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Life’s Better Here in Van Wert County

My journey to discover why life’s better in 21 Country takes me across state lines this week, to Van Wert County, Ohio. 

Downtown Van Wert combines historic charm with modern flair.  

“There’s things happening little by little that are bringing people back. Downtown is important to a community and it’s good to have a vibrant downtown and things to bring people together,” said Mark Verville, president of the Van Wert Chamber of Commerce. 

Re-imagined spaces for events offer new places for people to gather. But it’s not just about what’s new. Rediscovering what’s familiar and overlooked brings a different life to Van Wert. 

“The next event we have is Hidden Spaces where we go in buildings that people haven’t been in for a long time and they really get to see a different grasp of the Main Street,” said Mitch Price, historical executive director of Van Wert Main Street. 

There’s more than scenery that makes Van Wert special. Pop into any shop or restaurant, and you’ll find a community that cares for each other. 

“It’s nice when I can go into a restaurant and they know what you like they know what you’re going to order. You just see the same people over and over,” Price said. “You just get really that family-oriented place. That’s what we have and that’s what I want my kids to feel when they get a little bit older as well.” 

Speaking of kids, the Children’s Garden at Smiley Park might be the happiest little place in Van Wert County. Wander around and admire the beautiful colors and playful features that are sure to inspire young minds. Programs are held throughout the summer at the garden to teach future gardeners how to develop their green thumb.  

Just down the road from Smiley Park, the Niswonger Performing Arts Center brings arts and culture to Van Wert all year long. On top of the internationally recognized performances that stop at the NPAC, the community concert series allows up and coming artists to carve their paths through Van Wert.

“Van Wert’s the place to be,” Price said. “We’re on the rise. We’ve got great energy we’ve got great leadership and I’m excited for the future.” 

With so much to discover, take a ride and see why Life’s Better in Van Wert County.

To find out more about all that’s going on in Van Wert County, visit

Nikki Pietrus

Nikki Pietrus is the Morning Meteorologist at Fort Wayne’s NBC News.

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