Greater Ohio Policy Center Uncovering Solutions to Commercial Vacant Property

October 19th, 2012

As part of our Healthy Properties, Rebuilding Communities Initiative, GOPC is developing state policy reforms that will assist communities in stabilizing commercial properties.  Commercial properties—strip malls, urban core buildings with retail or commercial activity on the first floor and residential space on upper floors, office buildings and other non-industrial properties—pose unique challenges for redevelopment, but are a valuable resource in a state where sparking entrepreneurialism, training and retaining the workforce, and attracting businesses are key economic development strategies.

Building on our expertise in residential property stabilization and redevelopment, Greater Ohio is now researching practices and policies that will assist communities in returning vacant commercial properties to productive use.  We are currently investigating ways to reform code enforcement statutes, hold owners accountable for neglected properties and identify ways to support the demolition or rehabilitation of vacant properties. 

GOPC is also partnering with the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF)’s  Urban Development x, to develop a Vacant Commercial Property Reuse Toolkit.  This Toolkit will support economic and community development teams and nonprofits, local and state policymakers and community groups as they work to transition vacant commercial property into productive reuse that is strategically linked to community economic development goals.  

Addressing the commercial vacant and abandoned properties challenge is an essential revitalization component for Ohio by providing key sites for economic and business redevelopment.  During the next 8 months to a year, Greater Ohio Policy Center will uncover and document solutions that lead to putting the pivotal commercial properties in our cities and communities back to use. Check our website and newsletter often for updates and reports on our research.

GOPC Speaks at Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists

October 15th, 2012

This past weekend, the Greater Ohio Policy Center gave the closing lunch address at the Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists Annual Meeting, held at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.  Speaking to undergraduate and graduate students, academic faculty and researchers, GOPC presented an overview of our current policy agenda and described the ways we work to move this agenda at the Statehouse. 

Greater Ohio Policy Center also raised several ideas on how the policy center could partner with Ohio’s college and university classrooms and centers.  One potential research project received a lot of interest and once it is further developed, GOPC will put out a call so that all higher education centers across the state have an opportunity to participate.

Greater Ohio Raises Benefits of Regionalism to Local Government Fiscal Officers

October 8th, 2012

On October 3, 2012, Greater Ohio Policy Center spoke at the Central Ohio Association of Government Accountants about the potential for service sharing among local jurisdictions and the importance of such collaboration in paving the way towards local governance reform and regional economic development.

Joined on the panel by Hugh Quill of Public Performance Partners and Steve Campbell, Director of Regional Growth Initiatives at the City of Columbus, Greater Ohio spoke to the benefits of shared services and other collaborative relationships, such as increased service delivery, lower costs and the creation of a more regional culture throughout Ohio.

Greater Ohio Policy Center strongly believes that Ohio must reduce duplication within our local government activities—in a thoughtful and strategic way.  In streamlining how local government delivers services, natural regions can form among former local competitors and excess funds can be direct back into our communities and schools.

As one important route toward sustainable statewide prosperity, reforms among local governance structures and regional approaches to economic development must occur if Ohio wants to compete in the 21st century.