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“The Potential

Ravenna is a special place, a town whose history is richer and deeper than is often recognized. Among the first towns laid out in conjunction with the great national survey in 1808 (Schafer and Bruegmann) the city’s Main Street feels like a lot of Mid-West downtowns. But architectural landmarks like the Riddle Block #9 and I.O.O.F Buildings demonstrate past investment and ambitions. This project leverages landscape, the public open and green space, as a means of unifying and transforming the character of Ravenna.

The Idea

David Dix, former publisher of the Record-Courier, has authored numerous articles about the history, state, and potential of Ravenna as a community and recently as a place, the county seat, that might better reflect our civic pride and sense of duty to each other. Those articles helped spark the idea of developing a district plan that would illustrate the combined potentials of public open space, civic and historic landmarks, bike trails and wayfinding to preserve and transform Downtown Ravenna.

The District

The Downtown District is anchored by sites and properties owned and managed by the City of Ravenna and Portage County. The sites include parking areas, vacant lands, and public rights-of-way. The limits of the study area extend along Main Street from Sycamore St. (West) to Linden St. (East) and between Highland Ave. and Hazen Ave. to the North and South respectively.

The Process

Through the summer and into the early fall of 2020 the project team will be working to engaged with stakeholder groups, residents and visitors through a range of efforts that due to the COVID 19 pandemic will focus heavily on social media. The group will have in-town displays starting in mid-June and monthly workshops in late July and August that will allow those interested to work directly with the project team to share and develop ideas.

The Stakeholders

Made possible by private donations, the Ravenna Downtown District Plan is led by Main Street Ravenna’s Design Committee. Chaired by Todd Peetz, the committee is including a wide-range of Portage County and Ravenna City stakeholder groups while engaging with residents and visitors throughout the project. By being open and inclusive throughout the process the Downtown District Plan has the potential to create a shared pride in, ambition for, and vision of Ravenna.

The Outcomes

The Downtown District Plan aims to bring unity to various on-going projects focused on visitor wayfinding, historic preservation and community programming. Additionally, the project will illustrate various approaches to and benefits of landscape to improve the aesthetics and sustainability of open spaces including parking lots, pocket parks and neighborhood streets.”

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