February 18th, 2014
Greater Ohio congratulates the City of Piqua, Ohio on receiving national recognition for developing complete streets. According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of national non-profit Smart Growth America (SGA), the complete streets policy that Piqua passed last year ranked 9th in the country, out of more than 80 cities, states, and regions that passed similar policies in 2013. SGA says this makes Piqua “a national leader in making streets safer and more convenient for everyone who uses them.”
Complete streets policies “encourage planners and engineers to design and build streets that are safe and convenient for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel,” according to SGA.
SGA’s rankings are “intended to celebrate the communities that have done exceptional work in crafting comprehensive policy language over the past year.” The evaluators determine scores based on 10 technical elements of an ideal Complete Streets policy. The communities with the top-scoring policies of 2013 are:
1. Littleton, MA
2. Peru, IN
3. Fort Lauderdale, FL
4. Auburn, ME (tie)
4. Lewiston, ME (tie)
6. Baltimore County, MD
7. Portsmouth, NH
8. Muscatine, IA
9. Piqua, OH
10. Oakland, CA
11. Hayward, CA (tie)
11. Livermore, CA (tie)
11. Massachusetts Department of Transportation (tie)
14. Cedar Falls, IA (tie)
14. Waterloo, IA (tie)
More information about the winning policies and evaluation criteria, and what Piqua scored, is available here.
Nationwide, a total of 610 jurisdictions in 48 states have Complete Streets policies in place.
February 14th, 2014
Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute recently released a new study that analyzes the economic impact of residential demolition in the Cleveland area between 2009 and 2013. The report’s findings estimate a net benefit of $1.40 for every dollar invested in demolition activity, with larger benefits in high and moderately functioning markets and little to no benefit in weak markets. It also shows that mortgage foreclosure rates decreased in neighborhoods—across all income levels—where demolition activity took place.
This study demonstrates the value of demolition as part of a comprehensive strategy to stabilize our communities that struggle with property vacancy. It provides information that can help guide demolition activity to make the most efficient use of limited resources. This study is very timely in light of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s release last week of an additional $3.8 million in demolition funding awards under the Moving Ohio Forward program.
The study was written by Nigel Griswold, Benjamin Calnin, Michael Schramm, Luc Anselin, and Paul Boehnlein, with support from Thriving Communities Institute, the Cleveland City Council, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Eva L. and Joseph M. Bruening Foundation, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, and land banks throughout Ohio.
January 22nd, 2014
Throughout 2013, we championed revitalization and sustainable growth across Ohio. We are proud of all we have accomplished.
To fill you in on what’s been going on at GOPC’s office and throughout the state in the past year, we have taken stock of some of our major 2013 accomplishments:
2013 BY THE NUMBERS
5 groundbreaking reports published on the economic benefits of smart development
27 expert quotes in newspapers and other media sources in Ohio and beyond
30 presentations, including 2 overseas
300 participants at our Revitalizing Vacant Properties Conference
4,000 supporters and growing
To see the complete list of our 2013 Accomplishments, click here.
January 17th, 2014
Our friends at Center for Community Progress released a report today, entitled Placemaking in Legacy Cities: Opportunities and Good Practices. The report uses case studies to explore placemaking in four different settings: downtowns, anchor districts, neighborhoods and corridors/trails.
The report features a case study on the revitalization and expansion of Washington Park in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Like the neighborhood as a whole, Washington Park was plagued by physical deterioration and crime problems a decade ago. Now, however, it has become one of the centerpieces of OTR’s renaissance and a link connecting OTR with the rest of Downtown Cincinnati.
Based on their analysis of Washington Park and OTR, the report’s authors highlight several lessons for other communities:
- Developing Strong Partnerships: The Washington Park project was possible thanks to strong relationships between the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), the city government, and corporate and philanthropic supporters. Strong relationships must also be maintained with area residents of varying income levels.
- Managing Great Public Places: Good event programming and marketing of those events is important to keep attracting visitors, both from Cincinnati and beyond. Washington Park has showcased musical performances, movie viewings, a kickball league, and flea markets. Some concerts in 2012 drew between 6,000 and 8,000 attendees. The park also features amenities like a dog park and children’s playground, which attract steady, day-to-day groups of visitors.
- Celebrating a Unique Community Character: The design of both the renovated and new parts of the park included partners with the skills and knowledge to create a space that complements OTR’s historic architecture.
We believe the Washington Park revitalization represents a national model for great urban placemaking.
December 6th, 2013
Throughout November, the Columbus Dispatch has been publishing a series of articles on the “Legacy of Neglect” of vacant and abandoned properties throughout Columbus. This article series has revealed some of the serious challenges related to dealing with slumlords that are perpetuating the vacant and abandoned property problem in Ohio.
Greater Ohio is mentioned in the article “Landlords cloaked from citations, prosecution” for our work with a group of financial institutions and other organizations to investigate possible practical and policy fixes around the state. Together, we need to stem the vacant property crisis to restore prosperity to Ohio.
November 15th, 2013
The Second Annual Economic Development 411 (ED411) is designed to showcase best practices in economic development for elected officials, community leaders and business leaders in the Columbus Region.
“You are part of the reason why the Columbus Region is realizing an economic development surge and being recognized as a leader in job growth. ED411 will allow you to learn how we can work together to maintain our dynamic and growing economy.”
Friday, December 6
8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The Ohio Union at Ohio State University
$25 per person, includes continental breakfast and lunch
Last year’s event sold out. To ensure your space, please register here.
The event will feature two acclaimed speakers:
Bruce Katz, founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution
Mark Lautman, founding director of Community Economics Lab and author of When the Boomers Bail.
ED411 will also include four breakout sessions:
- Workforce and Talent
- Site Preparedness
- Economic Incentives
- Regional Case Studies
Local and national experts will share their insights and advice on how best to move our communities forward.
For more information, including details on event parking, please visit columbusregion.com/ED411.
This program has been created by our friends at the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and Columbus 2020.
October 4th, 2013
EPA Region 5—serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin—just released a new toolkit for cities, counties and land banks undertaking large-scale residential demolitions. The report, “On the Road to Reuse: Residential Demolition Bid Specification Development Tool,” includes valuable information on:
- Environmental issues associated with residential demolitions, from pre-planning to demolition to site rehabilitation (e.g., hazardous materials abatement, fill material selection and placement, material recycling or deconstruction).
- Specific practices that can be incorporated into the demolition contracting process to achieve better environmental outcomes.
- Existing regulations and best management practices concerning residential demolitions.
- Bid specification language that instructs contractors on the technical requirements of greener demolition projects.
The purpose of this toolkit is to assist cities, counties, land banks and other entities with the inclusion of greener practices in the demolition bid specification used during the contracting process. The use of environmentally beneficial demolition will result in better site conditions and will better prepare vacant lots for future reuse.
For more details on reclaiming vacant properties, make sure to check out our upcoming conference:
“Revitalizing Ohio’s Vacant Properties: Tools & Policies to Transform Communities”
October 22-23, 2013
The Westin Columbus
310 S. High Street
Columbus, Ohio, 43215
September 4th, 2013
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced that he will be extended the deadline for counties wishing to apply for demolition funds under the Moving Ohio Forward Program. The program has been a rousing success so far, demolishing almost 5,000 blighted properties across the state.
With the deadline now extended to May 31, 2014, communities will have an opportunity to apply for the full amount of funds allocated to them. According to records posted by the Attorney General’s office, almost $5 million in funds are currently unclaimed.
The Greater Ohio Policy Center has been providing technical assistance to counties applying for and utilizing the Moving Ohio Forward funds. For more information on GOPC’s relationship with the Attorney General’s office, please see our web page, which gives a background on our role in this program and includes resources that can help communities make strategic use of their demolition dollars.
For more information on the program extension, please visit the Ohio Attorney General’s website.
June 26th, 2013
GOPC Summer Intern Rachel Ellman, GOPC Intern John Gardocki and GOPC Projects Coordinator Christina Burke in the Senate Chamber before the introduction of SB149.
Yesterday was an exciting day for the Greater Ohio Policy Center. GOPC—in partnership with Ohio CDC Association, Heritage Ohio, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing and Habitat for Humanity-Ohio—has been working with legislators for almost a year to develop a state program that will provide tax credits to for-profit corporations that invest in place-based catalytic neighborhood projects.
That proposed program, the Neighborhood Infrastructure Assistance Program (NIAP), was introduced on the Ohio Senate floor yesterday as Senate Bill 149 (SB 149). Sponsored by Senator Bill Beagle, and co-sponsored by Sen. Cliff Hite and Sen. Gayle Manning, this bill help leverage private dollars for community projects critical for the attractiveness and economic competitiveness of the state.
If passed, the NIAP tax credits could be used for corporate and business donations to project such as:
- Renovating an historic theater
- Streetscaping a central business district
- Developing affordable housing for families
- Building a community center
For more information about this program and to add your name to the growing list of private, public and nonprofit supporters list, please visit this link.
May 1st, 2013
A new study released by GOPC finds that public investments in brownfield sites through the state Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund (CORF) generate outsized economic benefits for Ohio’s taxpayers and communities. Based on 21 CORF projects selected for diversity in their degree and type of end use, geographic location, and other characteristics, the GOPC study found the CORF generated substantial direct and indirect economic impacts.
- The 21 projects resulted in a net positive value for the state’s investment, producing $1.16 billion in one-time contributions and contributing $1.4 billion annually to the state’s Gross Domestic Product.
- Goods and services related to predevelopment alone produced a return on investment of $4.67 in new economic activity for every one dollar spent by the Program on the 21 projects.
- For every direct job created or sustained through activities tied to a remediated brownfield, more than one additional job was indirectly created or sustained by the 21 projects.
- Predevelopment and construction activities in the 21 projects created more than $360 million in household and business earnings, while ongoing project operations produce almost $500 million a year in household and business earnings annually.
- The 21 projects annually generate $55 million in state and local taxes and were responsible for an additional $42 million in one-time state and local taxes.
Since 2002, CORF has made grants totaling over $315 million to support the clean-up of 160 brownfield sites in 71 communities. Due to time and resource constraints, GOPC limited its analysis to a representative sample of 21 projects at various levels of development and success located across the state.
If all 160 CORF-funded sites experienced the same level of success and failure demonstrated in the 21 sites of the study, benefits to Ohioans would be projected at 7.6 times the above benefits, including: over $8 billion in one-time and over $10 billion in annual contributions to the state GDP; over $2.5 billion in one-time household and business earnings based on remediation and construction activities and over $3.5 billion in annual household and business earnings; and $418 million annually in state and local taxes.
“The Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund has been an incredible asset to Ohio,” said Lavea Brachman, GOPC Executive Director. “This grant program has not only protected Ohio’s environment but has served as a critical catalyst for economic development in Ohio’s communities and generated state-level return on investment. A nationally recognized program, we now have the facts to demonstrate that it reaps incredible dividends for Ohio’s taxpayers and communities.”
The study also identified a “ripple effect” throughout the state economy from the jobs created through the cleanup activities and reuse operations. Brownfield sites are scattered by the hundreds throughout the state in cities of all sizes as well as rural areas, a legacy of Ohio’s industrial past.
Click here to download the report.
Recent news featuring the report:
“Report Highlights Economic Benefits of Brownfield Redevelopment”
Ideastream – 5/3/2013
Reporter Bill Rice
“Clean Ohio program worth its cost many times over, analysis finds”
Columbus Business First - 5/1/2013
Reporter Jeff Bell