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Perrysburg named 1 of top hometowns

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A new banner hanging over Louisiana Avenue in Perrysburg touts the Wood County city s award from Ohio Magazine as one of the best hometowns in the state for 2009. The magazine looked at such factors as community spirit, education, entertainment, health and safety, and culture and heritage. City officials and boosters hope it will spur tourism and business.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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Perrysburg leaders are prepared to boast to thousands this weekend about its new designation as one of the best hometowns in Ohio.

A banner promoting Perrysburg s annual Harrison Rally Day, which takes place tomorrow, has been replaced with new ones across Louisiana Avenue proclaiming it among Ohio s Best Hometowns for 2009, as ranked by Ohio Magazine.

We re going to have thousands of people see this and know about it, said Sandy Latchem, executive director of the Perrysburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

She is one of many in the Wood County city who also are hoping the monthly travel magazine s designation will help to spur tourism and business in the community.

Ohio Magazine recently notified Mayor Nelson Evans of the designation. It has been ranked as one of five best hometowns the magazine selects each year in the state.

It was picked from the magazine s 20-county northwest Ohio region.

I think it confirms what we feel here in the city: that it s a great place to live and work, Mr. Evans said. It s nice to get that recognition. It might spur people to travel here and even relocate here.

Ms. Latchem added that officials hope local business will use the award in marketing materials.

It could be a draw for tourists. It might catch the attention of businesses looking for a great, cooperative community to locate in, she said.

Richard Osborne, the editor and publisher of Ohio Magazine, said measuring the economic boost Perrysburg might get is impossible. But our 75,000 subscribers pay close attention. They are all about What is the best place to visit? and What are the best things to do?

Mr. Osborne said his magazine s November issue will have regionalized covers recognizing the five Best Hometowns. Perrysburg will have pride of place on the cover in northwest Ohio. The content of the magazine will be the same statewide.

Perrysburg s parks, schools, and Way Public Library impressed Mr. Osborne s staff. It s a Tree City. It s a city that balances history with modern life. There are plenty of modern amenities, and the city is actually growing, he explained.

Having a favorable business environment was one of six standards the magazine used in selecting its best hometowns. The others were community spirit, education, entertainment, health and safety, and culture and heritage.

Rick Thielen, the city s administrator for planning, zoning, and economic development, had no figures for the tourism dollars spent in Perrysburg, but said Fort Meigs alone attracts about 40,000 visitors a year. Additionally, Levis Commons attracts hundreds of thousands, he noted.

We see a triangle consisting of the fort, downtown, and Levis. This is a statewide award and will only help promote all three, he explained.

Ms. Latchem and Mr. Thielen were part of a contingent that assembled and submitted the application to Ohio Magazine in the spring. The magazine sent a staffer this month to spend a day examining the city.

Mr. Osborne said Perrysburg was well known to his staff long before the application was received. This is a town that has been brought to our attention more than once, he said. It s a great place to visit. This one was actually pretty easy for us.

Contact Carl Ryan at:carlryan@theblade.com or 419-206-0356.

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