The PortsmouthNext logo is the light in the sky for Portsmouth progress.

Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA), Main Street Portsmouth, the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce and the Scioto Foundation have joined hands with other local groups and like-minded individuals to look forward to the future of the river city nestled at the convergence of the Ohio and Scioto Rivers with a new initiative – #PortsmouthNext.

“#PortsmouthNext is a promotional tool for the community, meant to promote and build interest for all the exciting investments and developments occurring in our great city,” SOPA Asset and Site Development Manager Adam Phillips stated. “Community organizations from all around the City of Portsmouth are using this slogan when they take to social media. Building support and momentum in the community for development projects and initiatives is vitally important to the continued success of our community. It is our hope that every community member and organization in the area use #PortsmouthNext to promote their events, initiatives or development efforts.”

The hashtag first came about on the tails of the America’s Best Communities competition. American’s Best Communities was a grant competition to promote sustainability among small, struggling communities, requiring such communities to look at various efforts of revitalization. The competition ended with top prize winnings of 1 million, 2 million, and 3 million. Though Portsmouth was successful in the program, they did not win. The momentum, however, could not be lost.

“PortsmouthNext is supported by a strong network of organizations throughout the community. These organizations, originally brought together through the efforts of Portsmouth’s participation in the America’s Best Communities competition, are continuing the great work started in that competition,” Phillips commented. “Through the America’s Best Communities competition, Portsmouth was able to construct a community revitalization plan which focused on revitalizing the area’s riverfront. Expanding on those initial plans, various organizations have come together with a common purpose. Leveraging their individual resources, these organizations have shown that when we work together, our community can accomplish anything.”

Members of PortsmouthNext have a vision for the people of Portsmouth, a vision of them being able to live, work and play in a happier, healthier community. Several projects are currently underway to bring this vision to fruition.

“Currently this group is working on the beginning phases of a riverfront recreation trail,” Phillips announced. “The City of Portsmouth has design plans for a multi-use path along Front Street and the Southern Ohio Port Authority with the assistance of the Scioto Foundation has contracted with Poggemeyer Design Group to conduct a feasibility study, design concepts and cost estimates for the construction of an inclined pedestrian access path between the riverfront at Alexandria Point and Second Street, near the Second Street Bridge.”

Dubbed the “Alexandria Point Trail Connection,” a corner of downtown will connect the riverfront with the planned multi-use path along the floodwall, creating a 5-K looped recreation trail that connects all vital aspects of the city including the riverfront, downtown business district, floodwall murals and university.

The initiative goes far beyond a recreational path, however. The ambitious group has several concepts under consideration for the future.

“Other projects that the group is currently pursuing is signage at key riverfront access points, information kiosks in the downtown and along the riverfront, and public Wi-Fi hotspots,” Phillips added.

For more information about positive things happening in the area or to share some Portsmouth positivity, remember #PortsmouthNext or visit the PortsmouthNext Facebook page for projects going on around the community.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1930.