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Regional County Planner


Jessie Powers
Phone: 740-517-4543
Email: jpowers@athensoh.org
280 West Union Street, Suite B, Athens, OH 45701



Athens County Community Improvement Challenge 2018 (Click here for Application)

What is the Community Improvement Challenge?

This is a yearlong annual program (August 2018- August 2019), which will utilize Athens County Commissioners’ staff and area stakeholders (agencies and individuals working in community development, health, etc.) to assist citizens and communities with improvement efforts. This program intends to increase collaboration within communities county-wide and provide an open line of communication to discuss resources to address community needs.

Why Participate?

Each Community Team will receive $500 from the Athens County Commissioners for implementation of a community improvement project.

Teams will also receive $1,000 to use for a community event (new or improvement of existing event) from the Athens County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Events must be organized and documentation provided prior to funding award to confirm eligibility.

The Athens City County Health Department also has additional funding, which could be used for a qualifying health related community project.

Many communities and multiple civic groups work to implement goals outlined in the Athens County Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and the Athens County Planning Department would like to assist in these worthwhile efforts when possible.

Which communities can participate?

The Athens County Community Improvement Challenge 2018 is specifically geared towards the smaller, more rural communities in the county, but any community may participate. The first 7 communities to submit a completed application to the Athens County Planner will be accepted as Athens County Community Improvement Challenge 2018 participants. Completed applications can be mailed, hand delivered to 280 West Union Street, Suite B, Athens, OH or submitted electronically to jpowers@athensoh.org.

Athens County’s Cities of Athens and Nelsonville and 8 incorporated villages: AlbanyAmesvilleBuchtel,
 ChaunceyCoolvilleGlousterJacksonville, and Trimble are eligible to participate. The mayor and council members would be eligible elected officials.

Athens County has 5 census designated areas: Hockingport, Millfield, New Marshfield, Stewart, and The Plains. These areas would require the support of township trustees to participate as the elected official.

Athens County has 31 unincorporated communities:BeaumontBeebeBessemerBig RunBurr OakCanaanvilleCarbondaleDoanvilleFrostGardenGlen EbonGuysvilleHamley RunHartleyvilleHebbardsvilleImperialKilvertLottridgeLuhrigMineralModocNew EnglandNew FloodwoodPleasantonPratts ForkRedtownShadeSharpsburgTorch, Utley, and Augustine/ Sugar Creek. These areas would require the township trustees to participate.

Community Challenge Goals

1.       Promote civic engagment and community improvement!  Work together with members of your community to make it healthier, happier and more prosperous. Spur innovation, creativity, problem solving, resourcefulness, social participation, community pride, excitement, and hope.

2.       Learn about community improvement resources available. A list of resources will be shared to promote communities, build capacity, and support networks.

3.      Assemble a diverse team representing your community to communicate with Athens County Planner while participating and leading self-identified community improvement efforts.

Community Challenge Overview:

1.     Assemble a team:

In order to participate each community will assemble a steering team of at least 7 community members. 2018 Teams will be responsible for creating and posting meeting minutes to google drive. A leader or 2 should be identified for each group this leader will serve as the primary point of contact with county staff and the community team.

Each community’s steering team of at least 7 community members must include each of the following: 
a.     an elected official

b.     a young adult (ages 11 to 17)
c.     an employed professional
d.     a retired person or senior citizen
e.     a person representing a local civic organization, if there are multiple active civic organizations in your community please invite all to participate. Our 2017 experience revealed multiple groups working on similar efforts in the same community rarely collaborate, but there is ample opportunity for collaboration to increase impact of volunteer efforts.
f.      a person affiliated with a school (employee, teacher, PTO Member, etc)
g.     an artist

Once the team has identified members, it will complete and submit the Athens County Community Challenge Application Form, which identifies 3 dates the community is available to meet with the County staff for a Learning Exchange Meeting

2.     Schedule Learning Exchange Meeting:

The team will schedule a learning exchange meeting with Athens County staff potentially accompanied by representatives of local stakeholder organizations to discuss desired improvements, needs, and 2018 program participation. Team members will also learn about and choose which of the following Community Challenge Workshops/ initiatives they would like to purse in addition to a creative placemaking workshop, if any.  Learning Exchange meetings will consist of discussion of the following topics:
     Creative Placemaking
     Community Engagement and Health Systems
     Asset Mapping, Tourism, and Event Planning
     Active Transportation and Bike Friendly Communities
     Website Development

Once the team has identified members, it will complete and submit the Athens County Community Challenge Application Form, which identifies 3 dates the community is available to meet with the County staff for a Learning Exchange Meeting.

At this meeting, if not before, the team will identify a:
     President/ Team Leader (main contact for the team)
     Vice President/ Assistant (alternate leader in absence of president)
     Secretary (Responsible for note taking and posting to google drive)

3.     Creative Workshop Meeting:

New to 2018, program participation requires team participation in a creative placemaking workshop (regular team meeting with guest artist and conversation to plan an art based project for your community. The art based project could be the guest artist partnering with an existing arts group in your community, a public community art making event, community mural, public art installation that fits the community or pretty much any arts based outcome appropriate for your community.

4.     Periodic County-wide team meetings will rotate among participating communities (willing to host) or be held at the Athens County Extension Office. Area stakeholders will be invited to attend quarterly meetings and teams will provide updates on improvement efforts within their community.

5.     Implementation: The team will choose at least1 project to address a need or needs identified by the community challenge team to implement with $500 of program participation funding. Additionally, $1,000 of funding is available for a qualifying community event.

6.     Funding Request: The team will submit a project identification and funding request to receive funding. Verification of project implementation including photos is required.



For more information regarding the Regional Planner please click here.