City’s placemaking initiative wins state award

For the Daily Call

PIQUA — The Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA) is an economic development professional organization with over 600 statewide members, who strive to increase the quality of life in Ohio by continual education and collaboration. OEDA announced that the Piqua Placemaking Initiative has been selected as the winner of the category, Economic Development Marketing Small Community for the OEDA 2017 Annual Excellence Awards. The award was presented at the 2017 Annual Summit held Oct. 18-20 in Columbus.

“All of us at the City of Piqua have worked extremely hard in recent years to reinvent our community. The Piqua Placemaking Initiative is an important and significant effort to utilize both man-made and natural assets to connect our wonderful Downtown area with a magnificent Riverfront to provide the ‘Quality of Life and Place’ for citizens, businesses, and visitors,” Piqua City Manager Gary Huff said.

The Piqua Placemaking Initiative started after the 2013 Miami County Visitor’s Bureau completed a branding study that showed perceptions of other communities in Miami County as growing, progressive, quaint, scenic, charming, cool, and vibrant. When asked about Piqua, it was described as rundown, dilapidated, struggling, descending, and backward. By rebranding, Piqua is beginning to change that perception about the community to help grow and attract businesses and residents.

Economic Development Director and Assistant City Manager Justin Sommer expressed, “Identifying this space as the signature project of the City of Piqua is a direct result of engagement of our citizens. It is with that engagement in our community that we are successful in our redevelopment efforts.”

The City of Piqua sought assistance from Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Gamble Associates and principal David Gamble and has begun implementation of the Placemaking Initiative in 2017. The design team at Gamble Associates built a one eighth-scale model of the three-acre site for display in the community, which has been hosted at Winans Coffee and Chocolates, Unity National Bank, Piqua Public Library, Piqua Municipal Complex and the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce. The interaction within the community to see what development will take place has proven to be a valuable tool.

In 2017, the Placemaking Initiative and detail design development for Lock 9 Park has been a featured presentation at the Spring International Trails Symposium, the Ohio Conference on Community Development, the Miami Valley Cycling Summit and the University of Dayton River Summit. Through these presentations and others, the Placemaking initiative has led to significant private sector investment.

“We would like to thank the Ohio Economic Development Association for this honor. We wear it proudly and thank you for your support,” Sommer stated.

For more information about the Piqua Placemaking Initiative, please refer to

For the Daily Call