Friends of Portsmouth promise major announcements at city pep rally

Event set for 5:30 p.m. today

By Tom Corrigan -

The following is just a friendly reminder from your friends at the Friends of Portsmouth.

The high-profile community group urges anyone with an interest in the future of Portsmouth to show up 5:30 p.m. today (Thursday) at the Court Street amphitheater for what’s being billed as a Portsmouth rally and press conference.

“We don’t think anybody’s going to be leaving disappointed,” local attorney and one of the founders and leaders of Friends of Portsmouth Jeremy Burnside recently told the Daily Times.

While the Friends group is playing things very close to the vest and for the most part keeping quiet, Burnside promised a couple of major announcements.

At a meeting Wednesday morning of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, Maddie Burnside, who is also connected with the Friends of Portsmouth, said she expected the rally to last between 45 minutes to an hour. Should the weather prove uncooperative, she stated the Friends had made arrangements to move the rally to inside the Riffe Center at Shawnee State University. She stated if the event is moved, someone will be stationed at the amphitheater to point folks in the direction of SSU.

To date, the holiday themed Winterfest held in December has been the Friends of Portsmouth’s signature event, running through the Christmas season and bringing lots of decorations to include a huge Christmas tree, a temporary skating rink and other festive trimmings – not to mention thousands of visitors – to Market Square and Second Street.

The event also featured a successful breaking of the world’s record for the most persons simultaneously Christmas caroling.

The Friends initially earned notoriety for helping organize last summer’s Boneyfiddle and downtown Portsmouth cleanup effort known as plant Portsmouth. During the event, volunteers helped set Portsmouth’s first world record for the greatest number of people potting plants simultaneously.

In addition to any developments or events announced Thursday evening, the Friends of Portsmouth still are working to place up decorative arches over second Street in Boneyfiddle. Local real estate agent Nick Rutman acts as primary spokesman for the Friends. Last month, Rutman told the Daily Times though he could make no promises, the first arch may well be in place by Memorial Day.

During a February Portsmouth City Council session, Friends member and Portsmouth Ward 1 City Councilman Sean Dunne mentioned there would be up to 10 arches on Second running through Boneyfiddle from Washington Street. Local entrepreneur and another leader of the friends of Portsmouth Tim Wolfe first announced the idea for the arches just over a year ago in April 2018. A at a community event last month, Wolfe talked very briefly about turning plans for the arches over for review to the Ohio Department of Transportation which needs to sign off on the plans.

Rutman previously has said the arches will be constructed by a Portsmouth owned company. He did not want to discuss any possible price tag for the arches, though a figure of about $75,000 each was mentioned in the past.

Event set for 5:30 p.m. today

By Tom Corrigan

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.