AWF expands, becomes anchor point


Appalachian Wood Floors (AWF) of Portsmouth recently announced an expansion of their facility. The expansion corresponds with the Americas Best Communities (ABC) Community Revitalization Plan.

AWF was recently awarded a JobsOhio Revitalization grant to rehabilitate the former Schaefer Super Market’s building on 8th Street in Portsmouth.

AWF announced its intention to return the building to its former status as a shipping and distribution facility. The project will be the “anchor tenant” of the community’s riverfront revitalization plan and create 20 jobs.

On Monday, a delegation from the area will travel to Durham, North Carolina to present the communities revitalization plan before a panel of judges at the America’s Best Communities Summit.

At the summit, the delegation will appear before a panel of judges on why Portsmouth should be named America’s Best Community.

Those representing the area include, Jason Kester, executive director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority Joseph Pratt, executive director of Main Street Portsmouth; Barry Witherspoon, Principal, New Urban Concepts; and Kirk Donges, vice president, Tanner Stone Holsinger & Donges (TSHD) Architects,

According to released information about the summit, 15 communities from around the United States will pitch revitalization plans “Shark Tank-style” to convince a panel of judges that they should advance into the finals of the America’s Best Communities (ABC) competition, a $10 million campaign to revitalize small towns across rural America.”

When the competition started there were hundreds of communities participating, that list was narrowed to 50 and now 15.

As a part of the contest, participating communities developed community revitalization plan, detailing what could be done to enhance the community with the prize money.

Portsmouth’s Revitalization Plan has a lot to do with improving and enhancing the river front.

In commenting on the AWF commitment Southern Ohio Port Authority Asset Manager Adam Phillips said, “We are thrilled that Appalachian Wood Floors chose to invest in our riverfront strategy. Their project will be the catalyst for transforming the former Dayton-Walther site into the Portsmouth Gateway Industrial Park.”

As a part of the plan three videos were creating highlighting the area and what could be done with the prize money if awarded.

In describing the videos Kester said, the first video is an introductory overview of the back story on how the community developed the community revitalization plan. Featured in the video are Robert Dafford muralist and Dr. John Lorentz, who helped produce a documentary on the floodwall murals called, Beyond these walls.

The second video points out some of the ongoing efforts to make the community great and the third video is a music video.

Local musician Shane Runyon, wrote a song, expressing the importance of community pride. Parts of this video were filmed in various locations throughout the historic districts of Portsmouth.

At the end of the summit, eight of the 15 communities will be named finalists and awarded $100,000 to bring their revitalization plans to life. They will have one year to implement their strategies, and the top three communities that make the largest impact and show the greatest potential for achieving sustainable revitalization will be selected as the grand prize winners. The top community will receive $3 million, with second place earning $2 million and $1 million for third.

Other communities in the competition from the region include, Huntington and Charleston, West Virginia.

On Monday, before departure, the city of Huntington and the city of Portsmouth representatives attending the summit will hold a celebratory sendoff at the Huntington Airport.

For more information about the local working being done to advance the community in the competition visit them on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

For more information about the competition visit

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Members of the Southern Ohio Port Authority Board of Directors and others promoting the community in the America’s Best Communities Competition. of the Southern Ohio Port Authority Board of Directors and others promoting the community in the America’s Best Communities Competition.
Delegation heads to ABC Summit

By Wayne Allen

[email protected]

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