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Greater Ohio Policy Center: Year in Review

We don’t mean to brag, but 2010 has been an exciting year for Greater Ohio Policy Center.  Here's our "best of" list from the past 12 months.For good reason, 2010 has got us fired up and ready to accomplish even more in 2011, including a state-wide Policy Summit in the late spring, a Restoring Prosperity Forum in Akron on Tuesday, January 18, regular appearances on Columbus on the Record, and new original research on city and township trends.

To stay up-to-date and learn more about all of these events coming up in 2011, remember to follow us on our blog!

INFLUENCING STATE POLICY

Released our report, Restoring Prosperity: Transforming Ohio’s Communities for the Next Economy. Co-authored with the Brookings Institution, the report makes 39 policy recommendations which are organized under three broad categories: 1) building on Ohio’s assets; 2) governance reform; and 3) better aligning of federal policy with Ohio state policy.

Successfully lobbied the passage of the Land Bank Bill (Substitute House Bill Number 313) which allows 42 counties the authority to implement county land banks.  Of the 900 bills brought before the 128thGeneral Assembly between 2008 and 2010, this was one of only 58 bills passed and signed.

Shaped recommendations found in the Compact with Cities Task Force. At the request of Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish, we helped design policy and legislative strategies which focus on stimulating economic growth in Ohio’s urban cores.

Advocated for regional governance and collaboration (a key pillar of our Restoring Prosperity agenda) through attendance, expert testimony, and a prepared informational document to the 2010 Ohio Commission on Local Government Reform and Collaboration.

Influenced and contributed to the development of a state pilot project, in connection with the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund, that will provide $8 million for a new brownfield cleanup program utilizing sustainable practices for Urban Waterfronts, Sustainable Infrastructure, and wind and solar projects. This pilot follows on a recommendation from our Restoring Prosperity report.

Offered recommendations to the 2010 Budget Planning and Management Commission as this bipartisan, legislative commission explored long-term solutions for reducing state government spending and developing a plan for balancing Ohio’s next budget bill.

Influenced 2010 Ohio Farm Bureau policy by partnering with the Ohio Farm Bureau to distribute a paper which outlined how rural communities rely on strong metro and urban cores.  This paper reached over 600 Farm Bureau audiences.

Entered public discourse leading up to the November elections through candidate op-eds, in-depth analyses by newspapers on Greater Ohio policy concerns, and the incorporation of GO ideas in candidates’ platforms.

Published an op-ed in all eight major metro newspapers following the release of the Restoring Prosperity report.  The columns reiterated the report’s finding that Ohio is well positioned to compete in the next economy.

RESEARCHING FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

Released the white paper, Ohio’s Cities  At  A Turning Point: Finding the Way Forward. Co-written with Brookings Institution, the white paper provides 10 policy recommendations to guide leaders as Ohio’s eight largest cities undergo a physical transformation.

Extensively analyzed demographic trends in Ohio, its metros, and the nation from 2000 to 2008.  Issued the “Shaping the State” report that concludes that demographic changes in Ohio reveal a state that is falling behind other states in some areas, but demonstrates strong potential in several others.

Provided Ohio-specific information on the value of exports.  Our analysis found that the state’s goods exports as a share of total exports is above the national average, but our service exports lag behind other states.

Currently assessing the feasibility of creating a center city organization in Youngstown. We’ve met with local civic leaders, business representatives, and elected officials to develop a plan that will comprehensively coordinate development activities in downtown Youngstown.

PARTNERING IN OHIO...

Provided strategic advice to the Northeast Ohio Consortium for a HUD Sustainability Grant. In October 2010, HUD announced that this proposal would be awarded $4.25 million.  Greater Ohio will continue to work with Northeast Ohio officials on this grant and has joined the leadership team. Hosted a Peer-to-Peer Civic Capacity Workshop for Small and Mid-Sized Cities.  In conjunction with Sen. Sherrod Brown’s staff, this convening brought together, local elected officials, policy-makers, and civic leaders from representative cities to discuss local capacity challenges and capacity building strategies.

Partnered with the Center for Community Progress (CCP) to lead a statewide Landbank Training Session.   In June, 11 counties participated in the daylong event with presentations by Greater Ohio, CCP and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

...AND BEYOND

Entered into a partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States to lead a new three year initiative on “cities in transition.” This partnership providing unique opportunities for Ohio’s local and state leaders to learn from European cities’ rebuilding practices.

Launched a multi-state Cities in Transition Initiative (CITI) network to solicit feedback, advice, and fresh ideas on issues facing these cities and provide a forum which collects practices and policies and creates the best possible federal, state, and local policy recommendations to meet these cities’ specific needs.

Participated in the Global Metro Summit. Sponsored by the Brookings Institution, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Alfred Herrhausen Society, and TIME, this two-day program explored the drivers of urban economic transformation, a key concern for Greater Ohio.

Met with key federal policymakers at HUD and the EPA to continue developing recommendations and policies for cities in transition.  These meetings discussed how federal policies might help shrinking cities and what kinds of new policies may be needed.

Participated in a news conference call with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-17) to discuss the Livable Communities Act of 2010, a critical bill  that could direct federal assistance to and improve the livability of communities impacted major population and job loss.

SNAPSHOTS OF 2010

39 newspaper articles, 16 editorials, 19 blog posts, and 2 TV stories covering just the release of the Restoring Prosperity Report

An additional 97 newspaper articles and 15 blogs covering Greater Ohio work or citing Greater Ohio findings

5 TV appearances by Greater Ohio

50+ panels and presentations we’ve participated on or led

3,998 miles traveled, one-way, taking Greater Ohio on the road to Europe (Greater Ohio’s visit to Leipzig)

722 Twitter followers

183 Facebook “likes”

3,894 Greater Ohio Supporters who receive our regular updates including information on our initiatives, innovative best practices and newsclips from throughout the state

74 posts on our Greater Ohio Blog

13,335 visits to our new website which was completely redesigned in February to be more visually appealing and user friendly

4 different ways Greater Ohio staffers regularly commute to the office:  walking, biking, busing, and driving

1 new office which is now located in a refurbished mattress manufacturer building in an up-and-coming district near downtown Columbus