Downtown Zanesville is thriving even as the economy continues to recover.
Zanesville Downtown Association Manager Dana Matz said 2011 was a year of impressive growth for the art community.
"The Artist Colony of Zanesville has done a good job of beginning the stages of strategic planning, looking at a five year plan," said Matz. "We’re very excited about that. The group has continued to grow. We have over 20 locations each Friday and over 150 artists represented."
Matz said volunteers helped clean the city and make littering less of a problem. He said 2011 also saw an increase in real estate activity as many abandoned and underused buildings were sold.
"Our industrial makeup of the area is pretty diverse and that helps us," said Matz. "We don’t have one major corporation that’s employing 70% of our workforce and when it goes down, it knocks you out. We are diverse, and that is our strength."
Matz said he has several goals in mind for 2012 including rejuvenating the nightlife scene and bringing more people into downtown Zanesville after five o’clock.
"Your first place is where you live, your second place is where you work, and your third place is where you want to hang out," said Matz. "Right now the third place for downtown is the arts community."
Matz said he also wants to see more retailers brighten up their signs and decorate the front of their stores to make the downtown area more visually appealing for shoppers.