Small Communities, Big Challenges

Small Community Workshop Series

Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) partnered with The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland to host an innovative workshops series throughout 2013, focused on specific strategies local and regional government officials and community development organizations can use to help stabilize and restore Ohio neighborhoods. These sessions were tailored to communities with populations of 60,000 and less—small communities that share similar challenges to community revitalization as big cities, but that do not have the same resources as their larger city counterparts. Participants gained valuable insights on tools and strategies they can harness to tackle vacant property issues in their communities and regions.

Other Past Workshops

Data Driven Decision Making Workshop - February 2013

The first workshop of the series, “Data Driven Decision Making” included presentations by Justin Fleming, Program Officer, and Frank Ford, Senior Vice President for Research and Development of Neighborhood Progress, Inc.; Ronald O’Leary, Assistant Director, Department of Building and Housing, City of Cleveland; Paula Boggs Muething, Vice President of Real Estate and General Counsel, Hamilton County Land Bank; Kathy Schwab, Executive Director, LISC Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky; and Todd Portune, Commissioner, Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.

The panelists discussed how to identify and acquire data pertinent to housing quality and community stability, how to analyze the data, and how to make data accessible for use by governmental agencies and non-profits. It also featured examples of how data are used for program and policy decisions.

Beyond Triage Workshop - April 2013

This webinar featured panelists from across the state including:

  • Sister Barbara Busch, Executive Director of Working in Neighborhoods (Cincinnati)
  • Sally Martin, Housing Manger for South Euclid
  • Joel Owens, Director of Community Building Partnership of Stark County

These experts discussed the precursors of abandonment, and how working with area nonprofits can greatly assist smaller communities as they strategically deploy resources to neighborhoods. The webinar demonstrated how local governments and nonprofits together provide foreclosure prevention services and rehabilitation for blighted property. The webinar also addressed the following questions: How can a municipality engage private investment in existing homes that require maintenance or rehabilitation? How can homeowners identify home repair resources? What are the avenues for nonprofits, local governments and private homeowners to access to capital for major rehabilitation?

The Three C's: Comprehensive Community Code Enforcement - June 2013

On June 18, “The three c’s: comprehensive community code enforcement” will discuss how to develop and implement code enforcement strategies based on strategic community development and neighborhood priorities; the importance of collecting liens; using nuisance abatement powers more aggressively; engaging residents and nonprofits as the eyes and the ears of the community; and evaluating changes to state and local law/modernizing codes to better fit the community’s current condition.

It's All About Clear Title: Acquiring Problem Properties - August 2013

On August 20, “It’s all about clear title: acquiring problem properties” will address title search techniques; working with banks and understanding the foreclosure process; receivership; different mechanisms for acquiring problem properties.

Capstone Workshop - October 2013
As a final capstone workshop to the Small and Mid-Size Communities Workshop Series, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Greater Ohio Policy Center hosted an in-person workshop: “Mobilizing a Policy Vision for Ohio’s Smaller Communities.”

This workshop was held during the Revitalizing Ohio’s Vacant Properties Conference, which the Greater Ohio Policy Center and Thriving Communities Institute co-hosted in Columbus.

“Mobilizing a Policy Vision for Ohio’s Smaller Communities” starts from the premise that while many policies and practices apply across the state of Ohio, there are some unique challenges and solutions for our small-to-medium sized cities. This session offered opportunities to attendees to define a vision for Ohio’s smaller communities. Together, panelists and attendees outlined an agenda for organizing, and discussed strategies for mobilizing political will to get systems in synch, at the local, regional and state level.
Panelists included:

  • Deanna West-Torrence (Executive Director, Mansfield Northend Community Improvement Collaborative)
  • Cheryl Subler (Managing Director of Policy, County Commissioners Association of Ohio)
  • Heather McMahon (Executive Director, Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative)
  • Lou Tisler (Executive Director, Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, a NeighborWorks Affliate)