Featured News Archives for 2017-04

Alliance art showKenton Councilwoman Patti Risner (left) points out one of her favorite entries in the Discover Hardin County Art Show to Tourism Director Jesse Purcell.

Sponsored by the Tourism Division of the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, there were 139 locally produced photos on display Wednesday evening at Table One in Kenton.

More than 7,000 people visited the Alliance webpage to view the photographs, said Purcell.

Voted as the top photo was a picture of the Hardin County Fair by Allison Howard. It will appear on the cover of the new Discover Hardin County Visitors Guide.

Times photo/Dan Robinson

Kenton residents are invited to learn about the city’s downtown revitalization plan during an open house Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Veterans Hall in the Hardin County Courthouse.

The program will be led by representatives from OHP, an architectural, engineering and planning firm which has been retained by the city for the downtown project.

Kenton, like many communities across the county, is built upon infrastructure that is nearing the end of its lifecycle. Aging storm, water and sewer lines – some of which are as old as the city itself – are in need of significant repair and replacement, according to a press release from OHP.

The city is in the process of preparing a plan to address needed capital improvements, while making sure it puts the streets and sidewalk back in a way that benefits the community, the release said.

“This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed,” Aaron Domini, principal planner with OHM, told the Times. Some of Kenton’s downtown infrastructure was built before 1900 and some buildings were built on top of it.

He called it “one of the oldest and most challenging infrastructure” the company has dealt with.

Domini said Wednesday night’s meeting will be divided into two parts. The first will be a presentation focused on the educational component of the project.

He said there is a lot to understand about the project, which he will attempt to clear up, as well as outline how it will benefit Kenton.

“First and foremost we are focused on fixing everything from the underground up,” Domini said.

The second half will entail a series of activities designed to get feedback on the downtown, including streetscape design and transportation issues.

He called the Kenton project a “carbon copy” of a downtown improvement project that is just wrapping up in Newark, east of Columbus. Newark has a courthouse on the square, similar to Kenton. Sewer separation was mandated by the Ohio EPA around the Newark square and a block off the square.

The cost of that project will end up at $25 million to $30 million. However, it has resulted in $80 million in private investment into the community, Domini said.

For the Kenton project, he said OHP will be looking to acquire funding from several governmental sources to go along with local funding to finance the project.


Young professionals from throughout Hardin County met to share information and ideas at the first organized meeting of the Young Professional Alliance on Thursday evening in Kenton.

The purpose of the gathering was to determine what the members see as the role of the new organization, said Jesse Purcell, Director of Chamber and Tourism at the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance.

The professionals range in age from 21-45 and share an interest in improving the community.

“We have to stick together because we are going to be together for many years to come,” said Jon Cross, President and CEO of the Alliance. “It is important that we help each other out.”

The Alliance had seen the need for such a group in 2015, said Cross, and had invited a group of 35 people to help chart how to create a successful program. Thursday’s gathering, said Cross, was just the beginning. The Alliance is hoping to see membership flourish in the coming years.

Dustin McCullough said he thinks the young professionals should set goals and find new approaches to issues.

“The younger generation is more open to changes in the community,” he said. “As a group, I think we can accomplish our goals.”

The guests then divided themselves into small groups to determine what type of goals they should address. Their concerns often dealt with those younger than them and convincing them Hardin County has a lot to offer coming generations.

One of the problems in doing that, said Dane Jeffers, is the fact there are not many houses available in the county where they would want to live and no business space for investments.

“If you want the future to be better, we need to convince young people to stay here,” said Jeffers.

The county needs to be honest about the problems here, said others, especially the drug issue, but create activities to bring the community together.

Many expressed ideas on the future of the organization itself. The Young Professionals should meet on a regular basis and welcome others to join in their efforts.

“We are an organization which could mesh with Farm Bureau or 4-H and make both organizations better,” offered McCullough. “We want to make this organization something people want to be a part of.”