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Greater Ohio Participates in Ohio Cities Task Force

Redevelopment and smart growth recommendations made

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Cities Task Force, a 29-member group representing Ohio leaders from a variety of sectors, today announced a blueprint for redevelopment and smart growth in Ohio. Included in the task force’s recommendations were a number of policy and legislative initiatives that focus on strengthening Ohio’s urban centers. Specific recommendations were split among the following categories: land use; development; transportation; workforce and quality of life; and regionalism.

Led by State Rep. Mike Foley and vice chair State Rep. Sandra Williams, the committee also included Lavea Brachman, co-director of Greater Ohio and a non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution. “Greater Ohio was excited to be part of the task force, because its mission is consistent with our organization’s goal of finding innovative ways to restore prosperity in Ohio through smart growth. We strongly endorse the task force’s foremost conclusion about the importance of regionalism to achieving a ‘new economy’ in Ohio.” Brachman said.

Ohio Speaker of the House Armond Budish called for creation of the task force last spring. Entrusted with 10 specific responsibilities, including providing innovative strategies to address housing, mass transportation, infrastructure, environmental, and labor force challenges facing Ohio’s cities; and identifying and classifying incentives and disincentives to urban economic development, the committee developed 20 specific recommendations. Those include passage of House Bill 313, which would allow for the creation of 28 additional county land banks in the state; House Bill 3, the Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Act; and House Bill 323, legislation to address toxic titles and nuisance properties and to empower local land banks.

The report also calls for public hearings regarding a Greater Ohio proposal that recognizes the importance of anchor institutions in the health of Ohio’s urban cores and metropolitan regions. Anchor institutions are place-based entities, such as universities and hospitals, which are permanently rooted in specific locations. These community anchors generate jobs, create local business opportunities, and contribute in significant ways to the development of human, social and cultural capital.

Greater Ohio is enthusiastic about the potential the recommendations represent for Ohio in the future. “These recommendations symbolize the thoughtful and innovative outcomes that can be achieved when a broad cross-section of individuals come together,” Brachman stated.

Greater Ohio (www.greaterohio.org) is the state’s “smart growth” organization. We promote – through research, public education and grassroots advocacy – public policy to grow Ohio’s economy and improve the state’s quality of life through intelligent land use. Toward this end, Greater Ohio works to advance policies and programs that revitalize urban and metropolitan areas, strengthen regional cooperation, and protect Ohio’s open space, natural resources and farmland. We are non-partisan, non-profit, and foundation–funded. Greater Ohio’s office is located in Columbus, Ohio.

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