at the downtown as a whole.

A growing consensus among commission members, however, suggests that a better approach to spur action would be to target a specific half-block or block and spend an estimated $10,000 or $15,000 on an urban planner to address that area.

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