U.S. Route 23 just got a new name in Delaware County, Ohio: It’s DC23 – or Delaware Connection 23.
Community partners in a project to revitalize this north-south corridor introduced Tuesday the new name and logo that will become part of development and redevelopment projects that border the route.
The brand’s goal, said project manager Kelsey Scott, is to establish a sense of place for those living, working, or driving along DC23.
“We believe this logo speaks to DC23 as both a main transportation artery and a road to progress,” said Scott, an economic development coordinator with Delaware County.
DC23 is part of an iconic thoroughfare with a history going back nearly 200 years when the Ohio General Assembly established the Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike in 1826. By 1926, the road was integrated into U.S. Route 23, a federal highway that extends from Jacksonville, Florida, to Mackinaw City, Michigan.
In Delaware County, DC23 has always been a major transportation route, whether by horse, car, or the interurban rail line that ran down its center in the early part of the 1900s. Today, DC23 is bordered by small and large businesses, residential developments, several major educational institutions, and abundant farm land and green space. And there is growing pressure to develop this valuable real estate.
“We know from studies we’ve done that preserving and protecting the quality of life in Delaware County is of paramount importance to our residents,” said Jeff Benton, current president of the Delaware County Board of Commissioners. “We also know that working cooperatively with all our stakeholders will make it possible for us to manage growth wisely without sacrificing this high quality of life.”
One Delaware, a nonprofit association representing Delaware County businesses, commissioned a study of the corridor in 2019 that analyzed not only how growth will continue to impact the corridor, but also how infrastructure, planning, zoning, and other tools of government and commerce can shape that growth prudently.
“DC23 is an amazing opportunity for expanded commercial development and job creation throughout Delaware County,” said Steve Cuckler, a local attorney and member of One Delaware. “Too many of our residents leave the county every day to go to work: We want them to work here. We are pleased to see local governments embrace job creation policies that will make all of Delaware County an even better place to live and work.”
One of the first phases has been the development of a brand identity for the corridor. Guide Studio, a design firm based in Cleveland, has previously worked with the City of Delaware, Delaware County and Orange Township on rebranding projects. It was hired to bring together community stakeholders and identify the corridor’s unique attributes. These stakeholders included representatives from local governments, schools like Columbus State Community College and the Delaware Area Career Center, businesses like Greif Inc. and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and civic organizations like Destination Delaware County and Sustainable Delaware Ohio. A survey of local residents also was conducted, which attracted more than 700 respondents.
Based on this feedback, Guide Studio developed a brand plan and logo that emphasizes the “green and growing” shared vision for the route.
“The colors, type font, and design elements were chosen to emphasize the ideas of connectivity, sustainability and groundedness,” said Scott.
The project now enters its next critical stage — developing the governmental tools necessary for smart growth. Orange Township Trustee Ryan Rivers said the township’s Zoning Commission is currently considering the creation of an overlay zoning district along DC23 that would include such features as parking positioned behind buildings, more cohesive design standards, and an increase in the types of allowable uses.
“Our economic focus has had recent success along Route 23 with the Creekside Industrial Park and the Kerbler project, which includes the Home Road extension,” Rivers said. “Now Orange Township is proud to serve as a lead community for the DC23 vision and new brand. Among the many benefits, the brand brings us a much-needed sense of place.”
For more information about the DC23 project, visit https://23corridor.co.delaware.oh.us/.
Submitted by Delaware County.