Several Muskingum University students worked to develop a five year strategic plan for downtown Zanesville.
Through the university’s Regional Planning course the students took part in the Appalachian Regional Project, which encourages students to look at job creation, job expansion and further development.
Muskingum University presented their finding to the city and took a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with the ARC.
“It’s got a lot of bones there. And it’s needed to have a functional and vibrant downtown. You have the water, the good parks, the streets are walkable, sidewalks so it’s really amplifying it and taking that next route to improve the city a bit more,” said Asst. Prof. of Political Science William Toombs.
They specifically looked at ways to create more recreational opportunity, expanding options around Zane’s Landing and making the downtown a gateway to Appalachia. They encouraged the city to look at attracting business to the downtown, while offering tax incentives and investment.
The project gave students a hands on experience and a networking opportunity.
“Able to do certain types of strategic planning, requires environmental scan, working with different types of partners with different goals and how to be able to get everyone to work together not through hierarchy but network. And the students were able to work fantastically with all these community partners,” said Toombs.
In many cases the students work led to internships and graduate school opportunities. Toombs said the university plans to apply this spring to take part in the teaching project again.