$4.25m sustainable communities consortium begins outreach process

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium, a major public initiative to help move Northeast Ohio towards a more sustainable, resilient future, will launch a public engagement process in the next few months. Young professionals are among the first constituencies being targeted in this effort to create a sustainability plan for the region.

"We're looking at how we are using land through the lens of sustainability," explains Jeff Anderle, Communications and Engagement Manager for the NEOSCC, which received a $4.25 million grant from the Obama administration's Partnership for Sustainable Communities initiative and launched in January 2011. "We want to make Northeast Ohio more resilient to change, help our governments to be more collaborative and provide the tools for communities to engage in more sustainable planning."

The NEOSCC has five different work study areas: economic development, environment, communities, connections, and quality, connected places. Consortium members include city governments, planning agencies and other public entities throughout the 12-county planning area. According to Anderle, NEOSCC's members are working together because they realize it is in their self-interest to help ensure that the region's resources are used more sustainably.

"We're starting to see collaboration happening in government because resources are getting tight, and moving forward, we believe collaboration will become essential," he says. "People are waking up and coming to the table."

Over the next few months, the NEOSCC will publish an existing conditions report and begin public engagement. "We're partnering with the Civic Commons," says Anderle. "We want to empower people to become a part of the process."

Source: Jeff Anderle
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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