PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth is one of 15 communities around the county competing for anywhere from $1 to $3 million dollars in prize money from the America’s Best Communities Competition.
When the America’s Best Communities Competition was first announced there were roughly 400 communities throughout the United States involved. That pool of communities was narrowed to 50 and has been narrowed to 15 communities.
As a part of the contest, communities are challenged to highlight unique ways they show community pride.
Adam Phillips, Southern Ohio Port Authority Asset Manager and Main Street Portsmouth Executive Director Joseph Pratt, had no trouble coming up with a unique way to show community pride, through music.
Several months ago local singer, song writer Shane Runion was tasked with writing a song that reflected Portsmouth.
Not a song that reflected Portsmouth in the past or a song that reflected some of the negative aspects of Portsmouth.
He was tasked with a song that promotes positively Portsmouth and what’s going on with Portsmouth’s growth.
Runion said, the inspiration for such a song did not come easy and was close to asking if one of his other songs would fit better.
“The song it’s self was extremely difficult because, you could not talk about the past and you could not talk about negatives. That was the first difficulty. The other difficulty is, in only talking about positives,” Runion said.
He said a self-imposed goal for the song was to not make it cheesy.
After receiving his instructions, Runion went to the drawing board with a blank slate and struggled with it for a while.
“I was completely at a block with it up until one day. I was just about to call Joseph and suggest to him, maybe one my other songs would work,” Runion said.
Runion said it was then the hook for the song came to him, I want to build up this town and pass it down to our daughters and sons. Because I’m proud of where I’m from.
“We wanted something that captures the spirit and energy of Portsmouth, I think Shane has done just that,” Phillips said.
Recently Runion posted a preview of the song on Facebook and thousands of people have watched the video.
“I thought the most sincere thing I could say was that our compassionate folks in our community want this (Portsmouth) to be a good place for my kids and for the future,” Runion said.
Towards the end of last week, filming started for the music video, filming continued Monday and will be wrapping up later in the week. The video is being filmed by Andrew Dodson.
The video, once complete will be previewed at Portsmouth Day with the Cincinnati Reds on April 10 on the jumbotron, with a full release through social media.
On Monday Runion, Pratt, Phillips and Dodson shot portions of the video is various downtown businesses. On Monday Runion performed a show, which will be incorporated into the video.
In late April a delegation including Jason Kester, Executive Director of SOPA; Joseph Pratt, Executive Director of Main Street Portsmouth; Barry Witherspoon, Principal, New Urban Concepts; and Kirk Donges, V.P., Tanner Stone Holsinger & Donges (TSHD) Architects, will travel to America’s Best Communities Summit in Durham, North Carolina.
At the summit the delegation will only being given a short time to present the community revitalization strategy and answer questions.
At the end of the summit, eight communities will be named finalists and awarded $100,000 to bring their plans to life. They will have one year to implement their strategies, and the top three communities that make the largest impact and show the greatest potential for achieving sustainable revitalization will be selected as the grand prize winners. The top community will receive $3 million, with second place earning $2 million and $1 million for third.
Other communities to advance in the competition from the region include, Huntington and Charleston West Virginia.
For more information about the local working being done to advance the community in the competition visit them on Facebook.
For more information about the competition visit www.americasbestcommunities.com or visit http://abc.sohpa.org/.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT