June 2009


Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Armond Budish has appointed Greater Ohio to serve on and provide staff support to the Compact with Cities Task Force which is tasked with assisting the state in forging a “competitive communities” strategy.


The Restoring Prosperity to Cleveland Mini-Summit, the first in a series of Greater Ohio’s Restoring Prosperity regional convenings to take place around the state, was held this week, providing participants an opportunity to discuss local efforts and examine alignment of the Cleveland urban revitalization agenda with state reforms . With over 400 registrants, this successful Mini-Summit signaled an overwhelming appetite for a new way of doing business in Ohio and exemplified Cleveland’s capacity for innovation.

The Cleveland Mini-Summit builds on the momentum and success of the Brookings/Greater Ohio Restoring Prosperity to Ohio Summit held last fall, which launched the Restoring Prosperity to Ohio Initiative and unveiled a state reform agenda. Plenary speakers Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish and Mayor Frank Jackson joined key corporate, civic, political, academic and philanthropic leaders from the Cleveland area to focus on a renewed commitment to the Restoring Prosperity to Ohio agenda.

Lavea Brachman, Co-Director, Greater Ohio & Non-Resident Brookings Institution Senior Fellow kicked off the Summit:

  • Identifying the mini-summit’s four primary goals as:
  1. providing a platform of “requests” for change to be a clarion call to action to state policymakers;
  2. offering an understanding of a unified vision for Cleveland’s urban revitalization;
  3. identifying Cleveland’s assets and local innovation efforts as opportunities with which the state should align its policies;
  4. recognizing the close link between urban and regional prosperity.
  • Highlighting that Northeast Ohio’s communities lead the way in Restoring Prosperity innovations, but they cannot go it alone. In order to produce the wide-reaching changes that are needed to return prosperity to Ohio, it is essential that state policies begin to engage and align with the innovative efforts that are taking place in Cleveland and other parts of the state.

Bruce Katz , Vice President & Director Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution provided the national perspective and outlined a path for recovery and renewal in Cleveland and the state, asserting that this is the moment to take advantage of federal involvement and funds so the state, Cleveland, and the rest of Ohio’s communities need to be ready to leverage these federal initiatives. In particularly, this means using the unprecedented source of federal stimulus funds in a strategic, targeted way, instead of spreading money around the state like peanut butter.  He also reiterated the need to:

  • Set forth a vision for the future with measureable goals. Renewal of Ohio’s core communities will require ambitious, transparent, and measurable goals to guide public, private, and civic sector investments and a new way of doing business so that these goals can be accomplished.
  • Build on the distinctive assets of core communities . Now more than ever, Ohio must harness its drivers of prosperity – innovation, human capital, infrastructure, and quality of place – and adopt a series of concrete reforms that focus its attention on the core communities and metros in which those drivers concentrate.
  • Catalyze bold experimentation on governance reform . Ohio needs to take a long, hard look at its fractured, duplicative structure of local governments, understand its costs, and think about how to transition to a more efficient and more effective system of government -- one that recognizes that metropolitan areas, not townships or villages or even cities in isolation, are the most relevant economic and social units in the modern world.
  • Stabilize core communities which are being ravaged by the foreclosure crisis. There are steps Ohio can take to stop foreclosures from setting off a cycle of neighborhood decline, and they can be accomplished without a massive investment of state funds.

Read and/or listen to media coverage about the Cleveland Summit:

Cleveland Plain Dealer

City of Cleveland

ClevelandDesignCity Blog

GreenCityBlueLake Blog

Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Blog

Hello Cleveland

Great Lakes Urban Exchange Blog

Zylkington Blog

Topix Blog





Photos by John Quinn