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Who will collaborate for regional, sustainable development?

Marc Lefkowitz  |  03/15/10 @ 12:55pm

HUD officials were in town last week explaining how Greater Cleveland could tap into a $150 million Sustainable Communities Initiative for walkable, affordable, green and transit-accessible development at a regional scale. But does the program's requirement that metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) receive the funds put Northeast Ohio behind the proverbial 8-ball?

Unless the feds decide to change the rules, the only shot we would have is NOACA, the region's transportation MPO. That didn't sit well with city of Cleveland officials, who note that the region and NOACA in particular have a dismal track record coordinating regional land-use and transportation planning.

"Sustainability in regional plans tend to get watered down," remarked Cleveland Planning Director Bob Brown. "NOACA's policies are so broad, they can justify most projects, even those that induce sprawl. I think a plan that strengthens the urban core and doesn't have to please so many constituents would work better."

Applicants would have to explain why regional partners are not involved, said Dwayne Marsh, HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. Otherwise, Cleveland would have to wait and see if it can apply to HUD's Catalytic Grant program ? a proposed portion of the Senate $4 billion Livable Communities Act -- geared to strengthening the urban core.

"For (the federal government) to be in a dialogue about enhancing economic competitiveness through environmental and housing concerns is a break through," Marsh said. "The vision is for opportunity-rich neighborhoods, free from discrimination. As (HUD) Secretary Donovan says, 'sustainability without equity is not sustainable.'"

How will Northeast Ohio capitalize on opportunities to collaborate and tap new resources flowing from Washington for sustainability and regionalism?

HUD will publish its final decision on rules next month. If the rules don't change to allow an NGO to apply, is there a group that wants to work with NOACA on a grant proposal?

  • Cleveland City Council is expected to introduce a resolution of support for a bike-pedestrian path on the Innerbelt Bridge tonight (Monday, March 15). If passed, city council will join Cleveland City Planning, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Senator Sherrod Brown, Governor Ted Strickland, and hundreds of citizens in support of a multipurpose path on the bridge.
  • Google Maps' newest feature is bike maps. Enter a start point and destination and select "Bicycling" from the drop-down menu. You will receive a route that is optimized for cycling, taking advantage of bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly streets and avoiding hilly terrain whenever possible.
  • What's happening with the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit? Get updates on what the volunteer Work Groups have been doing since the 2009 summit on GCBL's 2019 section, including the 2019 blog.

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