The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 1, 2013

Community offers opinions to shape northeast Ohio’s future

By STACY MILLBERG - smillberg@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — Members of the community had an opportunity, Wednesday, to lend their opinion and potentially help shape the future of the region.

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium rolled into Ashtabula County for its third of 10 workshops throughout northeast Ohio. The objective of the workshops is to present some alternative future scenarios for the region, said Jeff Anderle, deputy director of communications for NEOSCC.

The organization had a series of meetings throughout April and May to discuss what the region would look like in the next 25 to 30 years if the region continued following the current trends of land use and transportation, etc. The meetings then moved on to discuss what the region would look like if certain things, such as land use and transportation, changed, Anderle said.

“We’re presenting them now,” he said.

The initiative has been ongoing for the past two and a half years. It is being funded through a partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

NEOSCC presented four alternative scenarios at the workshop. The community was invited to come to Kent State University Ashtabula Campus between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to view the scenarios and offer their opinions on them. Display boards were set up around the room outlining each scenario.

The four scenarios include a “trend scenario,” which is what the region would look like by staying on the current path; a “grow the same scenario,” which is what the region would look like with a little bit of growth; a “do things differently scenario,” which is what the region would look like if growth stayed the same but things were done differently; and a “grow differently scenario” that depicts what the region would look with growth and other things were also done differently, Anderle said.

Each board contained a summary of the different scenarios and the community could walk through and see how different things would effect each scenario.

“We’re not asking people to cheese “A,” “B,” “C” or “D,” Anderle said. “We’re asking them to identify what they like on each of them.”

Members of the community that were not able to attend Wednesday’s workshop can view each of the scenarios on NEOSCC’s website, www.vibrantneo.org, watch an introduction video and leave comments and feedback, he said.

Ashtabula County Commissioner Peggy Carlo said people are always saying they never have an opportunity to give their input about the community and the workshop provided them with that opportunity.

“This is where people need to get involved,” she said. “If you don’t have a plan, you can’t move forward. Nothing happens overnight.”