You are browsing the archive for Collaboration.

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.

 

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 jbrown@pairingsohio.com or visit the Pairings website at www.pairingsohio.org. For more information about the Ohio wine industry, please contact Ohio Wine Producers Association Executive Director and Pairings Board Trustee, Donniella “Donnie” Winchell (dwinchell@pairingsohio.org). For more information about Ashtabula County tourism, please contact Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director and Pairings Board President, Mark Winchell (mwinchell@pairingsohio.org).

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 http://visitashtabulacounty.com/).

[2] Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience (retrieved 5.17.2013 from http://www.pairingsohio.org/backgroundandlocation.html).

Collaborating on Shared Services

November 16, 2012 in Collaboration, Engagement, Tool

Across the state of Ohio, communities are utilizing shared services to improve their operations and reduce costs. Learn more about these opportunities at the upcoming  Shared Services Expo on November 27 at Ideastream from 8:00 to 2:30. The program will highlight successful shared services programs and provide practical advice to those interested in collaborative shared service projects.

Keynote speakers include Former U.S. Senator George Voinovich, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald and Controlling Board President and Policy Advisor Randy Cole.

Interested in finding out what shared service collaborations are already underway in the region before the Expo? Check out EfficientGovNetwork, a sponsor of the Expo, for details.

Preregistration required due to limited capacity. Registration is $50, and includes a continental breakfast, box lunch and conference materials. For more information

What Can I Do Today?