Greater Ohio Policy Center's 2017 Summit:
Investing in Ohio's Future: Maximizing Growth in our Cities and Regions
Thank You to Everyone for a Successful 2017 Summit!
Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) would like to thank all speakers, sponsors, staff members, Board members, and attendees for an insightful and successful 2017 Summit! The March 7th and 8th Investing in Ohio's Future Summit featured speakers from Ohio and beyond who shared strategies for building prosperous cities and regions in the state and discussed the benefits of implementing tools that foster sustainable development.
Keynote Speaker Hon. Tom Murphy, ULI
Keynote Speech by Hon. Tom Murphy, Urban Land Institute
This year's keynote speaker was Hon. Tom Murphy, ULI Canizaro/Klingbeil Families Chair for Urban Development and former Mayor of Pittsburgh. In his presentation, Intentionality: Competing in the 21st Century, Murphy underscored the idea that communities possess their own ability to make choices which will create a better future. He highlighted the revitalization work done in Cincinnati, Denver, and Oklahoma City, while emphasizing the civic efforts in Pittsburgh to build an attractive downtown while he was Mayor. To build thriving communities, Murphy emphasized strategic thinking, dynamic leadership, and strong partnerships.
2017 Summit Panel Highlights
Bouncing Back: Revitalization in Ohio’s Small and Medium-Sized Legacy Cities highlighted successful revitalization strategies in Lima, Warren, Hamilton, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. The panel paid particular attention to the challenges and opportunities that a community’s size can create in promoting community and economic development.
Aggregating Ohio’s Strengths: Regional Economic Development Initiatives featured examples of regional initiatives that are leveraging shared regional assets to create new economic opportunities. Panelists shared how initiatives in Northeast Ohio, the Appalachian region, and Southwest Ohio are building stronger ties among communities that are helping make all of them more competitive.
Ohio’s Brownfields: Catalysts for Neighborhood Rebirth highlighted state regulatory policy and financial assistance for brownfield redevelopment. The extra expense of remediation on brownfield sites creates an advantage for greenfield locations, adding to factors that lead to urban sprawl. JobsOhio offers grants and loans for remediation activities to create private sector jobs while the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority has started an impact investment program for brownfield remediation that attracts private capital.
Thinking Outside the Pipe: Modernizing Ohio’s Water Infrastructure included a discussion about Ohio’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure, which will require a combined $26 billion in capital improvements over 20 years. Panelists explored challenges of providing services in Appalachia, and presented innovative ideas such as Newark, Ohio's stormwater project using “green” infrastructure which laid the foundation for redevelopment that has revitalized the city’s downtown.
Neighborhood Bus Tour: The Impact of Housing Investments in Weinland Park was a popular attraction at this year's Summit. Speakers from the Columbus Foundation, The Ohio State University, Campus Partners, and Wagenbrenner gave an overview of Weinland Park's history and recent revitalization, and guided a quick stop at a newly-built single family home. Attendees participated in a dynamic discussion of the long-term commitments and cross sector partnerships that have been integral to addressing the complex needs of the neighborhood.
How Do We Build the Right Mix of Housing for Ohio's Cities explored effective community strategies from around the state to build quality, accessible, and affordable housing. Panelists described how diverse housing environments can appeal to a wide range of demographic groups. With limited federal resources, communities use tools such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), Grants for Grads, and the Purchase Rehab program to overcome financial challenges.
Laying the Cornerstone for Growth: Municipal Budgets in Challenging Times
Panelists discussed the services available from the Auditor of State’s office for local governments that are in fiscal distress and the specific procedures that are used when a local government enters fiscal emergency. To increase financial transparency, the Auditor recently created a database of Financial Health Indicators that can provide early warning signs of potential financial difficulties. The City Manager of Monroe described how the city entered financial emergency in the early 2000s and the decisions that were made that eventually led to restoring fiscal health.
Leveraging Neighborhood Assets: Schools as Keys to Community Stabilization and Regrowth
Panelists discussed data-backed reasons for why neighborhoods are important to education, “educational ecosystems” and the role charter schools have played in redeveloping neighborhoods in the state, and efforts to ensure every child has access to quality education in neighborhood across each city. The panel also included a discussion of the neighborhood school centers in the Dayton area and how they are working to serve as catalysts for change in the city.
Bus, Bike, or Walk: Achieving a Competitive and Cost-Effective Transportation System featured a discussion of ODOT's efforts to boost funding for multimodal transportation around the state, including strengthening street design so they are safe and accessible for bikers and walkers. Panelists also highlighted the business community's role in improving public transportation in Ohio and examples of creative partnerships across local transportation and health agencies to maximize public transit services.
Financing Recovery in Ohio’s Neighborhoods explored the impact of creative financing partnerships, particularly through community development financial institutions (CDFIs), on Ohio’s neighborhoods. The panelists highlighted the diversity of CDFIs operating in Ohio and provided examples of their impact in helping to stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods.
Keynote Speech by Hon. Tom Murphy, Urban Land Institute
This year's keynote speaker was Hon. Tom Murphy, ULI Canizaro/Klingbeil Families Chair for Urban Development and former Mayor of Pittsburgh. In his presentation, Intentionality: Competing in the 21st Century, Murphy underscored the idea that communities possess their own ability to make choices which will create a better future. He highlighted the revitalization work done in Cincincinnati, Denver, and Oklahoma City, while emphasizing the civic efforts in Pittsburgh to build an attractive downtown while he was Mayor. To build thriving communities, Murphy emphasized strategic thinking, dynamic leadership, and strong partnerships.
21st Century Strategies for Supporting Competitive Workforces and Regions
Panelists discussed the spatial mismatch between where people live and work, and strategies their organizations undertake to invest in both people and place. The discussion explored efforts to ensure that companies are investing in the entire workforce system, employers have access to a diverse selection of talented workers, and a recent shift in focus from the supply side to the demand side in an effort to allow employers to fill open positions.
The Road Ahead: Ohio’s Biennium Budget and the Legislative Process
Four former members of the Ohio House and Senate shared their experiences working in the legislature during the state budget process. Former Reps. Mike Dovilla, Cheryl Grossman and Debbie Phillips, along with former Sen. Tom Roberts discussed the need for members to work across the aisle in a bipartisan fashion in order to be effective in making the case for a particular issue that was important to them and their districts, and the need for the public to contact lawmakers and share why issues are important to them. Moderator Andy Chow of the Statehouse News Bureau helped to guide the conversation which offered a behind-the-scenes peak at what current lawmakers are doing to construct the state’s main operating and transportation budgets for the next two years.