VOTE NOW: Yellow Springs moves on to second round of ‘Strongest Town’ competition

The village of Yellow Springs is competing against 15 other cities for the title of "Strongest Town" in the 6th Annual Strongest Town Contest.
The village of Yellow Springs is competing against 15 other cities for the title of "Strongest Town" in the 6th Annual Strongest Town Contest.

Voting has begun to determine the “Strongest Town” in America and Canada — and Yellow Springs is in the running. The 6th Annual Strongest Town Contest invites people from all over the country to vote for the town that exemplifies strength in a number of ways.

Strong Towns is an organization dedicated to supporting communities through a variety of resources like podcasts, courses and events. In the end, the organization believes that the strongest towns have found creative and successful ways to address transportation, affordable housing, concerns brought on by the coronavirus and other needs of their citizens.

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In the past, cities such as Watertown, South Dakota and Pensacola, Florida have won the contest for implementing programs that facilitate fiscal resilience, civic engagement and community partnerships.

This year, 15 cities across the United States and Canada, aside from Yellow Springs, were chosen as contenders in the Strongest Town Contest. The first round has the following cities pitted against one another:

  • Kenmore, Washington vs. Coaldale, Alberta
  • Norfolk, Virginia vs. Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Oxford, Mississippi vs. Ridgewood, New Jersey
  • Osakis, Minnesota vs. Yellow Springs, Ohio
  • Sleepy Hollow, New York vs. Middleton, Wisconsin
  • Lockport, Illinois vs. Bellingham, Washington
  • Bismarck, North Dakota vs. Elkhart, Indiana
  • Northfield, Vermont vs. Edmond, Oklahoma

After the conclusion of the first round of the competition, the following cities are competing against one another:

  • Kenmore, Washington vs. Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Oxford, Mississippi vs. Yellow Springs, Ohio
  • Middleton, Wisconsin vs. Lockport, Illinois
  • Bismarck, North Dakota vs. Northfield, Vermont
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Jeannine Neubauer, left, and Meg Huey, walked around Yellow Springs wearing masks Thursday. The Village passed a resolution to make it a requirement to wear a mask and properly social distance while in the “business district” of Yellow Springs. MARSHALL GORBYSTAFF
Jeannine Neubauer, left, and Meg Huey, walked around Yellow Springs wearing masks Thursday. The Village passed a resolution to make it a requirement to wear a mask and properly social distance while in the “business district” of Yellow Springs. MARSHALL GORBYSTAFF

In large part, Yellow Springs was chosen to compete due to its response to challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. These responses included the distribution of masks, the addition of social distancing markers, signage and hand sanitizing stations throughout the city and the creation of programs to reduce the economic impact felt by local businesses during the pandemic. Aside from the town’s coronavirus response, Yellow Springs has earned a spot in the competition for its walkable downtown area, affordable housing through its 20-year-old nonprofit Community Land Trust, Yellow Springs Home, Inc. and generally friendly and accepting atmosphere.

“Yellow Springs is walkable, vibrant, and welcoming!” The Village of Yellow Springs told Strong Towns. “It is heartwarming witnessing our community coming together during COVID-19 by immediately setting in place modes of communication, special programs, and safety measures to protect our citizens and our small businesses. Despite our village’s size, we have an array of cultural and arts activities and are surrounded by a natural environment, including the Glen Helen Nature Preserve, Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, and the John Bryan State Park.”

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People voted for their favorite cities in the first round of the contest. Yellow Springs was victorious against Osakis, Minnesota in this first round. In the second round, Yellow Springs will be pitted against Oxford, Mississippi. Anyone can vote for their favorite city in the second round of the competition by visiting Strong Towns’ website. Voting for this portion of the competition closes at 12 p.m. Central Time on Thursday, March 25. The participants will continue competing in a head-to-head tournament-style contest until a winner is announced on Friday, April 9.

The winner of the Strongest Town Contest will receive a visit from Strong Towns president Charles Marohn and an in-depth profile of the city that the organization will share with its international audience.

For more information about the Strongest Town Contest, visit Strong Towns’ website.

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