Regional/Greater Community Development News – March 5, 2012

     Multi-jurisdictional intentional regional communities are, in all cases, “Greater Communities” where “community motive” is at work at a more than a local scale. This newsletter provides a scan of regional community, cooperation and collaboration activity as reported in news media and blogs. More articles are at
Top 10 Stories
RTD negotiated northwest rail service as part of a regional transportation plan and “cannot re-open this negotiation without tearing our regional neighbors apart, threatening the future of regional transit planning itself,” Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder wrote today.
Voters in the U.S. 36 corridor provided a “critical majority” in the 2004 FasTracks vote and “that support should be honored in going back to voters for additional revenue,” Polis said in a letter to RTD General Manager Phil Washington.
The letter comes in advance of a staff recommendation to the Regional Transportation District board on how to proceed with the metro area’s regional transportation plan given the northwest rail line predicted to cost $894 million in 2004 is now estimated at $1.7 billion. That recommendation, which is expected this evening, will be considered by the board at its Thursday meeting.
The decision will ultimately inform a larger decision on asking voters for additional money to complete FasTracks
5140-44-03-Denver.Regional, re:referendum, re:legislators, re:trans.rail, re:trans.funding
Mayor Rahm Emanuel ... unveiled his first formal blueprint for revitalizing the region's economy. The preliminary planning document aims for the sky and hints at how the city will try to get there, but stops short of proposing specific initiatives.
"A Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs" was developed by World Business Chicago, the city's non-profit economic development agency …
The study offers up 10 strategic goals:
- Accelerate growth in advanced manufacturing. …
- Increase attractiveness as a center for business services and headquarters. …
- Become more competitive as a transportation and logistics hub. …
- Make Chicago a premier destination for travelers. …
- Make Chicago a leading exporter. …
- Create demand-driven job training. …
- Foster innovation and entrepreneurship. …
- Invest in next-generation infrastructure, including transit, water, energy and virtual connections. …
- Nurture neighborhood development. …
- Create a civic environment in which business can flourish. ...
5140-30-0x-CMAP-Chicago, re:jobs, re:strategies, re:strate, re:plan, re:economic
For the second time this month, the name of a proposed regional fire department in Dexter met with mixed response from Dexter Village Council trustees.
Officials in Dexter and the surrounding townships … have been in negotiations for the past two years to develop a plan to merge Scio and Dexter's departments into one unit. However, one issue that has continually stalled the village's decision to press forward involves changing the name of the proposed department from the Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) to Washtenaw Fire and Rescue.

"When we started this two years ago, our goal was to develop a model where we wouldn't have to change the name again if other municipalities joined in the future. …
… it will cost approximately $133,818 to change the name on Scio and Dexter's fire equipment, trucks and uniforms. … prices do not reflect the cost of changing signs at each station, …
State Rep. Mark Ouimet … disagreements over department name changes are common across Michigan.
5140-27-01-Southeastern-Detroit, re:name.change, re:fire.department

For the Madison region the future is all about growth. Where we put it. How we shape it. Who comes. Who goes.
Every couple of years an expert shows up to tell us that things aren't as great as we think. Last month it was a consultant from Atlanta, hired by the regional economic development group called Thrive.
He told a meeting of business and community leaders that Madison wasn't well known nationally and that unless we marketed ourselves better we could see the economic parade pass us by.
There wasn't anything new, remarkable or false in his conclusions. But the truth is, despite the occasional dire warning, there's no realistic scenario under which Madison won't continue to be an attractive and successful community. …
The central problem here is how to manage our success. It comes down to this: Do we want to be successful but uglier, more sprawling and more socially stratified? Or do we want to be successful but even more beautiful, compact, vibrant and equitably prosperous?
5140-31-09-Data.Region-Madison, re:sprawl, re:growth, re:regionally, re:govern
Several economic development entities along the Interstate 10 corridor in south Louisiana are teaming up to form a "super region" to better cooperate on regional initiatives.
… conversations about creating a regional coalition started about three years ago, then intensified last year during the special legislative session about Congressional redistricting and reapportionment.
… "We fought successfully in that special session to keep what was the 7th Congressional District intact, and we realized at that time that we could accomplish more by unifying than by going our separate ways."
The "super region" will include Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes. Some of the entities involved will include the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, the Acadiana Regional Alliance and Acadiana Economic Development.
5140-23-05-Imperial.Calcasieu-Lake.Charles, 5140-23-04-Acadiana-Lafayette, re:development.economic, re:corridor, re:super-region
In the new global economy, metropolitan regions are the new centers of commerce.
Now more than ever, cities and counties within regions must work together to do joint governmental planning and development, and provide not only police, fire and safety services but other land use, transportation and telecommunications systems as well.
Most people already live in one jurisdiction, work in other, and play or dine in a third. They have no idea that the cost to them is enormous because of the duplication and waste of often so many cities in the region. Moreover, they do not realize that the new creative economy demands consolidation to save money, and to reposition itself in the new global economy.
It is cheaper, sure, but the real reasons are to stimulate economic prosperity. By reorganizing, as syndicated columnist Neil Peirce has pointed out, these new "city-states" as he calls them, "have a shared identification, function as a single zone for trade commerce and communication."
re:commerce, re:cities.counties, re:services,, re:technology, re:broadband, re:metroplitan
Respect. Trust. Co-operation.
Those were key issues that Regional Chair Gary Burroughs hammered home on a number of occasions during and after his annual State of the Region address in Thorold on Wednesday.

After a gruelling process over the past year came up with a new economic development model to replace the oft-criticized Niagara Economic Development Corp., the Region has embarked on what will likely be two prickly issues: deciding how water and sewer services should be delivered in the future, and governance reform.
Burroughs also said he recognized that local municipal governments often eye the Region with wariness. During recent discussions on changing how water and sewer services are delivered … regional staff said some of the local governments were being less than co-operative in terms of providing statistics on water use.
Burroughs admitted that in his previous role as Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake he was also guilty of mistrusting the Region’s long reach.
5130-06-0X-Niagara, re:trust, re:water.service, re:infrastructure, re:cooperation
Another reason for residents to demand regional amalgamation — how can we expect our province to be transparent and efficient, when we are failing in our own municipalities.
Not only is the overpass issue in Central Saanich a case for amalgamation, but also fire protection, policing, Blue bridge…
And the “borrowing in anticipation,” isn’t that like counting your chickens before they hatch? Meanwhile, the region is screaming for sewage and road infrastructure. All 345,000 of us share each other’s boundaries and offerings — what will it take for us to come together and work as a cohesive society? Bailouts?
Maybe civil disobedience is the only way to wake up 13 municipalities. Can you imagine if all 345,000 people in the region said, “sorry mayors and councillors, you are wasting our money, we are not paying our property taxes this year until you implement a plan that will streamline this region.”
Then we can, as a united region, put pressure on the province for further requirements
5130-10-0X-Capital-Victoria, re:editorial.opinion.letter, re:greater, re:amalgamation
The mayors of St. Petersburg and Tampa sat down Tuesday with top business leaders from both cities for an unprecedented meeting focused on one question.
How can the region, especially its business community, better support the Tampa Bay Rays?
"There's no game plan as of yet, because this was the first conversation," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said afterward.
But both politicians and business leaders recognize "that we've got to be all in," Buckhorn said, "specifically the business community, because they're the ones who will drive the ticket sales."
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster organized the meeting, which took place at the Tampa offices of the Tampa Bay Partnership, a nonprofit regional marketing and economic development organization.
Along with the mayors, the discussion drew Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce … St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce … Tampa Bay Partnership … Progress Energy Florida.
5140-18-08-Tampa.Bay, re:economic.development, re:business, re:partnership, re:leaders, re:mayors, re:sports

We’ve found the need to localize the planning process to be critical for two reasons. First, in the processes that we have observed, we have found that the planning process can have value in and of itself. Genuinely engaging citizens in asking questions about their shared future and exploring the realities of their economic and infrastructure situation gives them a stake in the future. A planning process built around creating a sense of ownership, individual responsibility, and commitment to place are critical … Such a process can only be achieved at the most local level.
Second, planning should begin at the smallest level possible to ensure that regional plans reflect the diversity of rural regions, even between neighboring counties. What we typically refer to as a region is less a unified concept, and more a network of unique, interconnected community nodes. Regions are strong when each node has both a strong sense of identity as well as a commitment to the broader region. …
re:regional, re:local, re:citizen.participation, re:planning, re:rural
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