November 2008 Issue
Ohio's Best Hometowns 2009 - Troy
Step into Troy, situated on the Miami River, and you’ll likely feel as if you’ve come home — or, at least, found a place you could easily call home.
This is how Carol Bastin, co-pastor at the First United Church of Christ, felt after moving to Troy almost seven years ago. At the time, she lived in Michigan and various churches were courting her. Troy, however, offered all the amenities she wanted for her family — which is why she ultimately chose it over a higher-paying job in Wisconsin.
She appreciated the fact that this “Tree City” (so designated by the Arbor Day Foundation) boasts 1,300 acres of parks and green space, along with The Great Miami River Recreation Trail, a 10.5-mile path with scenic, wooded areas that travel along the river, past the Miami Shores Golf Course and two historic locks, and the Hobart Arena, which offers ice skating, hockey and events throughout the year.
Troy, however, has more to offer than family amenities. For about 25 years, the local fire department has run Operation Safeguard, a program designed to check in daily on elderly residents who live on their own. And, in 1994, one of the country’s first bicycle paramedic programs was organized to shorten emergency response time during events and festivals.
Education is another reason residents like Bastin love Troy. It’s a step ahead of many cities, with programs to help mainstream special-needs students into classrooms, nationally accredited preschools and an exchange program with Takahashi City, Japan, Troy’s sister city for nearly 20 years. When students return from Japan, they don’t just toss aside the experience: Many maintain friendships or start clubs to teach classmates about Japanese culture.
In Troy, understanding different customs is important to the residents. Aside from fostering their sister-city relationship, they host the annual Festival of Nations each August to showcase food, entertainment, crafts and cultural exhibits from different countries, including Italy, Colombia, France and Peru, to name a few. The festival takes place in Troy’s attractive downtown area, which maintains a small-town feel despite big-time development. Thanks to the efforts of Troy Main Street, new businesses (The Caroline restaurant) and long-standing institutions (K’s Hamburger Shop) blend with the historic feel of the area, anchored by the circular fountain in the city’s public square. Painted strawberries dot the downtown streets in honor of Troy’s annual strawberry festival, a small tribute to the large event that draws people in from all over the country, and landscaping is maintained throughout the year.
Notable landmarks stand just a few blocks from downtown. The Miami County Courthouse, a Beaux Arts-style building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is adorned with hammered copper statues and an ornate dome, complete with a Goddess of Justice overlooking the city.
Residents of the Southwest Historic District, an area comprised of houses dating back more than a century, joined together around 20 years ago to create their own designation within the city. Aside from organizing and participating in events, they have pledged to maintain the historic beauty of their homes.
Nearby, the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, located in a 1914 Romanesque mansion, offers exhibits, events, workshops and educational programs throughout the year.
It’s these amenities and more that keep people in Troy and make lifelong residents out of newcomers.
“I’ve lived many other places, and I love Troy,” Bastin says. “It has everything I want.”