‘Imagine Pomeroy’ project moving forward

Charlene Hoeflich

November 2, 2013

POMEROY — “We’re moving forward.”

That was the response from two business people when asked last week about the “Imagine Pomeroy” project being carried out in collaboration with the Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

Village officials, business operators and others interested in the general overall improvement of the village, its appearance, businesses and programming have been working with the Voinovich School for the past six months on developing a road map for local growth. According to Pomeroy Mayor Jackie Welker, the Halloween event, Street Treat, which attracted hundreds of children and their parents into the downtown area was a part of the Image Pomeroy project.

The Voinovich School has assisted Pomeroy in developing a long-term strategic plan, including a community profile and survey, the creation of committees and the branding of “Imagine Pomeroy.”

Welker announced the next meeting for Nov. 13 at 6:15 p.m. on the Court Street Grill upstairs meeting room. Currently meetings are being held the second Wednesday of every month. Participation of the public is encouraged. “Our emphasis is strictly on the betterment of Pomeroy, its downtown business area, along with improvement in the residential areas, tourism and riverfront development.”

He noted that the organization “Imagine Pomeroy” is incorporated as a non-profit which puts it into a better place for revitalization funding. He added that the village is now working with the Meigs County Health Department to secure playground equipment for the parks.

Bob Gordon, representing the Voinovich School as lead facilitator of the community initiative, described Pomeroy as a village “full of driven and enthusiastic community members.” He said that the community members share news and ideas on a bulletin board on Facebook which has followers from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The local group involved in Imagine Pomeroy has a photo essay and T-shirt campaign which is geared to changing the image of Pomeroy and the attitude of its residents. The shirts are currently for sale at Front Paige Outfitters located on Main Street, owned by Paige Cleek, who enthusiastically participates in the local organization. Her hope for “Imagine Pomeroy” is that the local organization will be able to capture and renew Pomeroy’s heritage along with increasing riverfront and marketing opportunities.

Robin Stewart, Voinovich School team member, said that the community organization’s desire is to transform Pomeroy into a vibrant place in which to live, work and visit. She added that the enthusiasm of the community for change makes the project unlike any other in which the Voinovich School is now participating in.

“This type of interaction where the community actively participates on a widespread local level is a key tool for success and something the Voinovich School actively encourages,” Stewart said.

“The Voinovich School takes pride in working with community members on the implementation of individualized projects and providing each community with clear tools for success. The Voinovich School has provided valuable resources to help the project become a working, volunteer-driven initiative through assistance of a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration,” she concluded

The Voinovich School is comprised of faculty, professional staff, and students working in three programmatic areas: Energy and the Environment, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, and Policy Innovation and Strategic Leadership.

As for how the Voinovich program works, it was reported that each of the programmatic areas includes an academic and an applied component, both complementing each other. This allows faculty, staff and students to work in project teams comprised of members from more than one programmatic area. The interdisciplinary nature broadens the ability to provide students with unique real-world learning experiences, exposing them to multiple disciplines and cross collaboration. It also strengthens the ability to create solutions for problems facing the region.