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Ami’s saving “Grace” v. Larry’s failed vis

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whistlersmom View Drop Down
MUSA Citizen
MUSA Citizen

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    Posted: Oct 12 2017 at 6:34pm

Ami Vitori is front page Journal news!!! And Starbucks Channel’s “UPSTANDERS” series titled Saving Middletown, is a must see. Go to  starbucks.com/upstanders  to read the script.

Ami Vitori has provided exactly what Middletown has needed for decades … the spark, the example and the inspiration for others to follow in her footsteps to save our city! And she and her family did it with very little assistance from the city; assistance which she immediately put to work and used to best advantage. May she be blessed with all the success that her vision and hard work deserves. Her knowledge, enthusiasm and life experience would be a much needed asset to city council as well.

The rest of us need to remember it takes more than one person, it takes everyone who is able, to make a contribution.

There is just one caveat for Ami regarding city council and city management … Decades of mismanagement, poor decision making and cronism has caused damage, invited more problems and prevented Middletown’s recovery, as much or more than all the external socio-economic pressures have caused.

City government may be the source of and reason for what is seen as negativism being expressed so often. City hall needs to encourage business, not put up more and more road blocks like zoning, signage and facade restrictions. City hall has given away or sold properties for $1 and provided grants and other financial assistance to pals and vulture-like speculators who have absorbed all this while leaving their purported project properties to literally rot. City hall has neglected to hold these speculators legally responsible, therefore we get no return on the tax dollars spent and we are left bankrupt and holding the bag (dilapidated buildings and eyesores).

In the Journal article, Mayor Mulligan gives credit to former city manager Judy Gilleland and Perry Thatcher, among others, for their vision of revitalization; but several of the very projects initiated under them are now among the abandoned or never started projects – such as the deteriorating Manchester Inn (planning from 2015 never acted upon) and the Sonshine Building, First National Bank (empty) and the CG &E Building. (virtually abandoned by Cincinnati State - which now barely exits in Middletown).

Mr Adkins, our current city manager writes up city business, presents it to council and expects all to be approved without any discussion. Citizens are almost totally removed from the governing process. The Sunshine Laws have no meaning here in Middletown. Citizens have either become apathetic or are fearful of retaliation for pointing out city hall’s shenanigans. All of this is quite evident if you read the MUSA forum (most recently Bobble-heads under Communuiy Revitalization). In brief, THE CITY GOVERNMENT NEEDS AN OVERHAUL that will make all of Ami Vitori’s hard work on Torchlight Pass look tiny.

MUSA followers - In case you haven’t read The Journal News article, it’s good news except for Mr Mulligan’s attempt to give credit where it was NOT due.:

Middletown gains highlighted in show

By Ed Richter - Staff Writer

Short film focuses on positive impact of Torchlight Pass founder.

MIDDLETOWN — Nearly a decade ago, Forbes Magazine identified Middletown among America’s 10 fastest-dying cities. This week, Middletown is back in the national spotlight as its revitalization efforts will be among 11 communities featured in season two of “Upstanders,” an original Starbucks series. The episode is titled “Saving Middletown.”

The five-minute film features the story of Ami Vitori, founder of Torchlight Pass, a dining and retail destination, and how she gave up a successful career and tapped her retirement fund to rebuild her struggling Rust Belt hometown, according to Starbucks. The film also includes a number of Middletonians such as J.D. Vance, Ken Cohen, Wilbur Cohen, Heather Gibson and Richard Isroff.

Through short films and audio books, the stories can be accessed through starbucks.com/upstanders and also are being streamed through partners Amazon Video and Audible. Other “Upstanders” stories focus on support for veterans, the opioid epidemic, juvenile incarceration, refugee resettlement, climate change, and creating economic opportunity and equity.

Ami’s story, and others like it in ‘Upstanders,’ reveals a different side of America than we often see on television or in our social-media feeds,” said Rajiv Chandrasekaran, “Upstanders” executive producer, author and former Washington Post editor. “These stories are set in small towns and big cities, from coast to coast, and they introduce us to people just like Ami who are fearlessly challenging the status quo and making our communities better. We are proud to work with Ami and thank the city for the warm welcome we received when filming this episode in Middletown.”

On Wednesday, city officials hosted an invitation-only screening to celebrate Middletown being portrayed in a positive light and highlighting the work done by many over the years to revitalize the city and the downtown district. More than 40 people attended.

Mayor Larry Mulligan noted the changes in the downtown area as he looked back to when Middletown was an All-American city in the 1950s and the various challenges it faced over the years since. “There was a time it looked like a Hollywood movie lot,” he said.

Mulligan praised past leaders such as former city manager Judy Gilleland, who envisioned using the arts and entertainment to begin the revitalization, as well as Jay and Linda Moorman of BeauVerrre Riordan Stained Glass Studios, the Pendleton Arts Center, the late Perry Thatcher whose properties helped to bring Cincinnati State’s branch campus as well as the founding the Broad Street Bash, the Windamere Event Venue, the forming of the Community Building Initiative, and trips to Paducah, Ky., and Greenville, S.C., to see how other cities transformed their downtowns. He also noted the city saw 24 businesses open last year.

Mulligan said Vitori, a fourth-generation Middletonian, returned to her hometown and “jumped in with both feet” as she and her family worked to prevent the former TV Middletown building from becoming an eyesore as they created Torchlight Pass. “It’s a good positive message that highlights the good things about Middletown. We’re not without our warts and faults. We still have things to work on.”

Vitori, who is one of five people seeking two open seats this November on Middletown City Council, also credited the people before her who have been working to revitalize the city and hopes this national publicity continues to help Middletown move forward. She said her fellow downtown business owners continue to work together and help each other. “Lots of people came in the past few years to make things happen,” she said. “I hope this story can continue to grow. It speaks to what other small towns can do.”

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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