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Additional panels and bus tour information will be available soon.


Starting Somewhere: Placemaking as a Tool for Revitalization

Quality of place is an emerging issue in economic development as more companies follow talent, and talent wants high quality places to live. The art of placemaking is a broad concept, but results in a number of concrete actions that can be both large and small. These small actions can be the nudge that helps people feel differently about a place and want to spend time there.

Several states have adopted placemaking as a core component of their economic development strategies, including several in the Midwest. This panel will explore how placemaking efforts can be used to be the foundational base for revitalization efforts as well look at how placemaking can be worked into existing economic development strategies.


Civic Capacity: Building the Foundation for Revitalization

Strong civic infrastructure has been found to be the most important factor in small legacy city revitalization – but building it is far easier said than done. It requires individuals in the community to be adaptive leaders who can seize opportunities, respond to adversity and draw plans that the community is able to move.

Civic capacity exists on a continuum – no community is completely without capacity, neither is any place at 100%. This panel will look at what concrete steps can be taken to build a community’s civic capacity muscle and how communities have built their civic infrastructure both formally and informally to help advance revitalization.


Connecting People to Places: Fueling Innovation in Public Transit for Ohio

Ohio is a diverse state, requiring a range of transportation options. Throughout Ohio, public transportation serves as a lifeline; connecting workers to jobs and Ohio’s vulnerable populations to the services they need. Sadly, over the past two decades, funding for transit has diminished to levels not seen since the early 1980’s. This lack of support has resulted in public transit systems across the state being forced to shrink or eliminate services, and have held back systems from innovating. This has undermined their central mission to provide essential services to the public.

Investment is needed to ensure public transit can serve as the vital link it is intended to be. Connecting People to Places: Fueling Innovation in Public Transit for Ohio will look at three possible long-term funding options that could generate nearly $123 million annually in new funding for Ohio’s existing public transit systems and the impact that investment could make on Ohio’s public transit systems.


Investing in Ohio’s Communities through a Statewide Brownfields Program

Ohio has the potential to bring in millions of dollars in additional tax revenue, provide jobs, and create new housing options if we seize the opportunity to redevelop Ohio’s brownfields. Found in every county, these former industrial and commercial sites are unusable for new development in their current condition. Panelists will discuss state and federal policy changes, current advocacy work at the state level, and locally-driven solutions that have strategically enhanced brownfields work in the state of Ohio. Panelists will discuss the economic impact of brownfields for the state of Ohio.


Financing Revitalization

The past decade has shown that communities, large and small, must be prepared to weather economic challenges, and be prepared to bounce back. Communities are in the midst of finding strategic ways to finance their revitalization efforts in order to attract investment and jobs, revitalize downtowns, and rebound from the Great Recession – which left Ohio’s neighborhoods and smaller downtowns struggling. Communities have found ways to be proactive, rather than reactive: have the structures in place to attract investment and strategically revitalize in tough economic times. Panelists will discuss how revitalization looks for Ohio’s communities and ways that communities have prepared and are preparing for strategic investment. Panelists will discuss Opportunity Zones, community-created redevelopment funds, and other strategies to attract or generate needed capital


Preserving Neighborhoods of Choice through Affordability

In recent years, parts of Ohio have experienced a new wave of housing insecurity, with many residents unable to afford skyrocketing rent prices and mortgage payments. Affordable housing is a challenge in small and large communities across the state. Despite insufficient federal or state funding to combat these challenges, local practitioners and advocates are working with landlords, bringing the private sector to the conversation, and developing unique strategies for supporting affordable housing development and preservation across Ohio. Panelists will describe some of the ways their organizations have taken on this issue.


Market Rate Housing in Weak Market Cities

As many Ohio neighborhoods have seen rising home and rent prices, others have experienced stagnation and decline with property values too modest to easily access traditional sources of lending for home repairs or purchases.  Communities around the state are taking steps to preserve neighborhoods from falling into deeper decline and working to attract investments that will result in market-rate housing for a range of incomes.