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Engage at our On-Line Open House

July 31, 2013 in Engagement, News, Scenario Planning

Vibrant NEO 2040 Open House Intro Video

We have had over 100 people attend our first two Open Houses.  Today we will be in Ashtabula and Willowick!  The complete schedule of the remaining eight open houses is listed below.  The Vibrant NEO Open Houses have also been featured in the Vindicator,The Plain DealerYoungstown Business Journal, the Canton Repository,  the News Herald, the Tribune-Chronicle, and Freshwater Cleveland.   

As part of the Vibrant NEO Engagement Plan, we are committed to providing a variety of ways to engage you in the scenario planning process.  We know that some of you may not be able to make the open houses but your voice is still important to us.  We have created an on-line tool for you to learn about the scenarios and share your thoughts and opinions.

Please visit our On-Line Open House where you can explore the alternative scenarios through video, image galleries and materials.  A comment space has been included so you can let us know what you think! 

Click here to Engage On-Line

Don’t forget to check out the Open House schedule to see if you are able to attend!

Today kicks off the next round of Vibrant NEO Open Houses

July 29, 2013 in ACT, News, Scenario Planning, Vibrant NEO 2040

Today kicks off the next round of Vibrant NEO Open Houses where we will look at Alternative Scenarios - different potential futures for Northeast Ohio - that could result from different choices.
These are critically important discussions.  The entire Vibrant NEO process is an attempt to help the residents of Northeast Ohio define what we want for the future, and then determine what choices we need to make in order to get to the future. 
The first round of workshops in early May helped to define a baseline for discussion – i.e. what will Northeast Ohio look like in 2040 is we continue our currents trends.  (You can learn more about these findings here.)
We gathered input from residents at those workshops, and later through ImagineMyNEO, our online planning tool which is still open for use.  That input has helped us create Alternative Scenarios that you can view and discuss at our Open Houses.  These scenarios help us see what can happen in the future if we make different choices now.  You can learn more in this comprehensive article from Steve Litt on today.   
We hope you can join us at one of our Open Houses – the first one is tonight from 4:30 to 7:30 PM at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Here is the schedule for the next two weeks.

Vibrant NEO 2040: Northeast Ohio’s Opportunity

July 24, 2013 in ACT, Vibrant NEO 2040


We often receive questions about what our initiative is about.  Here are thirteen facts about VIBRANTNEO 2040 and the opportunity for Northeast Ohio. Our open houses are less than a week away, join the conversation.  Details on locations and times can be found here.

VIBRANTNEO IS A LOCAL INITIATIVE. NEOSCC is made up of local governments, agencies, and organizations from across Northeast Ohio that have come together to create a means to work together toward goals for Northeast Ohio that we all share.  All decisions to accept, pursue and implement VibrantNEO 2040 will need to be made at the local level, through our region’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Councils of Government, and our County, Municipal, Village, and Township governments.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 WILL BE A VISION BASED ON SHARED VALUES. Developing VibrantNEO 2040 is an opportunity for Northeast Ohioans to explore the region’s long-term development patterns and think together about what we want for the future of our region. VibrantNEO 2040 will reflects the values, voices and vision of Northeast Ohioans and will be a roadmap to a stronger Northeast Ohio.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 WILL BE A “FRAMEWORK” As a “framework,” VibrantNEO 2040 will be a structure of policies, practices and relationships that better align the region’s decision-making and enhance the ability of the Northeast Ohio citizens and governments to make the big and small decisions.

VibrantNEO 2040 IS FOCUSED ON THE LONG-TERM IMPACT OF HOW WE USE LAND AND RESOURCES. Land-use affects many things and, as a result, VibrantNEO 2040 is a broad initiative.  But it is not all encompassing. NEOSCC believes in the importance of recognizing the relationships among land use, transportation, infrastructure investment, and environmental quality and VibrantNEO 2040 will promote integrated regional land use and housing, transportation, and capital investment planning.

VibrantNEO 2040 is based on data and analysis. Currently, many decisions are made and practices are carried out in Northeast Ohio in the absence of accurate and accessible region-wide or local data. Vibrant NEO 2040 aspires to provide this missing information and articulate the region’s choices clearly and unambiguously. NEOSCC has drawn together information and expertise from all across the region and from throughout the country to help create VibrantNEO 2040. Local government agencies and organizations have contributed thousands of hours of time and data from more than 200 pre-existing local planning and policy initiatives have been reviewed and analyzed.  Hundreds of volunteer experts and social scientists focusing on transportation, infrastructure, housing, economic development, environmental quality, planning and design, and many other areas have worked side-by-side with NEOSCC staff and its team of consultants to ensure VibrantNEO 2040 reflects our best thinking and deepest understanding of our region.

THE PROCESS TO CREATE VIBRANTNEO 2040 IS BROAD, TRANSPARENT AND INCLUSIVE. The VibrantNEO 2040 process actively seeks increased participation and decision-making by populations that have been left out of such processes in the past and has already involved thousands of Northeast Ohioans through its workshops, public meetings, speaking engagements, media relations, advertising, online communication, surveys, and publications.

NEOSCC firmly believes that facilitating an open and honest public process like VibrantNEO 2040 requires defending everyone’s right to offer an opinion, even if that opinion is that the public process should just go away.  Protecting and encouraging a diversity of thought and points of view enriches the process and its results. Everything NEOSCC does is chronicled on its website,

VIBRANTNEO 2040 RESPECTS AND WILL PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY OWNERS.  Planning, when done correctly, protects the rights of property owners by helping to ensure land is put to its highest and best use, resources are carefully managed, and property values aren’t undermined.  NEOSCC clearly stated its commitment to property rights in its goals for VibrantNEO 2040:

Goal 3: Respect Choice

Preserving our quality of life, expanding choices for Northeast Ohio’s citizens and respecting local government and individual property rights are essential principles for this process.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 WILL EXPAND THE CHOICES AVAILABLE TO NORTHEAST OHIOANS. The ways that Northeast Ohio is currently using land and resources limit our choices about where and how we live, how we travel, what natural and built resources we have at our disposal, and how we spend public dollars.  By working together developing and implementing VibrantNEO 2040, residents and local governments will share data, develop common approaches to shared priorities, focus efforts and resources, eliminate duplication, and, ultimately expand the choices available to them. 

PARTICIPATION IN VIBRANTNEO 2040 IS A CHOICE. While local government has been and will continue to be crucial to the development and implementation of VibrantNEO 2040, there is nothing about the VibrantNEO 2040 process that would force a local government to participate or change. Every local government, organization and individual participating in creating VibrantNEO 2040 is doing so by choice.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 IS BEING DESIGNED TO HELP LOCAL GOVERNMENTS BE MORE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT. NEOSCC is developing products through the VibrantNEO 2040 process to enable the public, local agencies, and Northeast Ohio communities to inform, prioritize, align, and coordinate actions to advance our quality of life, sustainability, and resiliency. VibrantNEO 2040 will also help eliminate waste of resources and leverage regional assets, investments, and opportunities to their fullest potential. Two key ways that VibrantNEO2040’s success will be judged are how well it spurs local action and equips decision makers, planners, experts and residents with tools to implement the goals of their communities.

VIBRANTNEO 2040′S IMPLEMENTATION WILL BE UP TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. Once VibrantNEO 2040 is complete, it will be presented to local governments and their constituents for review and consideration. It will be up to local governments and their constituents to decide if adopting and implementing the recommendations from the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision and Framework and using the tools that NEOSCC is developing is in their best interest.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 WILL HAVE NO EFFECT ON MUNICIPAL BOUNDARIES. VibrantNEO 2040 is being designed to protect and preserve the things we value most about Northeast Ohio and one of those things is our local communities, with their rich histories and commitment to self-determination. Many of these communities have participated in NEOSCC since its inception; VibrantNEO 2040 will be a tool to strengthen local governments, not undermine them.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 DOES NOT ADDRESS ISSUES OF REVENUE AND TAXATION.  While VibrantNEO 2040 will make recommendations about where financial resources may be deployed to have the greatest impact and how Northeast Ohio can achieve greater efficiency in its use of built and natural resources, how local governments generate financial resources is well beyond its scope and is a matter left to local governments and residents to decide.

Check out what’s coming up this summer with All Aboard Ohio!

July 23, 2013 in Engagement, News, Transportation

Join “All Aboard Ohio” on Aug. 8 for “TOD on Tap” tour!



Register today for All Aboard Ohio’s “TOD on Tap“ — an educational bar hop by rail transit in Cleveland on Thursday, August 8th, from 5-9 p.m.

Come hear from developers and transit planners who are rebuilding an Ohio city by uniting higher-level transit transit services like rail and bus rapid transit with walkable, mixed use Transit Oriented Development (TOD). Space is limited, so please register early!

Itinerary & Speakers

  • 5:00 p.m. — Shaker Square, Zanzibar Soul Fusion, 13225 Shaker Square (NE Corner); Speakers: Peter Rubin, President/CEO Coral Co., and Maribeth Feke, Director, Planning & Programming, Greater Cleveland RTA.
  • RIDE BLUE/WATERFRONT LINES (no transfer required)
  • 6:30 p.m. — Flats East Bank, Aloft Hotel Riveria BC/Lago, 1111 West 10th Street; Speaker: Harley Cohen, Owner’s Rep, Harlan & Associates.
  • RIDE WATERFRONT/GREEN/RED LINES (transfer at Tower City Center)
  • 8:30 p.m. — Uptown/UC, Constantino’s Market (balcony meeting area), 11473 Euclid Avenue; Speaker: Ari Maron, Partner, MRN Ltd.



“All Aboard Ohio” Summer Meeting & Family Outing


8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. August 10, 2013

Join All Aboard Ohio for a fun day on Ohio’s busiest passenger railroad — the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic RR. Ride the historic rail corridor through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, alongside the Ohio & Erie Canal from Greater Cleveland to downtown Akron and return, through historic villages and protected wildlife areas on rail service which carried 200,000 riders in 2012 and saw $45 million worth of improvements since 1990!

Registration of $35 per person includes one (1) CVSR train ticket in a reserved rail car to Akron and return, National Park Ranger tour guide & lunch at Yours Truly restaurant (short walk from Rockside station) for a discussion with CVSR President Craig Tallman.


2013 Sustainable Cleveland Photo Contest

July 19, 2013 in ACT, News, Sustainability

This post is on behalf of Sustainable Cleveland 2019…


click to view full postcard

 click to view flyer 

From the Sustainable Cleveland website…


Sustainable Cleveland 2019 is a 10-year initiative that engages people from all walks of life, working together to build a thriving and resilient green city on a blue lake. You are invited to submit up to two photos that highlight how this vision is being made a reality in Cleveland.

You are encouraged to submit photos that relate to the Sustainable Cleveland celebration topics and key areas for climate action, including:

    • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
    • camLocal Foods
    • Waste Reduction and Resource Conservation
    • Clean Water
    • Sustainable Mobility
    • Vibrant Green Space
    • Vital Neighborhoods and People
    • Public Health


  • 1st place: $1000 cash award and framed photoAmateur category
  • 2nd place: $500 cash award and framed photo
  • 3rd place: $250 cash award and framed photo

Youth category

  • 1st place: $500 gift certificate to a local camera shop and framed photo
  • 2nd place: $250 gift certificate to a local camera shop and framed photo
  • 3rd place: $100 gift certificate to a local camera shop and framed photo

All Entrants

The top 20 photos will be exhibited at the Sustainable Cleveland Annual Summit on October 3rd and 4th, the Sustainable Cleveland Center in Tower City, and other venues.

Entrants must be amateurs or students. Commercial photographers and post-secondary photo educators are not permitted to participate.

Eligibility Requirements and Contest Rules

  • Entrants can submit up to two photos. Entrants can only win one award.
  • Photos must belong to the entrant, be their original work and must not infringe the rights of any third party to the best of photographer’s knowledge. The original image may be cropped but must not be altered or edited beyond brightness, contrast and color adjustment.
  • Entry into this contest constitutes the entrant’s irrevocable and perpetual license to Sustainable Cleveland, without further compensation, to use, reproduce, print, publish, transmit, adapt, enhance or display such submission for the promotion and conduct of this and future Sustainable Cleveland photo competitions. Photos will be credited to the photographer in all cases to the best of the sponsors’ abilities.
  • Decisions of the judges are final and binding in all respects.  Judges reserve the right to disqualify any image.
  • Contest open only to legal residents of Ohio.
  • Cash Award Winners must complete and sign an IRS W-9 form with their name, address and Social Security number as a condition of receiving prizes.
  • While all submitted photos must be less than 1 MB in size, all Winners will be asked to provide a high-res image for print purposes.  Make sure to save your larger file!
  • There is no fee to submit.
  • Entry deadline is September 1, 2013 (11:45PM EST).

Photo Submittal

Submit your information and photo(s) at the following site:

If you would like to submit two photos, you need to fill out and submit this form twice.

If you have any questions, please email


Celebrating rolling successes – AMATS’ 2013 Bike-N-Brainstorms

July 17, 2013 in Collaboration, Portage, Summit, Transportation

So far in 2013, AMATS has hosted two successful Bike-N-Brainstorm rides – one in Kent in April and another in Green in June.  The agency’s Bike-N-Brainstorms are an innovative way that the agency uses to gain public insight as to what should be done to improve biking in the Greater Akron area.

A Bike-N-Brainstorm is a group bike ride along key corridors so that cyclists may experience firsthand what it’s like to bike there.  At the end of their ride, group members participate in a brainstorming session with agency personnel to share their ideas as to what can be done to improve bike travel within the area.

The Kent Bike-N-Brainstorm began April 20 at the new Kent Central Gateway in downtown Kent.  Sixty-two attendees braved morning snow showers to travel a 5-mile route through various parts of Kent.  The ride highlighted future bike projects in the city, such as the addition of new bike lanes, upcoming links between the city and the Kent State University (KSU) campus, and connections to The PORTAGE Hike & Bike Trail.  Among the issues identified by participants during the subsequent brainstorming session were the need for improved signage, more bike lanes, and keeping bike lanes free of debris.  The city of Kent, KSU and the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority partnered with AMATS in hosting this event.

The Green Bike-N-Brainstorm kicked off on the morning of June 22 at the Nimisila Reservoir.  A group of about 40 participants traveled their choice of a 3-mile family friendly route along Green’s Christman Road or an 8-mile route throughout the city of Green.  Issues identified during the brainstorming session were the need for wider berms, improved signage and more bike lanes.  The city of Green and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources partnered with AMATS in hosting this event.

“We’re really pleased with the level of enthusiasm at these events.  The feedback that we receive helps our agency and local communities immensely in planning and prioritizing bike infrastructure improvements,” AMATS Planning Coordinator Krista Beniston continues, “In April, AMATS participated in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Midwest Regional Bicycle Safety Summit in Minneapolis and our Bike-N-Brainstorms were hailed as a best practice by federal officials.”

A number of ideas offered by cyclists following two well-attended rides in Akron last year made their way into the 2012 Bike Plan, the agency’s long-term vision and priorities for bike transportation, andTransportation Outlook 2035, the area’s new long-range transportation plan.


Imagine My NEO Engagement Events Continue

July 15, 2013 in News

We have been enjoying our visits to different areas of Northeast Ohio, and appreciate the feedback from residents so far! We will be continuing our travels and engagement in the upcoming weeks. Please look out for us at these upcoming events:

(Images of a few previous events: Akron Aeros Game, Mahoning Valley River Fest, Youngstown Summer Festival of the Arts)

July 18: Akron Zoo from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

July 18: Elyria Summer Concert on the Square from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

July 19: Cleveland Zoo from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

July 20: Haymakers Farmers’ Market, Kent from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

July 24: Richfield Library from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

July 24: Lemon Grove, Youngstown from 5 p.m.- 7 p.m.

July 26 and 27: Burning River Festival, Cleveland from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.

July 28: Community Parade, Canton at 2:30p.m.

August 4: Thistledown Racino Farmers Market, Cleveland from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.


Stop by one of our booths to be a part of the action, and continue to spread the word about Imagine My NEO (

Daisy Plants itself in Wooster

July 11, 2013 in economic development, News

From The Daily Record
by Bobby Warren 

“Months of speculation regarding whether an agbioscience company would locate here officially ended Monday when the state’s tax credit authority granted Daisy Brand, a maker of sour cream and cottage cheese, incentives.

Until Monday, local leaders would only refer to the pending Daisy deal as Project Cream. It all began with a cold call in May 2012.

The Wayne Economic Development Council received a call from the company. There had been a search in the Great Lakes region for a new plant site because of the strong presence of dairy farms and dairy market, said Shawn Starlin, a project manager for WEDC. States that were being considered included Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Company officials did their homework, Starlin said. In determining who to call, they looked at dairy statistics. Wayne County far exceeds all Ohio counties with its production of 600 million pounds of milk annually.

“It’s impressive,” Starlin said.

There were 77,700 cows in Wayne, Holmes, Tuscarawas, Stark and Medina counties as of January 2012. Wayne County has 32,500 of the cows, or 41 percent. The next closest is Holmes with 16,900.

But it took more than impressive dairy numbers to get it done. Company officials visited this area repeatedly, meeting with city and county leaders, economic development officials and utility representatives. They had site visits to the former First Farm along Akron Road next to LuK USA to make sure it would be suitable for a new production facility.

Daisy’s executives were looking for something else, too, something less tangible.

“They wanted to look at a facility in a small town or one with small-town values,” Starlin said…”

Click to read this article in its entirety, as well as others on The Daily Record

Register Now for the Vibrant NEO Open Houses!

July 8, 2013 in News

Join us for the next round of Vibrant NEO Open Houses where we will look at Alternative Scenarios - different potential futures for Northeast Ohio - that could result from different choices.

The VibrantNEO process puts you in charge of Northeast Ohio’s future. What will our communities look like, how successful will our economy be, and how much will it likely cost us if we keep our current policies and approaches to land use, transportation and development in place? What would the alternative futures look like if they change?

We need your help to define what we value and what choice Northeast Ohioans want to make for our future. We can only answer these questions together!


Pick a date and location that’s most convenient for you and join us for a Vibrant NEO Open House where you can learn about and help choose among different possible futures for our region. The open house format will allow you to attend the meeting at your convenience. Stop by during any of the following times.


July 29                        
Cleveland MetroParks Zoo (Reinberger Education Center)
4:30 – 7:30 pm
3900 Wildlife Way (next to the Zoo’s Main Entrance)
Cleveland, OH 44109
Register Here

July 30    
Lorain County Community College (Spitzer Conference Center)
4:30 – 7:30pm
1005 North Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035
Register Here 

July 31      
Kent State University – Ashtabula Campus (Blue and Gold Room)
11:30am – 2:30pm
3300 Lake Road West
Ashtabula, OH 44004
Register Here

July 31  
Willowick Community Center
4:30 – 7:30pm
321 E. 314th Street
Willowick, OH 44095
Register Here

August 1      
Tech Central @ Main Branch, Cleveland Public Library
11:30am – 2:30pm
325 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
Register Here

August 1     
Akron Urban League (President’s Hall)
4:30 – 7:30pm
440 Vernon Odom Boulevard
Akron, OH 44307
Register Here


August 6     
Raymond John Wean Foundation
11:30am – 2:30pm
147 West Market Street
Warren, OH 44481
Register Here

August 6     
OH! WOW – Children’s Center for Science and Technology
4:30 – 7:30pm
11 West Federal Street
Youngstown, OH 44503
Register Here

August 7
Kent State University Main Campus – Ballroom
11:30 – 2:30pm
1075 Risman Drive
Kent, OH 44242
Register Here

August 7   
The Metropolitan Center
4:30 – 7:30pm
601 Cleveland Avenue NW
Canton, OH 44702
Register Here

So What Did the Business As Usual Scenario Tell Us?

July 2, 2013 in Communications, Scenario Planning

During our 1st round of Workhops, we presented the Business As Usual Scenario.  The question the Business As Usual Scenario poses is: “What will happen over the next 27 years if Northeast Ohio just keeps doing what it has been doing?”

Our projection of “big picture” trends from 2010-2040 for Northeast Ohio show:

  • Population – Northeast Ohio will experience 2.4% growth in population across its 12 counties, which equals 3,100 net new residents in the region each year.
  • Employment – Northeast Ohio will experience 6.2% growth in employment across the 12 counties, which equals 3,600 net new jobs in the region each year.
  • Northeast Ohio’s land usagewill change:
    • 121,500 acres will be used for new parks and land conservancy.
    • 92,500 acres will be used for new development.
    • 77,100 acres of property will be abandoned.

What does the Business As Usual Scenario tell us?

  • Northeast Ohio is on pace to abandon 10.5% of its housing units by 2040.
  • This is the equivalent of 18 homes being abandoned every day for the next 27 years.
  • If just 3 out of 10 of these homes have to be demolished, it will cost the region more than half a billion dollars.
  • The abandonment of these homes will damage the fabric of the neighborhoods that contain them.
  • Having these homes standing empty will pose a public safety hazard to residents who remain and they will result in permanent loss of residents and revenue for the cities where they are located.
  • Northeast Ohio’s population will continue to spread out.
  • More people will migrate out of our central cities.
  • Newer communities will seem to be experiencing “growth,” but most of it will be fueled by regional churn – people and businesses moving from one part of the region to another.
  • For the region as a whole, growth numbers will remain flat.
  • Continuing to spread out throughout the region will come with costs.
  • Even as it is abandoning more than 10% of its homes, Northeast Ohio will need to build 3,700 miles of new road to accommodate our population’s outward migration.  3,700 miles is the same length as the Great Wall of China.
  • Of course, we will still have to bear the expense of maintaining the roads and other infrastructure we already have.
  • And the addition of these roads will introduce additional problems, like air pollution from the vehicles that use them and environmental issues caused by surface runoff when it rains.
 These additional costs will increase the strain on Northeast Ohio taxpayers.
  • We already know that Northeast Ohio is very fragmented when it comes to the government organizations responsible for maintaining our region’s quality of life.  There are more than 700 taxing entities across the region.
  • Right now, local government budgets in some parts of the region are strained; in other parts of the region they’re not.
  • Under the Business as Usual Scenario, every county in Northeast Ohio will experience declining revenue compared with its costs.
  • By 2040, on average Northeast Ohio’s 12 counties will face budget shortfalls of 20%.  Some counties will face expenses that are more than 40% greater than their revenue.
  • And in 2040 every county in the region will be doing worse than the weakest of the Northeast Ohio’s 12 counties today.  Or, to put it another way, the county with the biggest budget problem today is better off than any county in the region in 2040.
  • With budget shortfalls of this size, taxpayers in 2040, under the Business as Usual Scenario, will be faced with a choice between two bad options: pay significantly more or settle for less.