You are browsing the archive for 2013 February.

February Board Meeting: Exploring Scenario Planning

February 27, 2013 in ACT, Engagement, Scenario Planning

Example of Scenario Planning from Des Moines, IA Tomorrow Plan Project, provided by Sasaki Associates

Did you know you can view a copy of all of NEOSCC Board meetings on our VibrantNEO YouTube Channel?  Our meetings are always held on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 1:00 pm.  In our meeting yesterday, we explored the Scenario Planning/Fiscal Impact process.  This was followed by an update on the Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice Study and Action Product Development.  We also announced some of the upcoming communication and engagement tools that will be rolled out to the public soon.

The video of our meeting yesterday will be posted to our channel over the next week.  If you are curious, you can access a pdf here:  NEOSCC Board Meeting Presentation.

What Can I Do Today?

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Sources

February 26, 2013 in Environment, News, Sustainability

Image Courtesy of motherjones.com

In 2011, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated its Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources. EPA’s intent is to study the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, if any. EPA also wants to identify the driving factors that may affect the severity and frequency of drinking water resource impacts. EPA has designed the scope of the research around five stages of the hydraulic fracturing water cycle. Each stage of the cycle is associated with a primary research question:

1. Water Acquisition: What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of large volume water withdrawals from ground and surface waters?

2. Chemical Mixing:
What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of hydraulic fracturing fluid surface spills on or near well pads?

3. Well Injection:
What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of the injection and fracturing process?

4. Flowback and Produced Water:
What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of flowback and produced water (collectively referred to as “hydraulic fracturing wastewater”) surface spills on or near well pads?

5. Wastewater Treatment and Waste Disposal:
What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of inadequate treatment of hydraulic fracturing wastewater?

EPA’s study will ultimately produce a final report that describes 18 research projects underway to answer these research questions. The research projects are organized according to five different types of research activities: analysis of existing data, scenario evaluations, laboratory studies, toxicity assessments, and case studies. The EPA is committed to conducting a study that uses the best available science, independent sources of information, and a transparent, peer-reviewed process that will ensure the validity and accuracy of the results.

The EPA has designated the report as a “Highly Influential Scientific Assessment,” which will undergo peer review by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, an independent and external federal advisory committee that conducts peer reviews of significant EPA research products and activities. Individual reports and papers will come out of both the internal and external review processes to ensure appropriate use of data. The final report of results will be released for public comment in 2014.

Additional information about the EPA’s Study of Hydraulic Fracturing is available at http://www.epa.gov/hfstudy/index.html. This site includes links to the December 2012 progress report, the executive summary, press releases, and information on how interested stakeholders may participate. Any questions about the site or the study may be directed to Katie Wagner (wagner.katie@epa.gov) or Dayna Gibbons (gibbons.dayna@epa.gov), the Hydraulic Fracturing Study Website Editors.

Vacant Property Registry

February 25, 2013 in News

Courtesy of mlive.com

Learning from one another is one of the benefits of the Vibrant NEO 2040 planning process.  By the end of this year, one of the deliverables for NEOSCC is a Tools and Best Practices product.  It will include tools, processes, and practices that support, model, and build collaboration and other capacities essential for regional sustainability including best/promising practices; shared data; and replicable templates.

The Conditions and Trends Platform, which is one tool developed by the NEOSCC, identifies housing vacancy rates as a big problem in Northeast Ohio that is in need of a series of solutions (click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the data).  A number of cities have implemented programs such as the Vacant Property Registry to deal with abandoned bank-owned properties, often referred to as REO (Real Estate Owned) properties.  These similar programs have demonstrated potential to address blight and abandonment in many communities across the country.  Locally, communities in Northeast Ohio such as Alliance, Parma Heights, Painesville, Youngstown and Cleveland Heights have all enacted legislation to combat vacant properties.  Click here for a complete list of communities in Ohio that have a Vacant Property Registry and a link to their codified ordinance.

Share Your Thoughts on Fair Housing this week

February 22, 2013 in News

You are invited to attend our Fair Housing Forums this week!  The NEOSCC is currently undertaking a study to evaluate fair housing throughout the 12 Counties of Northeast Ohio.  It is known as a Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. Through a series of Fair Housing Forums, we are reaching out to each of the 12 Counties to listen to your thoughts on this important issue.

Listen to preliminary findings of the study.  Provide your knowledge, opinions, and feelings about fair housing choice.  Please offer your suggestions on how to eliminate impediments to fair housing choice – ways we can work together to further fair housing in Northeast Ohio.

State and Federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, familial status, ancestry or military status.

Meeting Schedule

March 11
9:00am – Summit County, Akron Urban League (President’s Hall), 440 Vernon Odom Blvd., Akron
1:30pm – Cuyahoga County, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (Corporate Offices, Board Room)
8120 Kinsman Rd., Cleveland
6:00pm – Cuyahoga County, Hall of La Sagrada Familia, 7719 Detroit Ave., Cleveland

March 12
9:30am – Wayne County, Wayne Metropolitan Housing Authority (Training & Conference Center),
1273 W. Old Lincoln Way, Wooster
2:00pm – Medina County, City of Medina, City Hall (Multi-purpose Room), 132 North Elmwood Ave., Medina
6:30pm – Lorain County, Lorain County Transportation & Community Center, 40 East Ave., Elyria

March 13
9:30am – Ashtabula County, Ashtabula County Head Start (Lake Erie Room), 4510 Main Ave., Ashtabula
2:00pm – Lake County, Lake County Administration Bldg., 105 Main St., Painesville
6:30pm – Geauga County, Geauga Metropolitan Housing Authority (Community Room)
385 Center St., Chardon

March 14
9:30am – Portage County, Portage County Regional Planning Commission, 124 N. Prospect St., Ravenna
2:00pm – Trumbull County, The Wean Foundation – Western Reserve Room, 147 W. Market St., Warren
6:30pm – Mahoning County, Covelli Center (Community Room), 229 E. Front St., Youngstown

March 15
9:30am – Stark County, The Metropolitan Centre, 601 Cleveland Ave. N.W., Canton

For anyone in need of special accommodations, please provide advance notice at least five days prior to the event by contacting Anthony Kobak (NEOSCC) at 330-375-2949.

Highlight Summit County

February 21, 2013 in News

Common Wealth Inc. Launches 30 Mile Meal Project

February 20, 2013 in News, Quality Connected Places, Sustainability, Trumbull

Please join the Common Wealth, Inc. on February 28th to learn more about 30 Mile Meal, a new regional food project. Natalie Woodroofe of the Athens County Visitors Bureau and Leslie Schaller of ACEnet will give a short luncheon presentation on the project. They will also unveil the 30 Mile Meal website, introduce additional media platforms, talk about events and discuss overall plans for this year!

At lunch, businesses will be recognized that promote local farmers by using local products. If there is a restaurant, store or other business you would like to nominate, please forward the name, contact information and the local product used.

At this time, there are nine partners committed to this project. If you are interested in becoming a partner and commit to doing so before February 28th, you will be recognized as a Founding Partner in all communications. Please use the contact information below to request a membership form.

Meeting information:

Thursday, February 28, 2013
From 12 p.m. until 1:30 p.m.
In the Raymond John Wean Foundation’s Western Reserve Room:
147 W. Market Street, Warren OH 44481

For this event, we suggest a donation of $10. If planning to attend, please RSVP by responding to this email.

The 30 Mile Meal is a local food branding and promotional campaign which aims to provide a shared identity for our many farmers, specialty food producers, retail markets, food events, and independently-owned eateries and bars featuring locally-sourced menus. The effort will help spur economic development and create tourist destinations based on regional food fare.

For anyone interested in obtaining membership forms or attending the luncheon, please contact Christina Perry.

Mobility of NEO Young and Middle-Aged Adults

February 19, 2013 in Housing, News, Planning and Zoning

While Cleveland’s overall population has declined 17% from 2000 to 2010, past research by the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development has demonstrated population gains for certain age demographics in certain regional localities. Mapping Human Capital: Where Northeast Ohio’s Young and Middle-Age Adults Are Locating, the second Briefly Stated report released by the Poverty Center in 2013, expands on the initial research by examining the mobility of young and middle-age adults in Northeastern Ohio.

Using data from the 2000 and 2010 Census, recent Poverty Center researcher Richey Piiparinen determined that young adults (aged 25 to 34) are moving into certain Cuyahoga County municipalities and neighborhoods, especially in the core of Cleveland. Certain minority groups represent some of the highest growth in these localities. These inner-ring communities are recognized for their culture and walkability. It is possible that these characteristics are attractive to younger adults.

Data from this report was recently used in a story by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and will appear in an upcoming article.

In 2012 the Center released a Briefly Stated report Not Dead Yet – The Infill of Cleveland’s Urban Core, originally completed for the Urban Institute, which showed a gain of young adults moving into the urban core. The influx of human capital should be understood so strategy can increase the in-migrating flow.

 

Download the report and its related appendices to read more.

The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development is a research center at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, a graduate school of social work at Case Western Reserve University.

Join the Warren Community Challenge!

February 15, 2013 in Engagement, Housing, News, Trumbull

The Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership along with the City of Warren and the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative are engaging the neighborhoods of Warren in a series of meetings about long term solutions for vacant houses and lots.

 

What Can I Do Today?

Exploring Alternative Fuels and Efficiency in Oberlin

February 14, 2013 in climate action, Sustainability, Transportation

College Joins Project to Reduce Vehicle Emissions and Adopt Alternative Fuels

FEB 11, 2013

Oberlin College has joined in a collaborative project with the city of Oberlin to improve energy efficiency and plan for alternative fuels for its fleet of vehicles.

The city, along with Oberlin College and eight other local partners, recently applied for an $86,000 grant from the Local Government Innovation Fund. The city will select an independent consultant to develop fuel- and cost-saving strategies, and to assess the feasibility of alternative fuels. The project will result in action plans to reduce fuel costs and emissions by 15 percent over three years, as well as logistical and infrastructure plans for the shared use of alternative fuels — including compressed natural gas, propane, electric/hybrid, and biofuels.

Fleet efficiency and alternative fuels are important measures toward achieving Oberlin’s goal of becoming the first climate positive city in the United States, says Oberlin City Manager Eric Norenberg. As signers of the Clinton Foundation Climate Positive Development Program, the city and college are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions below zero by 2050 and 2025, respectively.

“We are committed to good stewardship of the city’s financial resources and the environment, and this grant will help us do both,” Norenberg says. “The city and its partners in this effort will learn how to operate our fleets more efficiently and develop plans to further reduce emissions with alternative fuels and technologies.  Combining these strategies in one project will help move our community towards carbon neutrality.”

The Oberlin Project, a Joint venture between the City of Oberlin and Oberlin Ohio

To promote the expanded adoption of alternative fuels in Lorain County and throughout Ohio, a case study about each fleet’s progress, as well as the complete process and methodology for calculating potential demand alternative fuels will be published on cityofoberlin.com.

In addition to the city and college, the Oberlin Fuel Forward Project includes Oberlin City Schools, New Russia Township, Kendal at Oberlin, Lorain County Joint Vocational School, Lorain County Community College, Republic Services, Custom Cleaning Services, and Lorain County Metroparks.

What Can I Do Today?

Kent’s PARTA Multimodal Transit Center is Underway

February 13, 2013 in Connections, News, Portage

The Kent Central Gateway (KCG) multimodal facility is a planned transit center that will increase transit accessibility and emphasize multi-modal transportation in Kent, Ohio. This is a collaborative project with Portage Area Regional Transit Authority, the City of Kent, and Kent State University. The U.S. Department of Transportation selected the Kent Central Gateway as a recipient of a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant. The multimodal center was one of two transportation projects in Ohio and among 51 nationwide that received $1.5 billion from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Kent Central Gateway will be located between Haymaker Parkway (SR 59), E. Main Street (Kent Ravenna Rd), and S. Depeyster Street in Kent, Ohio. This location lies in downtown Kent within one-quarter mile of Kent State University and the Cuyahoga Riverfront. The Gateway Facility will be a catalyst for economic development that will contribute to a vibrant downtown that is seamlessly connected to the university campus. It will also be environmentally friendly by incorporating “green” design features and a model of sustainable development that emphasizes a diverse transportation system. The project is scheduled to be completed in July 2013. For more information about The Kent Central Gateway, visit the website.

The connection between Kent State University and the City of Kent was also recently highlighted in a New York Times article.