The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 5, 2013

Opinions needed to help shape the future of Ashtabula County

By STACY MILLBERG - smillberg@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — Ashtabula County residents can help shape the future of the county and have a little fun at the same time.

As part of an effort through the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC), residents from all over Northeast Ohio can play an online game of sorts called Imagine My NEO. The game is more-or-less a scenario planning process where individuals can give their input on how they would like to see Northeast Ohio in the next 30 to 40 years, said Janice Switzer, director of the county community services and planning department.

The NEOSCC held several workshops back in May that were fairly well-attended, and now the group is trying to get more people to say what they would like to see.

Imagine My NEO is a little like Monopoly, only it doesn’t take as long to play, Switzer said. Individuals get play money and then get to decide what areas they would like to prioritize such as parks and jobs, for example. Individuals are awarded tokens that can be distributed to areas they deem important, she said.

Switzer said her concern is not a lot of people from Ashtabula County are participating in the program.

“Ashtabula County has a unique perspective and we need to share that with the rest of Northeast Ohio,” she said. “We don’t want people from outside the county decided what is best for the county.”

Switzer said the program is specifically looking to get the opinion of the younger generation as the idea is to shape the future of Northeast Ohio.

Individuals can play Imagine My NEO through mid-July. On July 31, NEOSCC will host an event at Kent State University Ashtabula in the Blue and Gold Room to discuss all the information compiled through the effort.

Individuals can play Imagine My NEO at VibrantNEO.org/Imagine.