For the last several months and years a team from Portsmouth has been preparing for the America’s Best Communities Summit, held Monday – Wednesday in Durham, North Carolina. A delegation from the area attended the summit with the hopes of being one of eight communities moving on in the competition.
The summit judges however, decided the community would not be one of the eight to move on.
“The key thing they taught us in the army is that, leadership doesn’t really show itself when you win and everything is going easy. Leadership shows up when the chips are down and the bullets are flying and bad things are happening. That’s really the key,” said Jason Kester, Executive Director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority.
Kester along with Joseph Pratt, Executive Director of Main Street Portsmouth; Barry Witherspoon, Principal, New Urban Concepts; and Kirk Donges, V.P., Tanner Stone Holsinger & Donges (TSHD) Architects represented the community at the summit,
When the competition was first announced hundreds of communities were involved. The communities were narrowed to 50 and then again narrowed to 15.
As a part of the competition, each community developed a community revitalization plan, filled with projects and ideas aimed at jump-starting the local economy, and enhance quality of life.
The Portsmouth plan provides an innovative approach to revitalize the Portsmouth community by utilizing its most valuable asset, the Ohio River.
Kester said all is not lost with the plan.
“We’ve got a couple of improvements to the community we’ve been working on and will likely roll out within the next 60-90 days. We’re not going to let not getting Frontier’s $100,000 stop all of the good stuff we’re doing,” Kester said.
Kester said Portsmouth did receive $25,000 that will be put to use, implementing the developed plan.
“We’re going to focus on improving the access points, Court Street Landing and Alexandra Point area,” Kester said.
He said there could be a possibility of combining the $25,000 with some other money to implement part of the plan.
Kester also said it’s important to remember the river front plan is one of three plans in development. He said there are also plans from Lucasville-Minford Road to Wheelersburg in correlation with construction of the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway. He said there is also a plan for the Haverhill to Lawrence County Plan.
“Unfortunately, we did not advance… But the work does not stop today. There’s so much more to do,” Kester said.
He then quoted Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT