Middletown Downtown Strategic Plan offers suggestions for growth

  • Mike Rutledge
  • Staff Writer
2:00 p.m Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 Middletown

The newly released draft of Middletown’s “Downtown Strategic Plan” contains many suggestions for how the city can upgrade its core area.

Most of the ideas put forward in the plan by Columbus-based OHM Advisors are general ideas that can prompt further refinement in the future, including possible locations for commercial and residential development along the Great Miami River and creating a dog park on vacant land downtown.

City Council, which received the report and a presentation last week, has been encouraged to carefully read the 92-page document, and ultimately consider adopting all or part of it as a working guide for city government moving forward, including, City Manager Doug Adkins said, in the 2018 budget.

The overall vision statement OHM Advisors developed for the downtown was this: “Downtown Middletown: The place where our past, present, and future come together to represent the best of who we are and the best of what we can do.”

Among the many suggestions are:

Justin Robbins, of OHM, said the plan is the result of meeting with Middletown resident and others “to really find out what they wanted to see happen in the downtown.”

“The result is something that hopefully is a document that everybody can take part in and be involved in,” Robbins said. The private, public and non-profit sectors all can help make the ideas happen, he said, because “there’s no one entity that can do what needs to be done in a historic downtown such as Middletown.”

“You guys have a fantastic downtown here … and I can see a lot of good things happening within this district,” Robbins added.

Some parts of the plan can be implemented immediately, such as city government “drawing a line in the sand that says that we’re going to make sure the historic-district buildings are protected, and that people are aware of that, code enforcement’s aware of that, planners are aware of that.”

Other aspects will take longer, he added.

Downtown Middletown Inc. about a year and a half ago realized a vision was needed, said its executive director, Mallory Greenham. The city provided half of the plan’s approximately $40,000 costs, with DMI soliciting the rest, she said.

“It is important to note that the concepts don’t have to be adopted as designed, but are intended to spur conversation around what is realistic and appropriate for different sites,” the plan states.

According to the plan, nearly 19,000 people within 7,617 households live within a five-minute drive from the intersection of Verity and Central avenues. The median age of those people is 35.1 years old, with a median household income of $28,821, and an unemployment rate of 13.2 percent. Within that same area there are 650 businesses with 6,179 employees.

Among other observations the plan offered were:

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Here are 14 Plan Principles offered by Middletown’s Downtown Strategic Plan:

Under the category of “Live Well”…

Under the category of “Move Safely”…

In the “Attract Strategically” category …

Under the “Grow Smart” cagetory …

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