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Cleveland Metroparks Watershed Stewardship Center Opens in June

May 31, 2013 in Asset List, Environment

The Cleveland Metroparks’s Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek, staffed by natural resource and education professionals, land protection specialists, volunteers, and visiting scientists, is the first facility in Cleveland Metroparks dedicated to scientific research and promoting sustainable action.

Its mission of enhancing and protecting our urban watersheds will be achieved through innovative community programming, encouraging regional participation in watershed issues, and promoting scientific discovery.

Here some information on the opening celebration, June 21 – 22:

Celebrate the solstice as we joyfully cross the bridge into the new Cleveland Metroparks Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek!

The Watershed Stewardship Center is dedicated to promoting healthy urban watersheds through science, education, research and restoration. This Center was developed through a dedicated partnership between Cleveland Metroparks, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and West Creek Conservancy to serve a diverse community through adult and youth science education programming and professional trainings and workshops. Come explore, discover and delight in the Watershed Stewardship Center’s unique blend of science and technology, paired with green design and grassroots volunteer action.

Learn about your local watershed by viewing our interactive topographic map and tour dozens of water management features. Would you like to meet a Water Hog? Wonder how a green roof makes “cents” by keeping its cool? Want to stroll through our stormwater pipe? There is a new experience for everyone wanting to take a plunge at the Watershed Stewardship Center this summer!

To find out more visit the Metroparks Website.


Public Forum: Transportation as a Civil Rights Issue

May 30, 2013 in Connections, News, Transportation

Chicago’s Congress Parkway now a brighter place

May 29, 2013 in Connections, Transportation

The Congress Parkway in Chicago is now a more colorful corridor.   About 600 LED color-changing lights comprise the new dramatic lighting scheme along Congress Parkway.  This just some of the upgrades that mark the completion of the $24 million roadway reconfiguration and improvement project along the half-mile stretch of the South Loop parkway.  Located on Congress Parkway between Michigan Avenue and Wells Street, the roadway improvement project provides a world-class gateway into the City of Chicago and improves the conditions for the 63,000 vehicles per day that need to pass safely and efficiently through this corridor. A decorative and programmable lighting system with more than 600 LED lights, including free-standing fixtures in the median and lineal fixtures attached to decorative metal trellises throughout the parkway and on the viaduct walls under One Financial Place.  For more information about the Congress Parkway Streetscape, visit the website by clicking here.

What Matters to Metros: Register for Community Forums!

May 28, 2013 in Engagement, News

What Matters to Metros

The Fund for Our Economic Future’s What Matters to Metros™: Foundational Indicators for Economic Competitiveness helps community leaders identify factors that are associated with economic growth in mid-sized U.S. metropolitan areas in a post-recession economy. What Matters to Metros™ can serve civic leaders in metros throughout the United States, but the research bears specific implications for the four largest metropolitan areas in Northeast Ohio: Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown. This research provides data that civic leaders and the Fund can use to ask more strategic questions about how “growth” can be pursued, and to identify their own distinct approaches to get there.

The Fund will be hosting community forums with partners in Northeast Ohio’s four metros in June 2013. You can RSVP by visiting the links below. 

June 5, 9:30a-11:30a at the Stark Community Foundation (400 Market Ave N, Canton, OH 44702)
Partners:  Stark Community Foundation and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce

June 20, 8:30a-10:30a, D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitor Center, Fellows Riverside Gardens at Mill Creek MetroParks (123 McKinley Avenue, Youngstown, OH  44509)
Partners:  The Raymond John Wean Foundation and the Trumbull 100

June 24, 10a-12n Quaker Square Inn (135 S Broadway St., Akron, OH 44325)
Partners:  Akron Community Foundation and the University of Akron

June 28, 8a-10a, location TBD
Partners:  Saint Luke’s Foundation and The Community Foundation of Lorain County

Vibrant NEO 2040 Workshop Boards

May 23, 2013 in Communications, Engagement, Vibrant NEO 2040

The following is a gallery of boards that were displayed during the regional workshop open houses on April 30th – May 2nd.

Eastgate releases 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan

May 22, 2013 in MPOS, Transportation

In April, the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments (a NEOSCC Board Member) released its 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP).

The MTP is a long range planning document that brings together local governments to identify transportation needs and coordinate transportation projects and policies over the next two decades. Eastgate coordinates the development of the MTP with communities throughout the planning area, and with other local, state and federal agencies. The MTP keeps Mahoning and Trumbull Counties eligible to receive federal transportation funding to improve, maintain, and operate highways, public transit, bikeways, sidewalks, and related facilities. Transportation projects must be included in the MTP to be eligible to receive federal funding within the Eastgate planning area.

.  You can access the entire plan here.

Ashtabula County’s Pairings Initiative

May 21, 2013 in Collaboration, economic development, News, Quality Connected Places

Located along Lake Erie and the Pennsylvania border in Northeastern Ohio, Ashtabula County is Ohio’s largest in terms of land area. However, it is not only the size of Ashtabula County that makes it unique among all Ohio counties. Its location and topography bestow upon it the most unique microclimate in the region. Situated where the Lake Erie escarpment is closest to the lake provides gradual warming temperatures in the spring and warm lake-effect air in the fall. This moderating microclimate and above-average to ideal soil conditions are perfect for growing grapes. Perched atop the remnants of glacial beaches and covered with vines planted over generations, the Lake Erie and Grand River Valley grape growing regions are the largest in Ohio. Ashtabula County alone produces 65% of all Ohio’s grapes.[1] Here lies the heart of Ohio wine country, where agriculture, economic development and tourism have come together through community collaboration to celebrate one of Northeast Ohio’s most valuable assets.

In 2008, a passionate group of business and civic community leaders began meeting to discuss opportunities for encouraging economic and community development initiatives for historic downtown Geneva, in Ashtabula County. With national, regional and local trends all indicating an increase in the popularity of wine and culinary tourism, the vision of creating a wine and culinary center was born. Northeast Ohio is home to 68% of Ohio’s nearly 2,000 grape-bearing acres, while Geneva and Ashtabula County are home to twenty wineries and counting. In fact, in 2007, Orbitz ranked the Grand River Viticulture Area in Ohio as the 6th favorite destination in the United States for culinary tourists.[2] The upshot of the past four years of collaboration is Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience.

Pairings will eventually be a 38,000-square-foot non-profit culinary and education center on the old site of Geneva Elementary School. The center will include restaurant and banquet facilities, cooking classes, wine making demonstrations, incubator facilities for start-up wineries, educational culinary demonstrations, office space and a gift shop. The project will begin with a start-up “Windows on Pairings,” which will incorporate a barn currently on the property to help develop the facility’s business plan and hone its vision. According to Director Jennifer Brown, this has been an eventful week for Pairings, as the center became the pending lessee of the former Geneva Elementary property and gained another major sponsor, Debonne Vineyards.

For more information about Pairings, please contact Jennifer Brown at or visit the Pairings website at For more information about the Ohio wine industry, please contact Ohio Wine Producers Association Executive Director and Pairings Board Trustee, Donniella “Donnie” Winchell ( For more information about Ashtabula County tourism, please contact Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director and Pairings Board President, Mark Winchell (

The image below is a rendering of Pairings when complete. Construction on “Windows on Pairings” is scheduled to begin this fall.

[1] Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau (retrieved 5.17.2013 from

[2] Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience (retrieved 5.17.2013 from

Check out the video from our first round of workshops

May 20, 2013 in Engagement, Vibrant NEO 2040

Once again, thanks to all that attended and made the first round of Vibrant NEO 2040 workshops such a success.  We did record the entire Akron Urban League Workshop so you can check our the presentations and mapping exercise below.

Introduction and Business As Usual Presentation

Mapping Exercise and Presentations


Schedule released for Fair Housing Report Review and Presentations

May 17, 2013 in Housing, News

2013 Northeast Ohio Fair Housing Draft Report Review and Presentations

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (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.

The public comment period for the report draft will include on-line, in-print and presentation options for your review.  Provide your knowledge, opinions, and feelings about fair housing choice.

The purpose of the comment period is to allow the public an opportunity to review and comment on the draft findings and suggested recommendations.  COMMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED UNTIL JULY 9, 2013.  Please note that these are proposed findings and recommendations and are subject to change.  All interested citizens are encouraged to attend any of the public meetings and/ or forward written comments to:  NEOSCC, 146 S. High Street, Suite 800, Akron, OH 44308 or

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.


On-Line or In Print Review

June 10 – July 9

Three-volume draft study available for public comment online at or may be reviewed at the following location (fees may apply for copies):

  • NEOSCC, 146 S. High Street, Suite 800, Akron, OH


June 18

  • 9:00am – Mahoning County, Covelli Centre (Community Room), 229 E. Front St., Youngstown
  • 11:30am – Trumbull County, The Wean Foundation (Western Reserve Room), 147 W. Market St., Warren
  • 2:30pm – Lake & Geauga Counties, Mentor Municipal Center, City Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, 8500 Civic Center Blvd., Mentor
  • 7:00pm – Ashtabula County, Ashtabula County Old Courthouse, Commissioners Meeting Room, 2nd Floor, 25 W. Jefferson St., Jefferson

June 19

  • 9:00am – Portage County, Portage County Regional Planning Commission,  124 N. Prospect St., Ravenna
  • 11:30am – Summit County, Akron Urban League (President’s Hall), 440 Vernon Odom Blvd., Akron
  • 2:30pm – Medina County, City of Medina, City Hall (Multi-purpose Room),  132 North Elmwood Ave., Medina
  • 7:00pm – Stark & Wayne Counties, The Lillian Beane Center, 1711 16th Street SE, Massillon

June 20

  • 9:00am – Lorain County, Lorain County Transportation & Community Center, 40 East Ave., Elyria12:00pm – Cuyahoga County, Castell Conference Center at Lutheran Hospital, The Castele Learning & Conference Center, 1730 West 25th St., Cleveland
  • 2:30pm – Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Heights Community Center, All-Purpose Room, 1 Monticello Blvd., Cleveland Heights

AMATS’ 2012 Annual Report now available

May 16, 2013 in AMATS, News

Annual Report 2012The 2012 Annual Report from AMATS is now available.  The report details the agency’s accomplishments during the year that marked AMATS’ 50th Anniversary as a metropolitan planning organization.

Readers can find out why agency leaders agreed that preservation of the Greater Akron area’s existing transportation system should be a priority over costly expansions.

There are also summaries regarding the development of several items integral to the release of Transportation Outlook 2035, the area’s upcoming long-range regional transportation plan.  There’s also information about the agency’s ongoing efforts to promote regional connectivity and sustainability through its various cycling initiatives.

To view the report, please click the graphic above.