Ashland Community Recovery Project

Plan for the worst, work toward the best


A small town with many attractive qualities for residents and tourists suddenly needs to redefine itself given radical shifts in economic, travel and live theater.

  • Demand evaporated - How can we meet local, regional and national needs to restore demand to local businesses?
  • Jobs lost - How can we quickly ramp up community conversations to meet needs we cannot see yet?
  • Needs shifting - Many in our community will be refocusing on more essential needs than just a few weeks ago.
  • Community required - Values and creative solutions must come out of deliberative community conversations. City government is not the vehicle to redefine the character of our town, their role is to facilitate and execute.

More on how we view this situation in a slide deck here (Created 4/10/2020 to support an online meeting of an ad hoc group of local entrepreneurs and professionals. It starts with a couple of slides with some ideas the group generated. No decisions were made beyond something should be done and we should meet again).  More transparency below.

Updated findings, thinking and actions:


We seek to rally our greatest asset, our community itself, to design, test, and implement local solutions to support and stabilize each other, our businesses, our healthcare, and our cultural and government institutions.  As we stabilize, we can begin healing our vital institutions and traditions. Finally, we will gather our strength to invigorate our newly refocused and aligned community.



  • Community conversation about our needs and values and how we can meet them, together.
  • Inventory of community assets and how they might be leveraged to support stabilization, healing and invigoration.
  • Collect what works from other communities and times.
  • Experiment with ways to meet needs and align our values.
  • Share what we learn with other communities.


  • We will get to this once we begin the healing process.

Let's Start the Conversation

What do you think?  Add your voice to our short surveys.


We plan to gather all the ideas possible via the survey above.

We will then distill the common themes and the out of the box possibilities you offer us.

Next, we will present a list of possibilities back to the community for

  • Refinement
  • Prioritization
  • Design of the project
  • Prototyping
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Implementation

Of course, simple ideas can move through this process quickly, but larger ones may take more time, effort and community involvement to make happen.  Our goal is to build momentum by starting with small improvements that might build towards bigger ones.




Economic & Community Development

How to support the project


Who is Stephen Sloan and why is he doing this?

  • Stephen is a local leadership author and advisor.
  • Stephen serves nonprofit and business clients locally and internationally.

Why would you do this, Stephen?

  • I love Ashland and all it has offered our family over the last ten years.
  • I know that I will do well by doing what’s needed, here, now.

Who else is involved?

  • Several friends who are entrepreneurs and landlords got together last Friday to get this idea rolling.  The group is growing quickly.  Please join us if you’d like to share your vision of Ashland's future.

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