Chillicothe Presented with Award for its COVID-19 Response

The City of Chillicothe has been recognized as one of America’s small or mid-size communities rising to meet the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.

During November’s EntreCon Business & Leadership Conference, hosted by the non-profit Studer Community Institute (SCI), the City of Chillicothe received a Community Resiliency Award for its Community Response Team.

Leading up to the conference, SCI’s founder, Quint Studer, asked cities and towns of all sizes to share some of the small, incremental steps they’re taking to get stronger and more vibrant.

Created at the start of the COVID pandemic, Chillicothe’s Community Response Team represents a unified approach for addressing local needs and collaborating on solutions. It included city employees, government agencies, nonprofits, schools, mental health providers, and housing authorities as well as the chamber of commerce. By coordinating efforts and getting everyone rowing in the same direction, they were able to quickly tackle emerging problems like hunger, housing, and mental health.

“The Community Response team is a perfect model for how stakeholders in a community can collaborate and generate big results,” says Studer. “It wasn’t about whose job it was or who got the credit, it was about creating unity and executing quickly. While created as a system for managing emergencies, it’s a blueprint for how communities can break down silos and work together to solve their most pressing problems-a key part of creating a great place to live.”

Mike Throne, President/CEO of Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce, says he was delighted to receive the award on behalf of the Community Response Team.

“Of course we are honored to receive the Community Resiliency Award, but mostly we are grateful that we’ve been able to help pull our community through this tough time,” he says. “It has been a wonderful experience to see how well everyone works together to get things done. We’ve built a framework for our community to find solutions to the problems we face beyond COVID.”

The criteria for the award centered on ideas and best practices that create a lot of “bang for the buck” and are easy to replicate. Besides Chillicothe, other winning cities were Columbia, Mississippi, Elkins, West Virginia, Hot Springs, Arkansas, Martin County, Florida, Palatka, Florida, Springfield, Ohio, and Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Studer says he hopes to compile a library of good ideas and best practices that other communities can learn from, replicate, refine, and share-and that he is grateful to Chillicothe for being a part of it.

“While it’s the big glamorous projects that usually get the most attention, I’m more impressed by the small but still impactful things communities do to move toward vibrancy,” adds Studer. “These are the kinds of things that are doable and sustainable.”

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