ASHLAND, Ky. (WOWK) Life-long resident and City of Ashland Commissioner Amanda Clark is passionate about the development of Downtown Ashland.
“I am of the generation that witnessed the decline of Ashland,” Clark said. “To see Ashland, sort of, on this edge of prosperity again means more to me than I can logically put into words.”
City officials are now applying for a $200,000 planning grant, putting them one step closer to making Downtown Ashland more walkable and more livable.
“So, the timing of it for the city, given recent discussions about re-looking downtown, possible revitalization downtown, dovetails nicely with what we’re doing now,” Michael Graese, Ashland City Manager, said.
City leaders say they’ve been told by both the older and younger generations that people want a place they can work, eat, live, and play all in one spot.
“Some folks don’t want to deal with having a yard, or having a home, so condo living or apartment living is better,” Graese said. “But having close access to the things they can walk to is definitely something people are interested in doing.”
Business leaders as well as city officials say they are so committed to the redevelopment of Downtown Ashland they went to Greenville, South Carolina, to find out the best way to do it.
“Probably about 50 cities a year come and visit them to see what they did and how they did it,” Clark said. “They are kind of the model for best practices in downtown redevelopment.”
There have already been a number of improvements like the downtown Marriott hotel as well as street-scaping, consisting of vintage style lighting, benches and even trash cans.
Commissioner Clark says the most important takeaway is the city needs a blueprint in order to get things done and applying for the grant for the feasibility study will make that happen.