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Keep Akron Beautiful Initiative

April 9, 2013 in ACT, Quality Connected Places

Keep Akron Beautiful is encouraging all area residents to get involved in the 2013 Great American Cleanup™, by participating in the 32nd annual Clean Up Akron Month during April 2013. This year, we are cleaning up for an entire month, with the culmination event taking place on SUPER SATURDAY, April 27, 2013 at the Akron Zoological Park. We look forward to cleaning up with you, your civic groups and your families in April.

For 32 years Keep Akron Beautiful has been working to recruit thousands of civic-minded volunteers to adopt a public parcel of land to clean during Clean Up Akr
on Week. This year, Akron volunteers will be joined by volunteers from 1,200 affiliates of Keep America Beautiful around the country to participate in the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, the nation’s largest community improvement program that harnesses 4 million volunteers to build vibrant communities. Each year, we engage volunteers to take action in our community through programs that deliver positive and lasting impact through events focused on waste reduction, recycling, beautification and community greening

ACT: AMATS Engaging Public on Transportation in Greater Akron

April 3, 2013 in ACT, AMATS

The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) invites you to participate in the development of two items key to the future of the Greater Akron area: Transportation Outlook 2035 and the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Fiscal Years 2014 through 2017.

Transportation Outlook 2035 is the area’s draft long-range transportation plan of identified needs and recommendations.  The plan includes highway, transit, bike and pedestrian project recommendations that are expected to be completed by 2035.  Transportation Outlook 2035 recommends over $4.3 billion in highway infrastructure investments through 2035, which includes over $2.5 billion for preservation of the existing system.  The draft plan includes investment of over $1.7 billion in the region’s public transportation system and recommends $30 million in bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

AMATS Planning Coordinator Krista Beniston says that the draft plan represents the agency’s focus on using the Greater Akron area’s shrinking funding resources wisely.  “These recommendations reflect a “fix-it-first” approach to pursue needed investments in the area’s existing transportation system rather than costly expansions,” Beniston explains. 

The TIP is the area’s four-year program of highway, public transit and bike and pedestrian projects scheduled to receive federal funding.  The program includes more than $662 million in highway and public transportation projects for fiscal years 2014 through 2017, including nearly $9 million for bike and pedestrian projects.  TIP Coordinator Victor Botosan says that the program – like Transportation Outlook 2035 – emphasizes maintenance of the area’s existing system.

The agency is hosting two public engagement meetings so that residents may share their insights on these items.  Both meetings will begin at 6 p.m. at the following dates and locations.

  • April 9 @ Akron-Summit County Public Library – Main Library, 60 S. High St. in Akron. 
  • April 18 @ Kent Free Library, 312 W. Main St. in Kent.

Drafts of both items are available for review and comment at the following locations:

  • The agency web site – amatsplanning.org
  • The AMATS office -  806 CitiCenter, 146 S. High Street in downtown Akron.
  • PARTA office – 2000 Summit Road in Kent.
  • Ohio Department of Transportation District 4 office – 2088 S. Arlington Road in Akron
  • Twitter – @amatsplanning
  • Facebook – facebook.com/amatsplanning

Oberlin Project: Rethink Your Ride

April 1, 2013 in ACT, Transportation

The Oberlin Project is launching another Rethink Your Ride Alternative Transportation Challenge from today through April 21.

From their website

2013 Rethink Your Ride Alternative Transportation

Last year during the Fall Rethink Your Ride Challenge, participants avoided over 3,700 single occupancy vehicle miles during the six-week competition. This year the Oberlin Project is coordinating this community-wide alternative transportation challenge in association with Oberlin College’s Ecolympics event for those who live, learn, work, and play in Oberlin. The Ecolympics is a competition between dorms to reduce electricity and water. In addition, there will be dozens of events aimed at education and integrating principles of sustainability into the entire Oberlin community.

Transportation and housing costs can account for as much as 45% of a household income. Using alternative methods of transportation for local shopping and daily commute to work may create a healthier lifestyle, reduce transportation expense while also reducing carbon emissions. The goal is to “Rethink Your Ride” and eliminate at least one trip of single miles traveled in a personal vehicle week and replacing it with walking, biking, car-sharing, Oberlin Community Connector Bus or other low-carbon modes of transportation while also helping the community reduce carbon emissions. We encourage all Oberlin community members, Oberlin College staff and students to develop healthy yet sustainable travel habits that eliminate carbon emissions. This is a fun and friendly three-week challenge that begins on Monday, April 1 through Sunday, April 21.

For more information visit The Oberlin Project.

Drink Local: Drink Tap

March 27, 2013 in ACT, Sustainability

In honor of World Water day last week, here is a Cleveland-based non-profit focusing access to clean and fresh water in Northeast Ohio and around the globe.

From the Drink Local.Drink Tap website:

The Drink Local. Drink Tap.(TM), Inc. focus is to reconnect people with local water in tangible activities. These activities include educational events, beach cleanups, World Water Day celebrations, public speaking, art and film making. A collective change in the understanding of the ACCESS to clean, fresh water and compassion towards others can be fostered through educating individuals within the United States, especially in Northeast Ohio. Issues surrounding the access of fresh water are taught through local activities and global projects (Making Waves from Cleveland to Uganda). Individual water re-connection occurs through our Wavemaker Program.

 

Our History:

Drink Local. Drink Tap.(TM), Inc. is a not for profit enterprise.  DLDT began at the Cleveland Sustainability Summit in 2009 as a volunteer group and has quickly grown into its own enterprise.  Volunteer team members have dedicated countless hours to cleaning up beaches, raising awareness through volunteer activities, and developing a plans to bring clean drinking water to a schools in East Aftica. We work with schools and communities locally to reconnect to our water wealth becoming water stewards and share with others in need.

 

Learn more about becoming a wavemaker at:

http://drinklocaldrinktap.org/wavemaker-program/

 

Read more about Making Waves from Cleveland to Uganda at:

http://drinklocaldrinktap.org/making-waves-from-cleveland-to-uganda-project/

REGISTRATION OPEN! Vibrant NEO Workshops

March 22, 2013 in ACT, Engagement, Scenario Planning

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO REGISTER: This first round of VibrantNEO public workshops revolves around a scenario called “Business‐As‐Usual.” It outlines what Northeast Ohio’s future will look like if we keep doing what we are currently doing. We need your help to define what we value and what’s most important to this region as we start to create a vision for Northeast Ohio’s future. We Can Only Answer These Questions Together!

Pick a date and location that’s most convenient for you and Join Us!
All events begin with an open house and registration from 5:30 – 6:30 PM. Workshops take place from 6:30 – 8:30 PM.

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO REGISTER

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO REGISTER

Tues., April 30:
Lorain, Medina, and western Cuyahoga counties
The Oberlin Inn
7 N Main St
Oberlin OH 44074
Register:  http://tinyurl.com/VibrantNEO-Oberlin-043013

Tues., April 30:
Mahoning, Trumbell and Ashtabula counties
John F. Kennedy High School
2550 Central Parkway Avenue SE
Warren, Ohio 44484
Register: http://tinyurl.com/VibrantNEO-Warren-043013

Weds., May 1:
Central Cuyahoga county and inner-ring suburbs
Third Federal Savings & Loan (auditorium)
7007 Broadway Ave.
Cleveland OH 44105
Register: http://tinyurl.com/VibrantNEO-Cleveland-050113

Weds., May 1
Wayne and Stark counties
The Metropolitan Centre
601 Cleveland Ave., NW
Canton OH 44702
Register: http://tinyurl.com/VibrantNEO-Canton-050113

Thurs., May 2:
Summit and Portage counties
Akron Urban League
440 Vernon Odom Blvd.
Akron OH 44307
Register: http://tinyurl.com/VibrantNEO-Akron-050213

Thurs., May 2: 
Lake, eastern Cuyahoga, and Geauga counties
Cuyahoga Community College – Corporate College East
4400 Richmond Rd.
Warrensville Heights OH 44128
Register:http://tinyurl.com/VibrantNEO-WH-050213

Thriving Communities Institute: From Vacancy to Vitality

March 19, 2013 in ACT, Conditions and Trends, economic development, Housing, News, Toolkiit

In 2011, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy launched an effort to combat the devastating impact of abandonment and disinvestment on Northeast Ohio’s core cities. Entitled the “Thriving Communities Institute,” the initiative targeted the reduction of vacant residential properties, primarily through demolition. These properties, according to Institute Director Jim Rokakis, reduce property values in our neighborhoods. Studies show that one vacant property on a street will significantlyreduce the value of adjacent homes. Soon, due to loss of value, foreclosures and “bank walk-aways,” the nearby homes become vacant as the disease spreads. Soon the entire neighborhood is dead and diseased, having been destroyed by this contagious and toxic process. Then the adjacent areas are infected and the disease spreads further … predictably, relentlessly, and with devastating consequences.

The impact of disinvestment in the urban core also has negative implications for the region’s natural environment. Depressed urban markets drive potential residents further away from the center and into suburban and exurban communities. The demand for housing and retail services away from the core increases development pressure on previously undeveloped open spaces and agricultural lands. The abandoned housing left behind prevents reuse of urban properties for urban gardens, parks, and greenways. Residential vacancies cause unnecessary consumption of “greenfield” land for development while prohibiting the repurposing of unoccupied land for environmental remediation; it is a two-edged sword.

According to Director Jim Rokakis, Thriving Communities Institute is already lending its hand to transform vacant and unproductive properties into new opportunities to attract economic growth, to bring green space to the region’s cities, and to support safe, beautiful neighborhoods. In working with community leaders in Northeast Ohio, the Institute has learned that urban revitalization is a process, one with many steps supported by great partnerships. Thriving Communities is helping secure vacant, unhealthy properties by establishing and supporting county land banks throughout the region. County land banks provide counties with much-needed ability to quickly acquire foreclosed and vacant property. These land banks can safely hold a distressed property, clean its title, and prepare it for a better day. The goal is to secure vacant properties – which would otherwise attract crime, lower neighboring home values, and incur public services costs – so that they can be put to better use in the future.

Additional information about the Thriving Communities Institute is available through their website: http://thrivingcommunitiesinstitute.org/. This site includes opportunities to provide support, become better engaged, and share stories or photographs. Questions about the Institute may be directed to either Jim Rokakis (jrokakis@wrlandconservancy.org) or Robin Thomas (rthomas@wrlandconservancy.org).

What Can I Do Today?

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?

February Issue of Vibrant NEO!

February 11, 2013 in ACT, Communications, Engagement

An excerpt from our the February Issue of Vibrant NEO!

NEOSCC has been quite busy since the first of the year. We have been working with the Sasaki Team (Scenario Planning Consultants) to develop an engaging visioning process for the region that will include many opportunities to get involved and share your thoughts. Our Regional Assessments of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice team has been reviewing preliminary data and conducting a region-wide survey for government officials and housing stakeholders.  NEOSCC is pleased to announce the schedule for the first round of Fair Housing Forums which kick off in March (see schedule here). In conjunction with all of this activity, we have been conducting engagement throughout the region to prepare for the Scenario Planning Process.

A FEW FAQ’S

What is Scenario Planning and when do we get to find out about the opportunities for engagement?

At the end of this month, we will be publishing a special edition of Vibrant Northeast Ohio that will answer all your questions about the process and how you can make your voice heard!

Isn’t there anything you can share now?

Yes, we will be having three rounds of workshops throughout the region. These will take place around the end of April, end of July and beginning of August.

We will also be launching a dynamic on-line tool to gather your priorities and vision for the future.

OK, What Can I do in the meantime?

Glad you asked…A couple of things:
Help us with our Social Media Drive to 1000

Add your Voice and Get Involved

Continue reading our newsletter

What Can I Do Today

 

Mahoning River Corridor People’s Garden Program

January 31, 2013 in ACT, Mahoning, Quality Connected Places, Trumbull

The Mahoning River Corridor People’s Garden Program, funded by a grant to the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) by the United States Department of Agriculture, will provide microgrants for the establishment of gardens to serve as community educational resources to residents of Mahoning River Corridor communities. Groups located within Lowellville, Struthers, Campbell, Youngstown, Girard, McDonald, Niles, Warren and Newton Falls are eligible to apply. All projects must be new garden spaces, and can be vegetable gardens, recreational gardens, or wildlife gardens. Projects will be chosen based on innovative design, community impact, project sustainability, and the project’s potential for community environmental education. Training workshops will be held In the month of February (see dates and locations below). A representative of each group applying for a grant must attend one of these training workshops. In 2012, the program supported the creation of 10 new gardens in Mahoning River Corridor Communities, including community vegetable gardens and native planting gardens. In 2013, the program will support 10-12 new garden spaces.

Grants will assist community groups with the establishment of new gardens, including vegetable gardens, recreational gardens, and wildlife gardens. Grants will be awarded through a competitive process, in which grantees will design their garden project and demonstrate community support and resources for the projects. Projects must be new or beginning their first year of full operation. Projects will be chosen based on innovative design, community impact, project sustainability, and the project’s potential for community environmental education. The program will be focused on neighborhood associations and resident groups, building their capacity to respond to challenges in their own neighborhoods through the creation of gardens on existing vacant land and the establishment, maintenance, and use of community forests as neighborhood assets. All garden projects will receive technical assistance and educational signage.

For additional information on how to apply

What Can I do today?

 

iNaturalist: Explore, Learn and Record

December 10, 2012 in ACT, Communications, Environment, Toolkiit

A black-capped chickadee, recorded on iNaturalist near Blake Road in Guilford Township (Medina County) on Sunday, December 2, 2012.

“iNaturalist is a place where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world.”

iNaturalist (http://www.inaturalist.org/) is a smartphone and web-based data gathering program designed to provide an ecological learning and teaching platform for amateur and professional naturalists alike. The world is full of naturalists and many hikers, hunters, birders, and beachcombers record their observations of the environment around them. If the record of observations is comprehensive enough, it may be possible for scientists and land managers to monitor changes in biodiversity, and allow anyone to use the comprehensive record of life to learn more about nature. A comprehensive record of nature is the primary purpose of iNaturalist.

According to its website, iNaturalist began as the Master’s final project of Nate Agrin, Jessica Kline, and Ken-ichi Ueda at the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Information in 2008. Nate and Ken-ichi continued working on the site, along with Sean McGregor, post-graduation. Currently, Ken-ichi Ueda maintains the site in collaboration with Scott Loarie, a climate change researcher at the Carnegie Institution.

A presentation about iNaturalist headlined the most recent meeting of the Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership (LEAP) at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on November 14. Naturalist Marlo Perdicas, of Metro Parks Serving Summit County, introduced iNaturalist as an innovative tool for data sharing, citizen science, and learning. Perdicas illustrated the potential for iNaturalist as a means to vastly expand natural survey capabilities while fostering a stronger sense of community among iNaturalist users and park staff. She provided examples of how the program is currently utilized in Northeast Ohio, particularly Summit County, and also explored potential for expanded use through an energetic and interactive discussion with the audience.

What Can I Do Today?