When something big happens, you tend to look around the room, celebrate, and the tendency from there is to move on, but it's also important to reflect, remember, and focus on what got you there.
As we bask in the glow of last week's choice of Chillicothe for the Best Downtown Revitalization Award from APEG/API, I recall a meeting in late 2006 that began the process to help downtown regain its luster.
In a large conference room at Petland's Riverside Street offices, a group of people gathered to find out if community leaders - both those in and out of government - genuinely wanted to change downtown.
Honestly, it seemed like a heavy lift at the time. As a group, we knew what we wanted - a rejuvenated and healthy downtown - but the Carlisle Building fire just three years earlier created a paralysis that we couldn't shake.
It was going to take a lot of effort from everyone.
Marvin Jones, then the President and CEO of the Chamber, was a driving force in getting a downtown study done and when the completed plan arrived some six months later, he got to work to push for the changes necessary to create what you see today.
No discussion of the downtown renaissance is complete without giving credit to Adena Health System, however. They took the chance on a building that many thought should be torn down or turned into a parking garage. Then-CEO Mark Shuter and the board, as well as the Chillicothe-Ross Community Foundation, the Chesler Group, APEG, and others went out on a limb to take care of the Number 1 "catalyst" project on the HyettPalma list.
The unsung heroes of our downtown comeback are those building owners who followed the Carlisle rebirth with the money, sweat equity and drive to refurbish their buildings and the small business entrepreneurs who followed with their dreams and determination to build a new legacy for the heart of Ohio's First Capital. The folks that brought us Totem Supply Co., The Dock at Water, Mighty Children's Museum, Paper City Coffee, R Kitchen on Paint, Tecumseh Trading Co., and many, many more.
Sure, we had a few tax breaks and a little help along the way, but what we discovered was while you can get a hand from people outside the community, we had to make the difference ourselves - with our effort. We had to look within before we could seek help from others.
We do have unfinished business. If you look at the HyettPalma report, there are items that we haven't addressed. We don't have to do them because a 2007 list says so, but we should relook at them and decide if they are still issues. If they are, it's time to address them. We can be proud of our success while always looking at what's next.
Let's enjoy the moment, but prepare ourselves for what's ahead. It takes a lot of effort - but it always has.