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12-County Consortium Launches Trends Website
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium Tuesday launched an informational website called the Conditions and Trends Platform (CLICK HERE) with the goal of assembling in one site information on the 12-county region that can be updated easily and is easy for visitors to use.
“This is an unprecedented effort to pull together the 12 counties and look at how they’re using land and how it affects the environment, development, housing, communities and the transportation reconnections between them all,” said Jeff Anderle, manager of communications and engagement for NEOSCC, at a press event Tuesday.
NEOSCC looks to play a role in revitalizing the region by pulling together the information that looks at problems common to the counties, possible solutions and best practices.
The organization -- which covers Mahoning, Trumbull, Ashtabula, Stark, Summit, Portage, Geauga, Lake, Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina and Wayne counties -- is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is part of the new federal Sustainable Communities Initiative.
“What we’re looking for in the next step is to take some of this data and information then go out in the public to talk to them,” Anderle said, “find out what their priorities are and how they view some of these issues so that together we can create a shared vision around land use.”
The website is split into five work streams – economic development, environment, housing and communities, connections, and quality connected places – that each feature findings from collected data with supporting maps.
The work streams are also color coded so that the findings can be identified by category when brought together on five theme pages: assets and resources, population decline, spreading out, evolving understanding, and continuing challenges.
For example: the population decline page asserts, “Northeast Ohio has built out into the region even as its population has slightly declined.”
To support this statement, findings from the work stream pages are displayed on the theme page such as, “By 2010, Northeast Ohio’s population was smaller than it was in 1970” from the purple-colored quality connected places page and “approximately 4-5% more acreage in Northeast Ohio was converted from ‘undeveloped’ to ‘developed’ between 1979 and 2006” from the green-colored environments page.
Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th Ward, said NEOSCC could facilitate the counties working together when addressing energy, transportation and infrastructure challenges.
“Working together as communities all throughout northeastern Ohio, we have a much better chance to pull resources together,” Ray said. “As the demographics change, we need to pull our resources together.”
Counties don’t always work together, he observed, so a consortium such as this can have a huge impact drafting new policies and helping communities learn from one another.
Copyright 2012 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.