Our Towns

Columbiana Counted Among ‘Nicest Places in America’

COLUMBIANA, Ohio — Think Columbiana is the nicest place in America? Residents can have their say in the Nicest Places in America contest being conducted by Reader’s Digest.

Columbiana is one of 50 finalists in the annual competition, vying for a cover story in the magazine. A nice place is “where the people believe in kindness, civility, and each other, neighbors help each other out and strangers are welcomed as friends,” according to the Reader’s Digest website.

“It is an honor for our community to be recognized by Reader’s Digest on a national scale,” says Mayor Bryan Blakeman. “Living in Columbiana, we already know how special of a place that we call home. It is great that the rest of the world is learning about our special place in the heartland.”

Columbiana was nominated for the competition by Mary Lou Wilson, a resident whose grandson, Clayton Kerrigan, is a cast member at Main Street Theater here. In an article published by Reader’s Digest, Wilson says her grandson “has some disabilities,” but participating in productions at Main Street helps him make friends.

“After the play — it was pure, unadulterated joy,” Wilson says in the article. “These kids change. And I saw the change in my grandson.”

Click here to read the article and scroll to the bottom of the page to vote.

Being recognized by Reader’s Digest is “a huge deal for Columbiana,” says its city manager, Lance Willard.

Main Street Theater and Crown Theater Productions are “qualitative factors for those thinking of moving to or setting up shop in our community,” and the national recognition through the Nicest Places in America competition may help increase the confidence in others to move to the city, he says.

“We have some open store fronts right now in our downtown, perhaps the Readers Digest contest may just change that,” Willard says. “It demonstrates that if people are willing to invest their time and money to our community, it can pay off. This is another thing we can point to when trying to attract business, the sense of community and the quality of life here is great.”

The city is already getting attention from people wanting to move to the area and build homes, and being named Nicest Place in America would help that momentum build, Blakeman says. It will also help the city court prospective businesses looking to invest in the community.

“As a city, we have already let several prospective businesses know that we are in the running for this,” Blakeman says. “The more positive news about our community the better! Momentum breeds more momentum, and I believe we’re currently involved in something very special going on in Columbiana.”

Pictured: The city of Columbiana is a finalist in the Nicest Places in America competition by Reader’s Digest. Photo: city of Columbiana

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.