Athens Wins APA Small Town Award

By Posted in - Blog & Competitiveness & Work on February 6th, 2015 0 Comments

We are thrilled to announce that The City of Athens, Ohio, Designing Local, and MKSK will be awarded the 2015 Vernon Deines Award for an Outstanding Small Town Special Project Plan by the American Planning Association’s Small Town and Rural Division for its Essence of Athens: A Strategic Design Plan for Economic Enhancement and Community Competitiveness. The award will be officially presented in Seattle during the American Planning Association’s national conference in April.

From the committee:

The Awards Committee was incredibly impressed with this plan, and feel it embodies the best of small town planning. The project was selected for an award due to its innovative approach to creating a uniquely Athens esthetic and design language. The plan is user-friendly and highlights efforts everyone in the community (not just the development community) can do to implement Athens-based design. The stakeholder engagement process was clearly targeted to ensure representation of all members of the community, while the document expresses the vision with interesting graphics and writing that personalizes the effort. We are excited to share this plan with other communities as an example of how to build on unique community assets and employ community-based design as an economic development tool. We congratulate you on your successful project!


This award would not have been possible without Athens, Ohio’s open-mindedness and willingness to risk. The team at Designing Local would like to thank the visionary thinkers associated with the City of Athens including:

Paul Wiehl, Mayor of The City of Athens, Ohio

Athens City Council: Jim Sands, President, Kent Butler, Jennifer Cochran, Chris Fahl, Chris Knisely, Michelle Papai, Steve Patterson, and Jeff Risner

Athens City Service Safety Director Paula Horan Moseley

City Planner: Paul Logue

City Engineer and Public Works Director: Andy Stone

The Essence of Athens Planning Committee: Lori Burchett, Barbara Fiocchi, John Lefelhocz, Alvi McWilliams, Patty Michell, Tim Pfaff, and Sandra Sleight-Brennan

And the People of Athens, Ohio.

You are leading the nation’s small towns in economic development through community design!

Here is the full plan.

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