Logan, Ohio - A Town of Transformation

Logan, Ohio - A Town of Transformation
By Barbara Vincentsen, AIB Judge

Located along the Hocking River in the heart of the Hocking Hills region in Ohio, the 200 year old city of Logan serves as the county seat and is a sought after tourist destination. Despite these advantages, the advent of the nearby shopping mall initiated an exodus of businesses from the community, hurting the downtown business district which is the heart and soul of the community.

As a community where volunteer involvement in civic life is taken as a matter of course, various organizations began to work on multiple fronts to strengthen and enrich the downtown in an effort to stem the outgoing tide. As part of that effort, in 2004 the city became a participant in America in Bloom and formed Logan in Bloom as the local arm of AIB.

With many organizations working on a wide variety of initiatives, one of the most significant rolls of Logan in Bloom has been to provide an umbrella under which people with various interests come together and work toward common goals. This has been so effective that in three of the years Logan has been involved in AIB, the city has won awards for Community Involvement.

There are many examples of the infectious nature of multiple organizations and individuals in Logan working together on projects involving floral displays in the downtown, landscape improvements throughout the city, and environmental initiatives in schools and residences under the umbrella of Logan in Bloom. Each of these stories is significant in its own right in helping to preserve and rejuvenate a once fading downtown.

However, the tale of the development of the Logan Tree Commission and the resultant accomplishments is perhaps among the most dynamic. In 2004, as the result of recommendations from AIB judges, volunteers began meeting to form the Logan Tree Commission. This effort paid off when the Commission was officially approved by city ordinance in 2005. 

In the ensuing years, and with the help of the new ordinance, the city and its volunteers were able to:
  • Collect  over $68,000 in grants and donations
  • Plant  the following:
o   141 large trees
o   500 tree seedlings
o   64 shrubs
o   3 acres of prairie
  • Offer 35 workshops to the community in which more than 700 people were educated in urban forestry
  • Control invasive species in multiple parks within the city
  • Develop a 4-acre Small Woodland Demonstration Site
  • Work with owners of businesses and residences to plant an additional 25 street trees in a coordinated effort between residents and city employees
  • Log well over 2,000 hours of volunteer time

·    In addition, the city government has allowed the commission to train park personnel who have in turn removed dangerous trees, controlled invasive species, pruned trees and provided an overall watch on the general health of trees in Logan. Local businesses have planted additional trees, contributed money and offered services at discounted rates. Homeowners, too, have planted trees and attended workshops to increase their knowledge on the care of trees. All this greening of the city helped keep the downtown alive when it was dying. Today, with the improving economy and a much more attractive streetscape, more retail establishments and restaurants are returning to the city. A small museum also joined the new group.

Logan in Bloom has continued its work in the years since 2004. In 2016, the city earned a prestigious 4 bloom rating, won the Population Category Award at the 2016 AIB Symposium and entered the Circle of Champions in America in Bloom. Quite an achievement for a city with a downtown that was dying merely 12 years ago.

0 Responses