Vibrant NEO 2040, a 12-counTY
study that projects needs and aspirations for Northeastern Ohio, has provided a valuable service by getting the planning agencies in the 12 counties and those interested in community planning talking about our future.
Led by Hunter Morrison, chief planner for Youngstown State University, the study was funded by grants from the federal government and the Cleveland-based Fund for Our Economic Future.
Anyone interested in the future of Northeastern Ohio was invited to participate in any of the numerous and well-publicized forums that were staged in communities throughout the region during 2013. Those who attended were asked to list their goals for the region and offer suggestions on how to achieve them.
During the month of October, the team conducting the study has been making the rounds, showing its results. Almost predictably, the results indicate a desire to improve. Laudably, the suggestions for doing so are sensible and realistic.
They include promoting investment in establish communities, rejuvenating core downtowns and those of older suburbs as opposed to despoiling more greenspace with more sprawl. The study indicates a desire to protect the soil, water and air and ecologically sensitive areas and in so doing improving the region's fiscal health, again by containing sprawl which can curtail endless splitting up of scarce resources on ever new roads, sewer and water lines, school bus routes and other escapes from the horrors of downtowns that inevitably follow the sprawl of cities into their suburbs and exurbs. The study also calls for expanded parks and open spaces and the protection of our pristine environment, all reachable goals if communities develop sensibly.
Some, who should know better, laugh at community planning, the same critics forgetting how carefully they may map out their own futures, eyeing gated retirement communities sheltered from the vicissitudes of city life as their final destinations, perhaps.
The better way to confront our future is to deal with what is here, cleaning up the mess, shouldering our obligations to leave a better world for all.
That's the kind of thinking the people behind Vibrant NEO 2040 are trying to stimulate and hats off to them for doing so.
It's a cliche to see Latin America as a society of the very rich and very poor, the wealthy in that society living isolated in their walled-off compounds protected against the poor by hired guards who shoulder their Uzi weapons in threatening manners. That is what happens when the rich turn their backs and claim the welfare of all is not their concern, but the result of bad choices by those of the masses.
We hope America is not heading in that direction. Certainly, Vibrant NEO 2040 is a push in a better direction, an effort to spell out and aspire to a society where we're all in it together, a valiant attempt at setting some goals that in 2040 will make this a great place for all to live and work as proud inhabitants of Northeastern Ohio.
I'm sorry,did you say "numerous and well-publicized"? I've read the entire RC everyday for more than a year, and have never even heard of "Vibrant NEO 2040".