The Village of Swanton motto is “Honoring the past, committed to the future.” Neil Toeppe, Swanton Chamber of Commerce and Swanton, Ohio Historical Society president is working to put that motto into practice.
Toeppe recently spoke to Swanton Village Council about the historical society and the possibility of bringing railroad related history to Chestnut Street in Swanton.
“The Village of Swanton’s motto is’ Honoring the past, committed to the future.’ And I stand before you to talk about that motto and how we can bring meaning to it,” Toeppe said.
He discussed the possibility of relocating the Brailey Depot and an A.D. Baker steam engine to Swanton, and also constructing a viewing platform on village owned land on Chestnut Street along the railroad tracks. He suggested that could increase foot traffic on Main Street and, in turn, increase business on Main Street.
“There have been many recent studies not only suggesting, but proving, that there is a great interest and success in rural and small-town tourism,” said Toeppe. “I have developed two and a half pages of single line bullet points from about 10 of these studies. In summary, they all conclude that there are significant numbers of individuals and families looking for something other than Disneyland and Cedar Point.”
He said Swanton has a compelling story to tell.
“The possibility of Swanton as a small-town tourist destination is real,” said Toeppe. “Combine that with the interest in the Historical Society to collect and archive information about the history of the community in conjunction with the Swanton Library, Swanton will be able to share its history with both residents and visitors.”
The Historical Society has already identified grant application opportunities, and some significant private donors for the proposed project.
Councilman Craig Rose said he liked the idea. “I think you’re a perfect blend of both looking at the past but also the businesses that would benefit from the added foot traffic from out-of-towners who would want to come and look at something like this.”
Council decided to have a resolution written for the next council meeting on Jan. 28 that outlines what the village’s commitment to the project may be.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010