Our collaboration is growing...we are now working with over 110 different organizations throughout the 12-county region. Currently, this collaborative effort is focused on gathering and organizing pre-existing plans and solutions to support framing the project's vision. Understanding our region's existing conditions will provide the foundation for informed deliberations about land use and other regional questions. Once we have a common understanding of where we are, we can talk more effectively about where we hope to be. By May of this year, we intend to have key foundational information available to Consortium members and the public.
This month, NEOSCC released its Vibrant Northeast Ohio engagement plan and public engagement activities will be kicking off over the coming months.
The following is an update of our work stream activities. Here is a link to our Vibrant Northeast Ohio February Newsletter.
Our efforts are organized in five work streams that consist of Consortium members, stakeholders and other subject matter experts from throughout Northeast Ohio. Throughout the process, the connections between the Work Streams will be critical in examining the region's opportunities and challenges.
Economic Development Work Stream
Through January, 2012, the ED Workstream has completed a general review of economic trends in NE Ohio; identified areas of potential collaboration based upon best practices from within the region, and initiated the process of developing an economic development strategy for the NE Ohio region as a whole. Activities in the next five months will include the review of the first draft of the NEOhio economic development strategy being developed by JobsOhio and TeamNEO, identifying specific issue areas which will be the subject of Focus Group deliberation that will lead to a set of preliminary recommendations for the ED Committee and NEOSCC to consider. Much of the work is being done in collaboration with Cleveland State University, TeamNEO, and other key stakeholders in the region.
Environment Work Stream
During meetings in November and January, the members of the Environments Work Stream identified and focused environmental themes and opportunities for connections to the other Work Streams (especially Connections, Strong Economic Base, and Housing & Communities). Overarching themes of the Environments Work Stream are air quality and water quality, which are both strongly influenced by land use. Key land use issues focus on conservation (parks & recreation, natural systems preservation, resource protection), agriculture (farmland preservation, local food production), and development (infrastructure, buildings, energy). The group has also begun to identify existing plans, data sets, and maps from a diverse array of organizations, including Metropolitan Planning Organizations, land conservancies, park districts, and agricultural research groups. The Project Manager (Joe MacDonald) will work with individual Work Stream members during the next few weeks to build a baseline of existing conditions data and outline the Existing Conditions & Current Trends Report, due in May. The Project Manager will also continue working with the Data Management Consultant Team to refine data needs from the Team (may be provided through resources outside the Work Stream Members and their respective organizations).
Housing & Communities Work Stream
The primary focus of the Housing & Communities Work Stream initial meetings has been on defining its role within the initiative and what additional perspectives need to be added to the group. The group's 34 members include representatives from Public Housing, City and County Governments, Policy and Advocacy Groups and Health Districts. Integrating the diverse expertise in the process will be a critical component to the housing and communities plans. In working towards the Existing Conditions and Trends/Issues Report, the committee is gathering Public Housing Agency Plans and HUD Consolidated Plans, among other plans throughout Northeast Ohio. At its January 31st meeting (which will also mark NEOSCC's first virtual gathering) the Work Stream focused on formalizing the group's data needs and identifying the guiding issues for the trends report. Its next meeting will be held on February 23.
Connections Work Stream
During meetings in December and January, the members of the Connections Work Stream have defined the group's mission statement, and identified the work program's goals and outcomes. Utilizing the network of the group's 20 representatives, the Work Stream has collected the major regional transportation plans and along with other local plans. To facilitate the existing conditions and trends report, over the next month the group's four subcommittees will collect data and plans specific to the following subject areas:
- Transit systems and rail,
- Roadways, routes and interstates,
- Streets/parks/bike and pedestrian systems, and
- Connecting places.
Work Stream member, Joe Calabrese, General Manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has contacted the other regional transit systems to set-up a meeting with the regional systems' general managers. This discussion will support the integration of the other systems into the Work Stream process.