Regional Community Development News - June 10 & 11, 2011

1. Don't follow Detroit's route, region urged - Edmonton Journal - Alberta

A new economic road map for the Edmonton region will help the area avoid the wrong 
turns that drove Detroit's economy from 1970s Motor City superpower to financial 
ruin, ... 

The chairman of the committee that developed the 300-page document released Thursday said bad decisions contributed to Detroit's current economic woes. The city went from being one of the most important manufacturing centres in the world to the municipality it is 
today, "run down, hollowed out, fighting for its life," Jackson von der Ohe told civic 
politicians from 24 Edmonton-area communities at a Capital Region Board meeting.

The average sale price of a house in the debt-ridden American city is now $13,000, 
von der Ohe said.

"So what happened? It's a good cautionary tale for all of us to acknowledge just how 
difficult a situation can become, even for a worldleading city region, once things get off 
course. Outcomes are the results of decisions that were made. Things don't just 

Detroit bickered with its suburban neighbours, relied on the auto industry without a backup plan, failed to capitalize on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, and was too complacent as schools and neighbourhoods deteriorated and residents moved out, he said.

Detroit's rival city, Chicago, took a different path that has made it the fourth-largest urban economy in the world and an educational, financial and cultural centre of excellence, von der Ohe said.


Note: Following is the link to the Capital Region Board - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
where the full report and Executive Summary can be downloaded. My search of the Report PDF and the site found no reference to Detroit or Chicago. "The Capital Region Growth Plan: Growing Forward" is a substantial document and worth a review. 

2.  Charlottesville Tomorrow News Center: Supervisors drop ICLEI membership but 
renew grant commitment

After a lengthy public hearing, a divided Albemarle Board of Supervisors voted 
end the county’s membership in a nonprofit organization that provides software and 
technical advice to communities seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The vote came immediately after a unanimous vote to continue the county’s 
participation in a $1 million regional sustainability planning grant being administered 
by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.

Eighty-three people spoke at the public hearing, ...

The county joined ICLEI in late 2007 after the board adopted a resolution to join the 
Cool Counties initiative to pursue reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the county 
as a whole. ...

Supervisor Duane Snow said he believes ICLEI is an international organization that 
seeks to control the behavior of Albemarle citizens.
Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker said the $1,200 annual membership in ICLEI provided 
the county with a lot of benefits and came without any strings attached.

On the subject of the regional planning grant, Rooker quoted from the staff report that recommended continued participation in the three-year joint effort with the city of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.

“The grant funds additional staff support for updating the county Comprehensive Plan without [the need for] additional county resources, provides for expanded public outreach … and the project heightens the area’s ongoing collaborative and cooperative planning efforts,” Rooker said.

Rooker said pulling out of the grant would be a “slap in the face” to the city, UVa and the TJPDC.

However, Boyd said he continued to be concerned about the grant because he never saw the details in the grant application before it was submitted. He said he would only support signing the contract if the board could control which subject areas staff would study as part of the work.

3. RTM Hears Pitch to Convert SWRPA to a Council - - Westport, 

Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) barely blinked tonight as it voted 
unanimously on the first six agenda items.

But the final item not even scheduled for a vote—converting the South Western 
Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA), of which Westport is one of eight members, to a 
Council of Governments (COG)—had many members of the legislative body rushing to 
the podium to question First Selectman Gordon Joseloff. 

Joseloff addressed the RTM in a first reading of a proposed ordinance which would 
approve creation of the COG and authorize Westport’s participation in it along with the 
other SWRPA municipalities of Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, 
Weston, and Wilton.

“We looked at the other regions in the state and saw there was a movement to this 
form of government,” said Joseloff. He noted that 10 of the 15 regional planning 
agencies statewide have already switched to a COG or similar system known as a 
Council of Elected Officials.

4. Kent State study lists 240 ideas for regional collaboration |

From joint fire dispatching to shared accounting departments, Northeast Ohio governments have dreamed up more than 240 ideas to share services and save money, a Kent State University study has found.

The university's Center for Public Administration and Public Policy has compiled a (PDF)  list of 105 ideas to share with local leaders and inspire them to think creatively. A separate list of ideas being implemented is coming soon.

The goal: to get more local governments to pool resources.

"There's a lot of discussion happening in this area right now," said John Hoornbeek, the center's director. "For the most part, it's productive discussion that could give rise to positive changes if local governments can find ways to make some of these ideas work."

The ideas are culled from 16 Northeast Ohio counties, home to 868 separate government entities that spend $20 billion annually to run themselves, according to The Fund for the Economic Future, which worked with Kent on the list.


Research Overview -The Innovator's Collaborative Series

For more than thirty years, the Center for Public Administration and Public Policy at 
Kent State University (the KSU Center) has conducted research and provided 
assistance to improve the capacities and performance of Ohio local governments. Of all 
of the subjects addressed by the Center, however, intergovernmental collaboration is 
one of the most relevant to current challenges facing Ohio.

5. Regional fire service plan going nowhere - Port Orchard Independent

Ever since the idea for consolidating South Kitsap Fire and Rescue with its 
counterparts in Bremerton and possibly Central Kitsap was first broached several 
years ago, its proponents have insisted the reorganized entity could offer economies of 
scale that would make it cheaper to operate while keeping service levels at their 
current levels or better.

The draft plan currently on the table, however, offers neither. ... fatal flaw in the plan 
is that the city of Bremerton currently spends about $2.4 million more on its fire 
department than the regional authority could collect in taxes.

The regional fire service plan being considered now fails to address how that gap would 
be filled. ... But of course we all know the answer to that question. Once up and 
running, the consolidated fire district would be our only protection against disaster, 
and we could hardly turn down the request for a tax increase to fund it if the 
alternative was chaos or drastically reduced service levels.

6. Panhandle counties prepare for disasters : News :

Wildfires have been the big topic for emergency officials ... not 
only the dry conditions but other disaster situations.

It's all part of the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission's Emergency 
Preparedness Committee designed to bring everyone up to date and form bonds 
between responders, which Roberts county Judge Vernon Cook said was vitally 
important during wildfires there a few years ago.

"We had 22 fire departments in Roberts county and Miami area and we were able to 
communicate with 4 of them directly by radio. Any emergency management operation 
can't take place effectively without effective communication," says Judge Cook.

Situations like this are why the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission's Emergency 
Preparedness Advisory Committee began holding conferences three years ago, ... 

"It doesn't matter what type of disaster we're talking about, our emergency managers 
have to be prepared to respond to any type situation," ...

7. SPC talking smart growth for region - Staff Blogs - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Spent the lunch hour on the 31st floor of the Regional Enterprise Tower trying not to 
think about whether I could make it down so many steps in case of a fire, but the wonk 
in me succumbed to the topic at hand ...

The topic was sustainability. It shouldn’t be a wonky topic. It is juicy, sexy, lush green 
and exciting. Its problem is six syllables. Smart growth has two and that’s the same 
thing, so let’s talk smart.

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, that august regional planning body that 
sometimes gets a bad rap for such things as the Mon-Fayette Expressway, is talking 
smart. ... 

It appears that SPC has been planning smart, ... 

Court Gould, the executive director of Sustainable Pittsburgh, is trying to encourage 
more business people to get involved because, as bottom-line folks, they’re driving the 
sustainability bus and can help push for smart planning. In today’s session, the focus 
was on transit-oriented development, which means “put stuff where the buses stop.”

8. Work Hard – Work Smart Receives $241,000 Wagner - Peyser Grant | PRLog

Work Hard – Work Smart, a certifying work-readiness initiative of the Wichita Falls 
Chamber of Commerce and Industry, ... $241,000 Wagner-Peyser Grant ...Texas 
Governor’s office and distributed by the Texas Workforce Commission. 

Work Hard – Work Smart is collaboration between the Wichita Falls Chamber of 
Commerce, Workforce Solutions – North Texas, NORTEX Regional Planning 
Commission,   ...

“Being located in rural Texas and trying to bring jobs to our area, the Wichita Falls 
region competes with the larger metropolitan areas such as Dallas, ..  How do we make 
ourselves different?  What distinguishes us from Longview, Midland, Odessa, Abilene, 
Lawton (OK) or Ardmore (OK)?  How do we make ourselves different?   We have the 
opportunity to differentiate ourselves in the way we promote our workforce. These 
areas produce very similar workforce statistics. Our goal is to promote 10% of our 
current labor force in Wichita County as possessing the National Career Readiness 
Certificate, “ ...

9. Virginia looking to capitalize on Civil War tourism | Nelson County Times

When West Virginia sells its Civil War tourism, it's also selling Virginia. Ditto for 
Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee.

All five states participate in Civil War Trails, a $7 million operation that's run out of the 
Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

So when they advertise their Civil War sites, they're also linking to Virginia's, said Jack 
Berry, president of the Richmond visitors bureau, in a presentation to the Richmond 
Regional Planning District Commission ......

"We are history, like it or not," Berry said, "and most known for the Civil War. We're 
not the Big Easy, not the Big Apple. We've got to market history because that's who we 

The city also is fortunate to have more than history. ...Museum of Fine Arts... 
hundreds of other things to do in the region.

"The secret is, there's so much going on. … The Civil War is great. But there's so much 

The diversity has helped the city tourism industry withstand the economic downturn, 
he said.

10. Team chosen for LA Regional Connector - RailwayAge Magazine

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) has selected a joint venture of AECOM and Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) to provide conceptual planning and preliminary design for the $1.4 billion Metro Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project, ...

Construction on the connector could begin in 2013 and be completed by 2019, depending on the availability of federal funding. 

The project envisions uniting disparate segments of Los Angeles’ rapidly growing light rail transit (LRT) network, as well as tying LRT in more completely with Union Station, served by Amtrak and Metrolink trains. (See map below.) The 1.9-mile-long underground rail connection will link ... 

The Regional Connector will receive partial funding from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by the voters of Los Angeles County in November 2008 as part of the Measure R program, funding transportation improvements totaling $40 billion over a 30-year period.

11.  Call for Papers for the American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2012 Annual Meeting

The Call for Papers for the AAG 2012 Annual Meeting in New York, February 24-28, 2012 is underway.  Individuals may present in only one of the four categories: Paper Presentation Illustrated Paper Presentation Poster Presentation Interactive Short Paper Presentation  The Abstract Guidelines provides useful information on how to format the abstract, select keywords, and several other important tips. 

More bookmarks:

Regional Communities - "Think Local Planet, Act Regionally." 

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