Heritage Ohio Director of Preservation Frank Quinn presents the award to Small Nation Founder Jason Duff and Project Manager Ann Donnelly Hamilton.

October 11, 2023 – On Tuesday at the Heritage Ohio Annual Conference, Small Nation was recognized with an honorable mention award for Best Downtown Placemaking for their Historic Walking Tour of Downtown Bellefontaine project. Founder & CEO Jason Duff was in attendance to accept the award at the historic Dayton Arcade.

Heritage Ohio Executive Director Matt Wiederhold announces the award.

The Best Downtown Placemaking award is presented for efforts that enhance a downtown’s appearance with the intention of creating public spaces that promote health, happiness, and well-being through a program of streetscape improvements. The Historic Walking Tour was completed by Small Nation in October of 2022 to preserve the city’s rich history and share it with others. With the Historic Walking Tour program, the story of downtown Bellefontaine is displayed through its proud, historic structures.

Spanning architecture styles from the 1850s through brand new construction, the downtown’s buildings tell the tales of its people, its dedication to growth, and its vision for the future. Throughout the downtown, 14 bronze plaques were created and are displayed on the fronts of the buildings. The plaques show a historical image of the building juxtaposed with the current day building right behind it, with the original name of the building and historical information on the place.

Small Nation worked with the Logan County History Center to research images and information about the buildings and write accurate descriptions to be used on the plaques. A walking tour guide was produced that visitors can find at the Visitors Bureau office or elsewhere throughout the downtown. With these printed guides, interested people or people on waits at downtown restaurants can enjoy learning about the history of the downtown. Learn more about the Historic Walking Tour and view the guide on the Downtown Bellefontaine website.

Buildings on the Historic Walking Tour include the Historic Opera Block, the former Wissler Building now home to Six Hundred Downtown, the former G.C. Murphy Building now home to the Main Street Marketplace, and eleven other historic properties.

“We are so honored for our project to be recognized by Heritage Ohio as one of the Best Downtown Placemaking projects in the state,” said Jason. “This project was a significant accomplishment for our team and Downtown Bellefontaine, and it is a very valuable tool for people to learn more local history, walk around and explore new parts of our downtown, celebrating what makes our community special.”

Small Nation is working on a phase two of the project with the goal of adding more buildings and working with additional building owners in the downtown. Interested parties can learn more by emailing info@smallnationstrong.com.

About Small Nation:

Small Nation develops places, spaces and dreams for small towns and small-town entrepreneurs across the country. They create revitalization concepts and plans for towns, create business concepts, brands, and workforce solutions, then market it all in the name of small-town success.

To learn more about Small Nation, visit www.smallnationstrong.com or follow them on social media at @smallnationstrong.