I suppose some of you expected photos of Olde West Chester, but this is the Mechanicsburg of Central Ohio.Mechanicsburg group joins preservation program
By Natalie Morales
MECHANICSBURG — Local residents are holding tightly to pieces of the village's past while planning for where it can go in the future.
Our Towne Mechanicsburg, a residents' group organized to focus on downtown revitalization, economic development and historic preservation, has contracted with Preservation Ohio to generate downtown planning and revitalization options for the village.
Preservation Ohio is a statewide historic preservation organization based in Springfield.
Our Towne paid $2,500 to join Preservation Ohio's HometownOhio program, which will provide the village on-site assessments for projects and programs Mechanicsburg could use to enhance its offerings.
"The thing that Preservation Ohio does instead of just being a group that looks at the downtown and helping with downtown, is they're actually a preservation group," said Matthew Smith, Our Towne chairman. "They are concerned with preservation of the village and the history and the buildings and a lot more."
For the next few months, village residents and business owners can work with Preservation Ohio to learn skills, such as how to apply for tax credits to help fund building improvements, Smith said.
The village has 22 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Smith said.
"A lot of them have been neglected quite a bit," he said. "Our focus is buildings downtown and figuring out what we can do to renovate and revitalize them."
Thomas Palmer, Preservation Ohio's executive director, said a community's downtown is the foremost indicator of growth and economic health.
"The problems of businesses leaving Mechanicsburg has been a problem for decades and decades," Smith said.
Municipalities willing to renovate downtown properties are more likely to find themselves in a period of economic growth within 10 to 15 years, Palmer said.
Preservation Ohio will not make the changes for Mechanicsburg, but will provide village residents and businesses the tools to advance the way they want.http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/hp/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/01/30/sns013108ourtown.html