On March 15, Governor Mike DeWine unveiled his two-year budget recommendation to the state legislature, releasing a budget blue-print that calls for total spending of $68.985 billion in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021.
By Alison Goebel, GOPC Deputy DirectorEarlier this month, the Greater Ohio Policy Center joined more than 100 conservation, environmental, and urban advocates to celebrate the numerous successes of the Clean Ohio Fund. Since 2000, the Clean Ohio Fund has restored, protected, and connected Ohio’s natural and urban places by preserving open space and farmland, improving outdoor recreation, and cleaning up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities.
All 88 Ohio counties have received funding and benefited from the Clean Ohio Fund. The Fund has:
- Cleaned up nearly 400 abandoned, contaminated sites.
- Preserved over 26,000 acres of natural areas.
- Protected over 39,748 acres of family farms.
- Created over 216 miles of multi-purpose, recreational trails.
AsGreater Ohio Policy Center demonstrated in its 2013 study, the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund which supported brownfield remediation, leveraged $4.67 in private dollars for every dollar invested by the state. More broadly, the entire Clean Ohio Program has leveraged additional investments to create a total economic impactof approximately $2.6 billion in public and private investments to date.
Governor Taft, whose administration initiated the ballot issue that created the Clean Ohio Fund, congratulated advocates and communities on the ongoing successes of the program. Former EPA Director, Chris Jones, and Kate Bartter, environmental policy advisor to Governor Taft, discussed the history of the ballot initiative and the thoughtful process that created this impactful program. House Minority Leader, Rep. Fred Strahorn, and Rep. Tim Derickson, a long time champion for Clean Ohio, described the impact of the program in their districts and around the state and the importance of the programs’ continuation.
The strong bi-partisan, multi-sector support for the Clean Ohio Fund, and clear economic benefits of the program confirms the value and importance of this program to Ohio’s economic development and quality of life strategies.
Last week, Greater Ohio traveled to Cleveland and Philadelphia both to learn from local experts and to share knowledge. On Monday, Lavea and I took a road trip up to Cleveland. Our first stop was to University Circle, Inc. where we met with UCI President Chris Ronayne. We learned about the great work UCI is doing as part of a unique “anchor district.” In other words, University Circle is a district with a multitude of anchor institutions contributing to its strength. We’re interested in learning more about other anchor districts and how they can support legacy cities and their communities!
Next, Lavea gave a presentation to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section about the Clean Ohio Fund and the future of the brownfield revitalization program. Click here to view the presentation.
Finally, we went on a tour of Slavic Village and met with some of the partners of Slavic Village Recovery LLC, including representatives from Forest City Enterprises Inc., Safeguard Properties, and Slavic Village Development Corporation. The public-private partnership intends to renovate up to 300 homes within the next three years, which will have a transformative effect on the neighborhood. When asked what he thought of the new developments in the community, a local resident said he thought that it is great for the neighborhood. Another resident even offered to help mow the lawns of the newly renovated homes. Greater Ohio is keenly interested in learning about Slavic Village Recovery’s strategy for helping to stabilize the neighborhood over time.
Lavea traveled to Philadelphia on October 11th to participate on a panel at the University of Pennsylvania’s Legacy and Innovation conference. The interdisciplinary conference was sponsored by the Provost at Penn and hosted in partnership with PennDesign, Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL), Penn Institute for Urban Research, PennMedicine, PennLaw, Wharton, PennEngineering, and Next City.
The stated purpose of the conference was to:
“[…] bring together regional and national thought leaders in economic development, urban policy and planning, design, and innovation to discuss a future for the Philadelphia region, with the intention that these lessons learned, new ideas, and identified new frontiers can be applied to other metropolitan areas across the country and the world.”
Lavea participated on a panel titled, “Legacy Cities, Legacy Assets.” Lavea was the co-author of the recently published report “Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities” and was able to add value to the discussion on legacy cities’ assets and how they can influence regional economic performance. The panel was moderated by Diana Lind of Next City , and included John Grady of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, Patrick Kerkstra of the blog City Junto, and Ted Dahlburg of the Delware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
Coincidentally, Emilie Evans recently wrote an article about the “Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities” report for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, called "Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities: A Review from Detroit." Check it out!
On Monday, Governor Kasich signed House Bill 487—also known as the Mid-Biennial Review Bill [MBR]—including a $42 million allocation for the Clean Ohio Fund. Greater Ohio would like to thank the General Assembly and Gov. Kasich for supporting the Clean Ohio Fund, which contributes to the quality of life and economic development of many Ohio communities.
The MBR, subtitled the Management Efficiency Plan (MEP), is a new effort by Gov. Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly to evaluate and refine Ohio’s $55.7 billion budget at the midpoint of the two-year budget cycle, as opposed to solely at its conclusion. The stated purpose of the MEP is to “streamline operations, reduce costs and improve delivery of services for Ohio taxpayers.” The Governor used his line-item veto authority multiple times, but he kept appropriations for Clean Ohio Fund intact.
The Clean Ohio Fund is a state fund authorized by Ohio taxpayers in 2000, and again in 2008, to support brownfield revitalization, farmland preservation, green space conservation, and recreational trails. The allocated $42 million will be shared between Clean Ohio’s Green Space Conservation and Farmland Preservation programs. Communities can apply for the Clean Ohio funding, which requires a private match of 25-50 percent, and then applicants are scored and peer reviewed in a competitive process so that only the most qualified projects are ultimately funded. Private organizations and local communities become the owners of the projects and they are responsible for ongoing maintenance and improvement costs. Since the upfront cost of land is often prohibitive, the Clean Ohio Fund allows communities to protect land that they might not have been able to otherwise. Funding for Clean Ohio Fund’s Brownfield Revitalization Program has been retained (likely at $42 million). However the specific design of the Brownfield Revitalization Program is still under discussion at JobsOhio, which will be administrating brownfield revitalization.
Ohio voters overwhelmingly support all programs in the Clean Ohio Fund (70 percent/30 percent in 2008 in all 88 counties) because they contribute to economic and community development. Clean Ohio helps support economic development and job creation by making our communities more attractive to businesses and individuals looking for a high quality of life. We are grateful to the Governor and General Assembly for approving this program.