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Vision for future includes sustainable growth

Published: November 19, 2013 4:00 AM

As someone who cares deeply about this region, and as the leader of an organization whose mission is helping our residents define and pursue a better future for Northeast Ohio, I am very grateful for the Record-Courier's endorsement of the work we are doing at the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium ("Putting Northeastern Ohio's future into focus," R-C editorial, Oct. 24).

Since NEOSCC commenced in 2010, we have received widespread support, as people and organizations have joined us in studying this region, figuring out our current conditions, listening to values and priorities of Northeast Ohio residents and helping develop a vision and framework that our region can use to pursue a more vibrant future.

In addition to that support, some have voiced criticism and fear of our work. Much of the criticism has been constructive and thoughtful, but some has been unfounded and misinformed. Unfortunately, this is a fair description of the letter from Hudson Councilman Alex Kelemen published recently in the Record-Courier.

NEOSCC's mission is to protect, preserve and advance the American way of life for current Northeast Ohioans and for future Northeast Ohio generations.

We think Northeast Ohio is great place, but find that much of what makes this region great is at risk. NEOSCC is trying to find collaborative, and yes, sustainable ways to protect the region for our children and grandchildren. (Sustainable thinking isn't new or foreign to our region. It's been around at least since farmers first realized the need to rotate crops to get the most out of the land.)

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But -- and this is very important -- NEOSCC is not a government body. We have no authority or ability to tax anyone, pass legislation, implement policy or exert any control over you, your family, your job or your property. All we can do is study and suggest ways to help Northeast Ohio; it will be for your local elected representatives to consider any ideas we present and determine whether they make sense for your community.

For the last three years, NEOSCC has worked tirelessly to bring people together to think through how we can become better stewards of our resources without sacrificing the things that have made Northeast Ohio a great place to live and raise a family. The vision we have helped develop for Northeast Ohio's future is designed to preserve our quality of life, expand choices for Northeast Ohioans, empower local governments and protect individual property rights.

We want Portage County, and every county and community in our region, to thrive and continue to be a great place for future generations. Thank you for the opportunity to share our perspective with your readers.

Hunter Morrison, Executive Director, Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium


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