National Corner adds to community’s ‘cool factor’

Children laughing and bounding carefree through water features.

Residents lounging and bopping their heads to the tunes coming from the amphitheater.

A tiered garden. A picnic area.

And, it’s all downtown.

The “cool factor” continues to grow in Tiffin thanks to the National Corner at the East Green, the latest gathering space in a city that sure has undergone a facelift during the past few years.

“I can tell you there’s no community of our size that has what we have in downtown,” Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said at Sunday’s dedication of the spot.

Donors included the National Machinery Foundation, National Machinery LLC, Purina Corp., the Kalnow Family Foundation and Andrew Kalnow.

They did a nice job, as the park beams with pride and activity at almost all hours of the day on the corner of East Market and Jefferson streets.

To me, it’s all part of a city that continues to reinvent itself and shows well to the outside.

Hedges-Boyer Park is a gem, and because it is well taken care of and offers something for everyone, is a centerpiece of activity, especially during the summer months.

The downtown section features many modern restaurants, shops and watering holes, somehow providing Tiffin both a big-town and small-town feel.

The Ritz Theater showcases arts and entertainment that is surprising of a city this size.

The area along Frost Parkway is a great spot for a walk — a row of interesting, historic houses on one side, and the Sandusky River on the other, dotted with numerous statues and historical markers that provide a walking history lesson.

Two universities, on either side of the river, feature both new construction and impressive old buildings, as strolls through either Tiffin University or Heidelberg University elicit the youthful energy of a college campus.

The Seneca County Justice Center beckons in the middle of it all, with Lady Liberty standing atop a cupola on the regal new building that does a nice job of being Tiffin’s downtown centerpiece.

West of downtown, a modern and impressive Mercy Health-Tiffin Hospital is another pillar of the community, an impressive facility that cares for its own.

Near the hospital, is a string of shopping and dining options, as well as other businesses. Throughout town, long-standing businesses dot the landscape, signaling the past is part of Tiffin’s present.

And all around Seneca County are schools, large and small, many of them brand-new. Great scholastic options are another important part of Tiffin’s modern story.

There is more to mention and surely more on the way. But it all adds up to a pretty important picture. We’ve all seen Rust Belt cities who haven’t pivoted to new opportunities. Tiffin understands that — it has seen its share of struggles over the years. These places look barren and hopeless — like their best time has passed.

But Tiffin has emerged to its current state — a family friendly small city with a connected past, present and future.

Yeah, it might just be a splash pad, but the National Corner at the East Green is another feather in this town’s cap. Congratulations to all the donors and local leaders who have made all of this happen.

This is a great place to both raise a family and to do business in.

Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune. He can be reached at jspeer@advertiser-tribune.com.