14 Jul Flipping the Script on Downtown Revitalization – Bellefontaine
How we are rewriting the story of Ohio’s small-town spaces
At Revival, we take pride in helping rural communities grow – it’s in our heart + soul, so when we began this downtown revitalization journey, we knew we were ready.
Circa. 2017 when Jason of Small Nation met Cally of Revival at a Van Wert Chamber of Commerce function where Jason was the speaker and Cally, a guest, it was the start of a fantastic collaboration + journey.
Small Nation is driven to bring success and prosperity to small towns, especially Bellefontaine, and is a powerful team of individuals to work with. Not only have they injected community pride, inspired local entrepreneurship, and saved historic locations, landmarks, and buildings in Bellefontaine, OH – they are taking that knowledge and mission to small towns across the country. The Revival x Small Nation collaboration is one for the history books with numerous award-winning places and spaces, local + state accommodations, and nationally recognized.
“We have a deep collaboration between the Revival team, with us as the developer and working with our local city, our municipality, our code officials. It really is a collective effort for how we revitalize an entire town.”
– Jason Duff, Founder of Small Nation
Revival Design Collective received a Merit Award for the Flying Pepper Cantina + BUILD Cowork Space and an Honorable Mention for The Syndicate from the American Institute of Architects, Dayton Chapter, making downtown Bellefontaine an award-winning experience in hospitality + dining design.
Downtown Revitalization in the Works
The Vivian, previously the Bellefontaine Elks, this adaptive reuse is now an event center that is named after the Elks founder, Charles Vivian. It will be the destination weddings + large parties.
The Opera Block, built in the late 1800s by David William Gibbs, is over 40,000 square feet, three stories high, and has ten storefronts. We are working to preserve the historic features of this ‘gem’. The Grand Opera house stood behind the Opera Block, where many entertainers came to perform for the Bellefontaine community. The Chicago + Pittsburgh symphonies performed there, including Kollar and Herman, John Phillip Sousa, Buffalo Bill, and Harry Houdini. The Grand Opera house was open for 33 years until it closed in 1913. In 1917 it was reopened as a movie theater, where silent movies were played until 1930 when it closed. Sadly, the Grand Opera house was torn down in 1956.
The Opera Block has many storefronts, including our Bellefontaine studio, John Phillip Sousa, Buffalo Bill Cody, Kollar and Herman, and the infamous Harry Houdini. The Opera Block is home to many storefronts, including our Revival Bellefontaine Studio, Edward Jones Financial Planning Office, The Silver Elephant Boutique, John T Lawrence Attorney Office, and Sweet Aromas Coffee.
Chillicothe Ave, Bellefontaine is a row of retail stores that will be dubbed Rainbow Row.
Restoring historic buildings gives you the ability to preserve a piece of history while creating a new future for the space. Sometimes, it is challenging to match the historic architecture or renovate the structure of a historic building, but the finished product makes all the challenges worth it. The importance of downtown revitalization is to restore its prominence as a center of the community. We are thrilled to see Bellefontaine booming, people shopping at small businesses, eating at local restaurants, and enjoying downtown events!