The building blocks of community

Rev. Kazy Blocher Hinds - Guest Columnist

Our downtown is one of the biggest assets we have as a community, and as I see more and more local businesses open there, it becomes an even bigger asset for us! This week we have seen Winan’s open, and it is just beautiful! My son and I went by there during their first official day, and we had the best time looking around and hearing the stories about pieces of furniture and a sign that came out of the Carriage House, where Winan’s was located for many years. It is wonderful to now drive by what once was an old and empty building with no real charm — some might even say it was an eyesore — and now see the beauty of what Winan’s took on and completed with style and class. Yes, Winan’s is one great asset to our community.

We have other wonderful local businesses that make our community what it is. Can’t Stop Running, opened by Ryan and Amanda King in December 2013, is another great example of someone using their talent and taking what once was a vacant storefront and turning it into a wonderful, unique business. The Kings have told me they have folks from outside our community who come and do business with them, and I am sure those same folks may take some time to stop in Susie’s Big Dipper for lunch or some ice cream or possibly stop by Winan’s for a cup of coffee or maybe even grab a beer at 311 Drafthouse. Can’t Stop Running has made its mark as a premier running store in the Miami Valley, and we are lucky to have them as part of our downtown!

We also have the newest member of our business community, Harvest Pantry, L.L.C. Rod and Lisa Dodson are the owners and I visited there this week as well. Their shelves are loaded with wonderful treats and helpful bulk items to fill your pantry at home. It is so wonderful to see what they have done with the storefront and insides of their business. It is just beautiful and another great asset in our community!

We also have long-standing businesses. Barclay’s has been a fixture in our downtown for many decades. They provide a wonderful, friendly place to shop for men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. Barclay’s is also one of the premier places in our area to rent tuxedos for proms and weddings.

Downtown development is important for a community to thrive and grow. We have seen over the recent years wonderful movement in making our downtown the best that it can be. The Fort Piqua Plaza that houses our library, Mulligan’s Pub, and the banquet facility is a shining star for our community. The money and time put into the renovating of that building, which also was once an eyesore, was needed and now it is beautiful; folks come from all over the Valley to use it and enjoy its charm!

Yes, we have had good movement in the development of our downtown, but we cannot stop now because there are more buildings that are sitting vacant and need the right businesses to come in and vision what they can be.

In my campaign as 5th Ward commissioner and mayor, I am focused on bringing more development to our downtown. The Riverfront development currently under way is one of the most important moves Piqua has taken in many years to enhance the commercial, retail, restaurant, and tourist venues for our fine city. We have already seen some of this come to reality with buildings that are no longer safe demolished and new retail stores opening up in our downtown, but there is more work to be done and as your 5th Ward commissioner and mayor, I will work hard to make sure the positive movement in the Riverfront continues to happen.

I have been involved in many of the events that happen here in our city around the downtown and Riverfront area. In these wonderful community events, I have been part of the planning team or many times have served as a volunteer. I know how important these events are for us as a community seeking to grow and they also encourage others to move here and maybe even begin a business. I know what needs to happen to keep these events going. I also know that it is important that we continue brainstorming what else we can do to show off our city and bring in folks to enjoy what we have to offer. These events are what make a community a community. They offer us a place to connect with one another and a place to unwind while listening to music at a Rock Piqua! event, eating great food at Taste of the Arts, enjoying the Piqua Civic Band at Hance Pavilion on a summer’s evening, playing in the streets during our Cyclovia events, paddling a canoe with a friend at Down a River, Down a Beer, and riding our bikes on the bike paths surrounded by luminaries at our Fall Stride and Ride event.

Community is what we are and it is true that a community will always need a place to connect in order to make it strong and keep it together. Community in its true self provides a sense of belonging for us and an orientation of life to our common goal and our common witness as a city.

If elected, I pledge to work on finding ways to help us to have an even stronger sense of community here in Piqua. I pledge to bring folks, who may differ, together to talk and get to know one another. I pledge to find ways to connect young and old, rich and poor, black and white, and the north and south parts of our city. I pledge to serve you, and ask for your vote on Nov. 3rd as 5th Ward commissioner and mayor.

Rev. Kazy Blocher Hinds

Guest Columnist

The Rev. Kazy Blocher Hinds is pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Piqua. Reach her by emailing

The Rev. Kazy Blocher Hinds is pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Piqua. Reach her by emailing