Kasich Signs Bill with Clean Ohio Funding

June 13th, 2012

On Monday, Governor Kasich signed House Bill 487—also known as the Mid-Biennial Review Bill [MBR]—including a $42 million allocation for the Clean Ohio Fund. Greater Ohio would like to thank the General Assembly and Gov. Kasich for supporting the Clean Ohio Fund, which contributes to the quality of life and economic development of many Ohio communities.

The MBR, subtitled the Management Efficiency Plan (MEP), is a new effort by Gov. Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly to evaluate and refine Ohio’s $55.7 billion budget at the midpoint of the two-year budget cycle, as opposed to solely at its conclusion. The stated purpose of the MEP is to “streamline operations, reduce costs and improve delivery of services for Ohio taxpayers.” The Governor used his line-item veto authority multiple times, but he kept appropriations for Clean Ohio Fund intact.

The Clean Ohio Fund is a state fund authorized by Ohio taxpayers in 2000, and again in 2008, to support brownfield revitalization, farmland preservation, green space conservation, and recreational trails. The allocated $42 million will be shared between Clean Ohio’s Green Space Conservation and Farmland Preservation programs. Communities can apply for the Clean Ohio funding, which requires a private match of 25-50 percent, and then applicants are scored and peer reviewed in a competitive process so that only the most qualified projects are ultimately funded. Private organizations and local communities become the owners of the projects and they are responsible for ongoing maintenance and improvement costs. Since the upfront cost of land is often prohibitive, the Clean Ohio Fund allows communities to protect land that they might not have been able to otherwise.
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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 Importance of Walkable Neighborhoods

June 1st, 2012

Source: Zillow.com data analysis by Christopher B. Leinberger, Brookings Institution. Originally posted on NYtimes.com.

By John Gardocki, GO Intern

In a New York Times article by Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS,   convenient, walkable places are in demand.  Different cities throughout the U.S. are reaping benefits from making their cities walkable, friendly environments. Leinberger provides many examples of the demand for walkable cities including Columbus, OH, Denver, CO, and Seattle, WA.  Leinberger stresses the integration of developers and investors to work towards walkable communities.

Leinberger uses a tool he calls the walkability ladder, a step by step analysis rating least walkable to most walkable.  This tool can be used to evaluate the strength of the city. As a neighborhood moves up each step of the five-step walkability ladder, the average household income of those who live there increases some $10,000.  Leinberger’s article finds that on average, each step up the walkability ladder adds $9 per square foot to annual office rents, $7 per square foot to retail rents, more than $300 per month to apartment rents and nearly $82 per square foot to home values.

In a study by Brookings Institution, completed by Mariela Alfonzo and Leinberger about the effect walkability has on commercial and residential real estate, many walkable communities are seeing postive changes to property values.  Brookings found:

  1. More walkable places perform better economically
  2. Walkable places benefit from being near other walkable places
  3. Residents of more walkable places have lower transportation costs and higher transit access, but also higher housing costs
  4. Residents of places with poor walkability are generally less affluent and have lower educational attainment than places with good walkability

Walkable communities are especially important to the younger generation.  According to Brookings, young families want the advantages of walkable urban life, but also high-quality suburban schools.  This trend is about the revitalization of center cities and the urbanization of suburbs.
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