INNOVATION | ENGAGEMENT | COLLABORATION | STEWARDSHIP
About Uptown Westerville Inc.
The vibrancy of Westerville’s historic business district is no accident. It’s the work of many partners, coordinated by a group dedicated to preserving the area’s history and growing its future: Uptown Westerville Inc.
UWI is a nonprofit, private-public partnership comprised of Uptown merchants and property owners, residents, and representatives of major institutions in Westerville – the City, the School District, Chamber of Commerce, Westerville Public Library and Otterbein University.
The aim of the group is to create a unified, coherent image for Uptown, to rally community support and establish deeper collaboration, to produce positive impacts on Uptown, and ultimately all of Westerville.
In every endeavor, UWI seeks to bring all the invested partners together in a joint effort to polish this jewel that we call, ‘Uptown.’
Enviable building stock
Just 25 acres in the heart of a 12.6-square-mile city, Uptown’s building stock and development pattern is the envy of nearby towns and new developments. To Westerville’s east and west, communities have spent hundreds of millions to try to replicate the look and feel of our Uptown District, built by a succession of proud business investors in the later 1800s and early 1900s.
Many of the zero-setback, multistory buildings were built as retail establishments or hotels. Today they are perfectly suited for multiple uses, with shops and restaurants at ground level and offices and residences above.
Spearheaded by UWI, the entire Uptown District earned placement on the National Registry of Historic Places in 2019.
But history hasn’t stopped in Uptown. With committed conservation and continued investment by the City of Westerville in its infrastructure and aesthetics, Uptown is the thriving center of Westerville’s culture and identity.
Though just a portion of the city’s population of 40,000 lives there, Uptown “feels like home” to all residents. It is an attraction to visitors and a showcase for the community. Its brick-lined sidewalks and beautiful architecture serve as Westerville’s town center, and a cultural, shopping, dining and entertainment destination.
Collaboration, coordination, promotion
UWI works to polish the decades-long investment in Uptown by the city, its businesses and institutions. We work to advance the careful preservation of the great asset Uptown has become. As a rising tide lifts all boats, promotion of the Uptown heart of Westerville benefits all of the community.
Current areas of focus
Uptown Westerville Inc. has aligned under four distinct focus areas to promote and foster a dynamic central district for Westerville:
Organization – Build partnerships among diverse groups of stakeholders including merchants, residents, public officials, educators, and civic organizations to recruit new members and volunteers in revitalizing, promoting and enhancing Uptown.
Design – Enhance the physical attributes of the district through image building, new construction, public improvements, historic preservation, and thoughtful design of storefronts, signage, landscaping, etc. in alignment with the existing Uptown Plan.
Promotion – Market the Uptown as a whole by strengthening the community’s positive image, communicate Uptown’s unique features as an inviting and exciting place for residents, Otterbein students and staff, visitors, and investors and plan special events and fundraisers.
Economic Enhancement – Create new opportunities through appropriate development, recruit new businesses to maintain a balanced retail mix, convert underutilized spaces into productive housing, offices or cultural facilities, and improve the competitiveness of the existing merchant mix.
Up next in Uptown
Communication is the secret sauce in the recipe for Uptown’s success. Uptown Westerville Inc. serves as the communication hub for the many invested partners in this endeavor, connecting the merchants and all the key organizations in town with the larger community.
Since UWI was formed in 2017, it again and again has stepped up when the need arises for coordination leadership. Just a few examples include the National Registry application, assuming responsibility from other organizations for staging Uptown’s 4th Friday street festivals and for producing the Saturday Morning Farmers Market behind City Hall, and acting as the applicant to establish Uptown’s Designated Outdoor Dining Area (DORA).
Funding for our public events staging and coordination by a tiny paid staff comes from grants, member donations and sponsorships. To support the mission and join us in shaping the future of Uptown Westerville, click the Join, Volunteer or Sponsor buttons below.