By Alisha Loch & Mary C Miller (published on Strong Towns, August 18, 2022)
Dozens of aspiring towns entered the competition to be named 2022’s Strongest Town. The two finalists—Norwood, Ohio, and Jasper, Indiana—are both midwestern towns of similar population, the former an urban place surrounded by the metropolis of Cincinnati, and the latter a rural county seat in the farmlands of Indiana. Both towns are moving in a similar trajectory, revitalizing their downtown areas, creating events that bring residents together, building collaboration between city entities, and being mindful of their financial futures.
Those of us in Norwood, Ohio, gathered on the steps of our historic middle school with music, our local coffee trailer, balloons, and face painting in April to celebrate the results of the Strongest Town competition, regardless of the outcome.
Our advancement round after round had us elated to be able to come together and celebrate the resilience of our community, and it was clear that our co-finalist, Jasper, Indiana, was a worthy contender. Before the results were in, a connection had already been formed in the interest of the two towns moving forward together, learning from each other, and celebrating the good things happening in both communities.