Progress continues on advancing proposed Neighborhood Infrastructure Assistance Program

November 13th, 2013

On November 12, 2013 the Greater Ohio Policy Center offered proponent testimony to the Senate Ways and Means Committee on the Neighborhood Infrastructure Assistance Program (NIAP)Senate Bill 149 proposes to create a program that would offer a tax credit to businesses or corporations that make monetary donations to catalytic community development projects.  Providing testimony in partnership with coalition member, the Ohio CDC Association, GOPC and OCDCA explained the design specifics of the program and discussed successes other states have experienced with similar programs.

After GOPC and OCDCA testified, a representative from PNC Bank offered proponent testimony in support of the bill.  PNC has been a leading voice for the creation of this program in Ohio and has many years of experience participating in similar tax credit programs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Providing the private sector—investor—perspective, Stephanie Cipriani, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Community Development Banking, described a range of projects PNC has invested in.  These projects include a housing development and a workforce and early education center.

Last, a nonprofit leader from Asbury Park, New Jersey described the transformation of a neighborhood in Asbury Park which was decimated by race riots and urban renewal projects in the 1970s.  With the help of New Jersey’s Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program, Paul McEvily and Interfaith Neighbors, Inc. have led the revitalization of one of New Jersey’s more disinvested neighborhoods.  McEvily’s testimony included a series of pictures of this neighborhood transformation and the impact of the private-public partnership created through New Jersey’s program, which prompted the Committee Chairman to jokingly propose a field trip to Asbury Park!

The proposed NIAP program still has at least one more hearing in the Senate and at least two more in the House before it can be voted upon by either the full House or Senate.  However, yesterday’s proponent testimonies significantly contributed to the momentum and energy around this proposed program.  Be sure to follow our twitter feed, blog, and newsletters to learn when these hearings will be scheduled.

For background information on the Neighborhood Infrastructure Assistance Program, please visit our webpage.

Legislative Update: GOPC to Give Testimony!

October 30th, 2013

In partnership with Ohio CDC Association and a coalition of supporters, the Greater Ohio Policy Center will be testifying at the Statehouse in support of the Neighborhood Infrastructure Assistance Program on November 5th.  The bills that would create this state tax credit program (SB 149 and HB 219) have begun to receive hearings, which allows for members of the General Assembly to ask questions about the proposed program.  GOPC is excited to be a leading proponent of this legislation.

As previous newsletters have described, the Neighborhood Infrastructure Assistant Program would authorize tax credits for monetary contributions invested in catalytic economic and community development projects undertaken by local governments and nonprofit corporations.

This upcoming legislative hearing would not be possible without the dozens of organizations around the state that have facilitated introductions to legislators or have voiced their support of this bill to their Senator or Representative.  To see the complete range of supporting organizations, we proudly list them on the 1-pager we “leave-behind” with stakeholders and on this webpage.  If you are interested in adding your organization to this list, please email Alison D. Goebel. Your support has been and will continue to be invaluable in moving this legislation toward passage!

The Metropolitan Revolution

July 12th, 2013

Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley co-authored a new book, The Metropolitan Revolution, published by Brookings Institution Press on June 17th.  The book is about Northeast Ohio’s revolution to become a network that sustains economic prosperity.  Since the release, Katz and Bradley have been traveling across the nation on a tour, talking with reporters and stakeholders about the process underway around Cleveland.  Below are some excerpts from their book.

“Metropolitan areas are so big, complicated and diverse that they don’t need heroes.  They need networks.”

“Enter Voices and Choices, a two-year effort to develop a regional economic competitiveness agenda for Northeast Ohio.  Throughout 2005 and 2006, the Fund connected with more than 20,000 residents of the region in one-on-one interviews, town meetings and workshops about the region’s assets, challenges and priorities.  With these insights gathered, Fund collaborators were able to distill four goals to guide regional action: business growth, talent development, racial and economic inclusion, and government collaboration and efficiency.”

“Stakeholders in the region started BioEnterprise, a non-profit that helps inventors connect with experienced managers, venture capitalists, production facilities, other inventors, state and federal grants and whatever else they need to build their company.”

“The Fund estimates that, during its first nine years, the work of its grantees helped add 10,500 jobs, $333 million in payrolls and $1.9 billion in investments to the region.”

“Too many metros are still looking for the next Bill Gates, Michael Dell or Mark Zukerberg.  But there is a growing appreciation for the power of networks, and we need look no further than Northeast Ohio to see why.  These efforts to use networks to bring about a new economy – built on the foundations of the old economy – are aligned with powerful social, economic and cultural forces.”

To listen to a podcast of Bruce Katz talk about the book and its findings on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” click here.

Detroit’s Rebirth: “Future City” Report offers new ideas and solutions

February 13th, 2013

By John Gardocki, Greater Ohio Policy Center Intern

“Cities are living places that require ongoing awareness and firm yet flexible approaches to decision making which acknowledge changing realities and multiple voices, leading to pragmatic and agreed-on solutions” (Detroit Future City Framework, 12).

Future City, a two year report offering short and long term solutions to restore Detroit was recently released by Detroit Works. It is the culmination of an in-depth 24 month process involving 30,000 interviews, 70,000 surveys, and hundreds of public meetings.

Below are some key statistics that demonstrate the challenges Detroit is facing and the need to come together to solve these problems.

  • 79,725 out of 350,000 units are vacant in the city of Detroit-meaning the city has an astounding vacancy rate of 22.7%
  • 700,000 people live in a city originally designed for 2 million people.
  • There is only one job for every four Detroit residents
  • A recent survey of Detroit residents revealed that nearly one-third of the respondents would leave the city within five years, citing safety as the top reason.

Four major targets are to be evaluated in 2030 that stakeholders see in their vision that will be accomplished from the framework.

By 2030, Detroit will have a stabilized population
By 2030 the city will have two or three jobs for each person living in the city
By 2030, the Detroit Metropolitan region has an integrated regional public transportation system
By 2030, Detroit will become a city for all
 

The plan outlines several strategies that should be put into place to make a permanent transformation in Detroit over the next 20 years or more. There are five major planning elements: Economic Growth, Land Use, City Systems, Neighborhoods, and Land and Building Assets built within the framework to enforce the strategies:

  • Economic Growth is intended to make Detroit’s economy more knowledge based by utilizing four economic pillars: Global Trade/Industrial, Digital/Creative, Local Entrepreneurship, and Education & Medical. The four knowledge based sectors are meant to diversify the workforce.
  • Land Use is integral to transforming Detroit by addressing four key ideas: A City of Multiple Employment Districts, A City of Connecting People to Opportunity, A Green City Where Landscapes Contribute to Health, and A City of Distinct, Attractive Neighborhoods. The city’s current footprint is too expansive to meet the current population and fiscal capacity and so it needs to be refocused to be more sustainable.
  • City Systems revises the path to sustainable systems by using three transformative ideas: Strategic Infrastructure Renewal, Landscape As 21st Century Infrastructure, and Diversified Transportation for Detroit and The Region. This element is important to the city to determine which systems are critical to remain online, discontinued, or upgraded. Financially the city cannot afford to give out these resources to areas that are not populated.
  • Neighborhood utilizes five ideas to create more choices for residents: A City of Many Assets, A City of Neighborhood Choices, A City of Different Strategies for Different Neighborhoods, A City of Diverse Housing Types for Diverse Populations, and A City of Residents Who Engage In Their Own Futures. To remain competitive and meet the demands of a 21st century city, Detroit needs to understand the needs of their many neighborhoods and the unique challenges each neighborhood may face.
  • Land and Building Assets is critical to solving Detroit’s vacancy problems which will be initiated by: A City That Shares A Vision: Coordinating the Management of Vacant Land, A City Where Everything Is Connected: Viewing Vacant and Problem Properties Within One Interrelated System, A City of Strategic Approaches: Recognizing The Uniqueness of Each Property’s Value and Challenges, A New Urban Landscape: Using Land for Infrastructure And Innovation, and a City Where Public Facility Investments Count: Aligning Public Facilities With Land Use Transportation. Detroit has numerous neighborhoods that are beset by blight and have vacant land that needs to be utilized for new uses like parks, urban farming, and commercialization. To get a handle on the declining population will mean a critical movement to alter the vacancy problem in Detroit.

The use of info-graphics and GIS data helps to showcase Detroit’s urban crises and how they are interconnected. Figuring out exactly where the problems are heavily weighted will help impact the city’s strategy.

Detroit has a wide range of economic assets that should be capitalized on to fuel economic growth. Assets include existing businesses, institutions and transportation infrastructure. (Detroit Future City Framework, 38).

This first of its kind report can be a great tool for other cities across America facing similar problems to better assess and find new and innovative solutions.

GOPC Speaks at Legacy City Event

December 27th, 2012

On December 11, 2012, Greater Ohio Policy Center’s Executive Director Lavea Brachman joined a panel of urban experts at the “Revitalizing the Legacy Cities of Upstate New York” convening.  The panel held at Syracuse University, opened the two day event, discussing shared challenges and new strategies “legacy cities” can utilize to become globally competitive, build a world class innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, and be more innovative with vacant property and land.

 Brachman stressed the importance of collaboration between legacy cities in disseminating best practices and new polices.  Brachman also spoke of the need for cities to work more regionally and convince people of the center city’s connectedness to a region’s strength.  

 For more information about the event, visit the SyracuseU Live twitter feed.

Common Ground, Not Battleground

December 27th, 2012

By Lavea Brachman, Executive Director, Greater Ohio Policy Center

With the aftermath of the election barely behind us and the so-called “fiscal cliff” looming, political polarization seems unabated.  But beneath the surface and beyond the drama of the national election in “battleground Ohio,” Ohio is less divided in ways that matter to economic progress.  As a bipartisan state policy organization, we are privileged to observe the similarities of governing and good policies among policymakers of both parties.

First, the urban-rural divide characterizing Ohio for decades has quietly and gradually begun to fade away.  Seven major regions in the state exist now, centered around cities. Rural places are increasingly economically dependent on the urban areas and their satellites.  But benefits extend in both directions- for example, urban Columbus-ites enjoy the proximity of the Hocking Hills while those in the Appalachian region benefit from health care and spin off jobs from the city.

Second, for over a decade, policymakers have been turning these regions into the building blocks of the new economy.  Democratic and Republican governors alike embraced the concepts found in a seminal report completed in the mid-2000’s during the Taft Administration, identifying key economic regions in the state and critical industries. A regional economic development approach was initiated under Governor Strickland with now Governor Kasich working on economic redevelopment through on-the-ground regional organizations. While implementation scenarios vary, regional economic growth efforts – corresponding loosely to metropolitan regions — are starting to take hold.
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Columbus Taking a Giant Leap Toward Multi-Modal Transit

December 14th, 2012

By John Gardocki, Greater Ohio Policy Center Intern

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman recently announced a plan to roll out the first bike share program in the state in the summer of 2013.  The metropolitan cities of Chicago, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and Portland all have successful programs.  New York City and Columbus seem to be the next big ones to join in the craze. 

Managed by Alta Bicycle Share, the program will include approximately 30 stations with 10 bikes at each station for a total of 300 bicycles- however you can return the bike at any of the 30 stations located at major spots in Downtown and the surrounding communities. 

Public involvement will be integral for the locations of the bike share stations.  With the addition of the bike share program, Columbus will have an additional transit option in the downtown area for residents and business people.  Alta operates Capital Bike share in the Washington, D.C. area, Hubway in the Boston Metro, Melbourne Bike Share (Australia), and Chattanooga’s Bicycle Transit System.  Capital Bike Share has seen an increase in all types of memberships since beginning operations in 2010. 

There are many pro-bike coalitions across the U.S. that collect statistics to compare with other modes of transportation.  It is important to document the statistics of bicycling so people can see whether or not it will be beneficial for them to switch modes of transportation.  Bikes Belong is an organization devoted to increasing the amount of bikers on the roads.  Bike commuters report lower stress and greater feelings of freedom, relaxation, and excitement than car commuters. Appleton, M., 2011 While Columbus has a relatively stress-free commute compared to other metropolitan cities; it still puts a hamper on people’s behaviors.

Bike share is a cost effective solution for urban center residents and workers to commute sustainably.  The Bureau of Transportation Statistics in 2010 stated, “The average American household spends $7,179 per year on owning and driving their cars. Cost savings for riding a bicycle are incredible especially if it is done on a daily basis.”

With the implementation of the bike share Columbus will not only be providing more transit options; but also improving the region’s health by reducing carbon emissions and encouraging exercise.  With more people bicycling on the streets, drivers should be more willing to share the road thus making it safer for all types of transportation modes.  This exciting development will be watched closely as implementation occurs because Columbus residents have been seeking greater investment into transportation choices.

Greater Ohio scores a good win with HB 436, just signed by Governor Kasich

June 6th, 2012

By Gene Krebs

HB 436 creates a one stop site for economic development professionals to use to find the attributes of various physical locations around Ohio, and develops the criteria.  Greater Ohio was able to suggest an amendment to the bill that encourages ODOD to include quality of life and community issues, which now elevates those issues as a development criteria, which now places them on equal footing as interstate interchanges.

The bill allows the site to take into account certain quality of life indicators.  This is a good thing. 

Greater Ohio is grateful to Representatives Grossman and Anielski for allowing the amendment, and to the Governor for signing the bill.

ULI Columbus Presents: Columbus 2050

June 4th, 2012

ULI Columbus and their partners present Columbus 2050, a strategic vision on how we will LIVE, WORK and PLAY in Central Ohio by the year 2050.

Columbus 2050 Description

Over the past 40 years, the population of Central Ohio has grown by 707,000 people, adding 235,900 between 2000 and 2010 alone. If the region grows at even half the rate of the past ten years, 604,000 will be added to the area by 2050. Absorbing a population that equates to the entire city of Boston will take some planning.

In furtherance of its mission to promote the responsible use of land, ULI Columbus, in partnership with the City of Columbus, Franklin County, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and The Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture, Department of City and Regional Planning, has developed a strategic vision that explores where and how we will Live, Work and Play in Central Ohio in the year 2050. This strategic vision is focused around eight themes: Metro Metrics; The City Wild; Water, Power, Light; Getting Around; Whole Buildings; Full Spectrum Housing; Plan it. Build It; and Click, Learn, Go, Get.

To download the full Columbus 2050 report, click here.

The Global Cities Initiative

May 2nd, 2012

Our long-time partner, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, in joint partnership with JP Morgan Chase, is sponsoring “Going Global: Boosting the Economic Future of Ohio”- a Global Cities Initiative Forum, to be held in Columbus on May 9th.  Hosted by The Ohio State University, this unparalleled event will feature former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley; the Honorable Peter Ammon, Ambassador of Germany to the United States; an interview of Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase by David Gregory, host of NBC’s Meet the Press; and representation by Ohio business leaders and policymakers.

Going Global: Boosting the Economic Future of Ohio

Bruce Katz: In the aftermath of the great recession we must pursue a different growth model; the next economy will be metropolitan in form and function; metros are driving innovation in practice, policy and global trade links.

Bruce Katz delivered the featured speech from Columbus, Ohio, at “Going Global: Boosting Ohio’s Economic Future,” the second in a series of domestic and international forums being convened this year by the Global Cities Initiative. The forum, hosted by the Metropolitan Policy program at Brookings and JPMorgan Chase on May 9, explored how metropolitan-led economic growth—including global trade and investment—are important for job creation, and how Ohio can leverage its position in the global market. For more about this event, click here.