Cedarville students develop proposals to revitalize village downtown

CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University students have developed several design proposals that could bring a myriad of improvements to the village’s historic downtown.

In March, the all-volunteer Cedarville Revitalization Project turned to senior Industrial and Innovative Design majors for fresh ideas to beautify and invest in the village. In November and December, eight teams of four to five students brought their proposals for both indoor and outdoor spaces, which ranged from extending the bike path from Cedarville Community Park to allow bike traffic from Xenia, to resurrecting an abandoned building alongside Clifton Pike as a community garden.

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Other proposals included ideas for the Cedarville Opera House, a pickleball court, and eliminating a15-foot-wide vacant traffic lane between Beans-n-Cream and Orion Coffee and Tea.

“Knowing that the Cedarville committee will have their eyes on our work has added an intentionality to our designs,” said Cedarville senior Joe Gerber. “If anything we propose causes the client to say, ‘That’s really inspiring; let’s do this in a different way,’ then our goal is accomplished.”

The hope was to create a meaningful academic and creativity exercise that honored the parameters of Cedarville’s project, said Jim Stevenson, president of Columbus-based International Center for Creativity, which has a partnership with the university.

“Students developed ideas and proposals to spark the imagination and creativity of the village team,” he said.

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Cedarville offers the Industrial and Innovative Design major through an exclusive partnership with ICC, a combined industrial design and education firm. Students in the program spend the first two years on the Cedarville campus, and their last two years in Columbus full-time. Cedarville is the only Christian university in the country to offer an accredited industrial design major.

It’s unclear if any of the students’ proposals will be implemented, based on funding for the projects, said Diedre Sizer, a member of the Cedarville Revitalization committee and university staff member. However, the project has helped bring students to the table when talking about development and economic impact.

“We’re a university town, and students use our downtown,” she said. “They had some pretty big ideas, which I love. It all comes down to funds, of course, but its great to have students, a whole different generation looking at it like ‘What about this?’ It helps our vision to see what’s possible.”

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