Note: Practice social distancing and follow governor guidelines
The amount of diversity we, as Massillonians could benefit from include levels of education, culture, personal interests, food, fine arts and any thing that may seem slightly out of the norm for us. We are a community who go to work then we go home. We may hang out at the local Wal-Mart on Fridays and Sundays but, ideally we are pretty calculated in our day to day activities. After a little digging, I have compiled a list of 6 items to improve the morale and attract more people to Massillon, OH. This list was compiled from a little digging around and some common sense. I will explain why it would be beneficial for us to make these changes.
1. Finding a niche (link to previous post below)
The last post titled 'Finding your Niche in Massillon, OH' encourages the community to create the groups and start the clubs for their personal interests to help create a more active community. People have many personal interests outside of their regular friend groups. I have spoken with people in the community who do not participate in the community events simply because they do not feel welcomed. This thought of fitting in was described as a 'sense of place' in my research. People want to feel a sense of belonging in the community.
2. Access to good jobs and education
Equivalent to the chicken or the egg. I have read about jobs who will follow the people and posts about people who follow the jobs. Locally we have a good amount of blue collar jobs and a scarce number of white collar jobs. According to Canton INC. Magazine-Summer/Fall 2019 about 9% of the work force in Stark County are in the professional and business sectors; nonetheless, about 30% of the residents hold a college degree or higher. From a resource management perspective, the competition is heavy.
3. Increase Culture - music, art, dance, theater, food
More festivals please!!!! The surrounding neighborhoods make walking into our downtown feasible and accessible. We can get those little ladies, with the family recipes, handed down for years to line up down town and we can eat. This would be a good opportunities to use the resources we have and learn about our neighbors . Festivals attract people. People spend money. Similarly, we could utilize the Lion's theater more often in conjunctions with the Massillon Museum. Increase in city tours, football tours, historical landmarks, wineries, local food places would also be a good enhancement to the city. There is an opportunity for summer cultural festivals to bring people to all of these gems in our city. Walk by traffic will be beneficial to our small businesses.
4. Easy transportation
In Massillon, most people drive vehicles to get around. Having streets for bike traffic, safe sidewalks and public transportation are also attractive. In some areas of the United States, people do not own cars. We may not be in a dense area similar to larger cities but increasing the walk-ability may help to lower some of the health concerns. According to the 2019 Community Health Assessment for Stark County, obesity and lifestyle choices are noted as a health concern. Obesity and lifestyle choices were also related to lack of transportation and access to healthier foods.
5. Fitness opportunities
We have a YMCA, a rec center, a gym and a few work out places but one thing I appreciate when traveling is the amount of people who are out just because. Even now, when I see people running as I drive by (yes, I'm guilty) or riding their bikes on the tow path, it makes me happy. Something about seeing people outside brings joy my way. Further, I participated in outdoor yoga with a family friend some time ago. This would be a nice event to have. Maybe in the parks (assuming those evil ducks don't disturb my vinyasa) a grassy area or at the high school?
6. Public open spaces
As mentioned previously, seeing people outside brings me joy. Specifically, we took a trip to Virginia a few years back. And I remembered seeing people sitting in the park, hanging out with friends. I thought this was the best! Sitting around, enjoying people, and doing nothing. OMG! Who could as for anything better? It wasn't let's sit around and eat and drink our lives away but simply, let's spend time together. To look around town and see people enjoying the public spaces be it having coffee, play dates or reading a book; something about people and outside says happiness to me!
Please note these are ideas that I would like to see happen. Some take planning and money, while others take grass and a few benches. But overall, we can help to increase the health and morale of the city starting with getting people outside and active.
Canton INC. Magazine-Summer/Fall 2019. Retrieved on 5/20/2020. https://issuu.com/cantonchamber/docs/cantoninc_summer_fall2019
Stark County Community Health Assessment (2019). Retrieved 5/20/2020 https://www.starkcountyohio.gov/StarkCounty/media/Public-Health/community%20health%20assessment/Stark-CHA-Report-2019-FINAL.pdf