Regional/Greater Community Development News – April 30, 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
"America's Metro Regions Take Center Stage."
That's the title of a new report…some people will immediately retort:
"Metros? You can't be serious. …
And our reply: Flying almost undetected under the news radar, America's metropolitan regions are becoming central to today's American story — and future.
Our Citistates Group study, enhanced by … regional experts … discovered eight top reasons.
   1. Economics now reigns. Leaders in the regional pack — New York, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, the San Francisco Bay Area …recognized…globe was their market.
   2. "Smart growth — regions' new dollars and sense." …
   3. Lead regions are "getting it" — grasping that with weakened state and federal governments, they have to figure out their own futures.…
   4. Regions are getting down to business, …
   5. But regions' business success must go beyond mere "business." Smart strategies encompass equity — for example, infrastructure…
   6. Some states are moving from paternalism to partnership with their regions.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg told an audience of nearly 1,000 people at RPA's 2012 Regional Assembly… that New York's challenge is to continually work to encourage people to come and thrive here.
In a keynote address before an audience of business, civic and political leaders and planning experts, Bloomberg expressed optimism about the city's prospects, noting that New York diversity and concentration of talent is unparalleled anywhere in the world. He cited RPA's essential role in transforming the region, helping to create more sustainable communities and open spaces such as Governors Island to the public.
… In a wide-ranging discussion on city- and region-building for the 21st century (audio), New York Deputy Mayor Bob Steel said key pillars for making New York great included making the city livable for young people and keeping it welcoming for business. … IBM vice president for Smarter Cities, suggested that local governments need to be bold about making data available to residents.
A regional approach to public safety? Why not? We have it for water, roads, the environment, and many more areas of governance. As an elected official, we are part of many regional initiatives and authorities. Having served on a regional authority, the MPO, for over 22 years, I have seen the benefits of regional collaboration first hand.
… Commissioners were given a presentation on the challenges confronting our public safety radio network. The need for improvements as well as synergies could take place, if we look to have an Interlocal Agreement with Sarasota. …
Recently, I started writing down the list below of other public safety issues that could benefit from a regional approach versus a piece-meal approach.…
- Radio services
- Jail
Here are some examples of services that could be undertaken by the “Sarasota-Manatee Public Safety Authority” if it was created:
- Provide radio communication for public safety providers in the region and governmental units…
- Provide a regional 911 center…

The Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, after being on the fence for months, is announcing its opposition to the July 31 vote for a regional transportation sales tax (also called the T-SPLOST).
Colleen Kiernan, director of the Sierra Club’s Georgia Chapter,… the $6.14 billion list of projects would primarily generate more sprawl rather than encourage more sustainable development patterns in metro Atlanta.
“This project list is primarily a business-as-usual sprawl-inducing road program…We support Plan B — a fix-it-first road strategy and a project list that emphasizes transit expansion and improvement.”
Her comment flies in the face of most people and organizations who support the one-percent sales tax that would be levied in the 10 metro counties. Proponents have said this tax must pass because “there is no Plan B.”
“We hope Atlanta can follow the example of Seattle, defeat the current proposal and get right to work on Plan B, …
Building off the success of a 5-year-old economic development plan that focused on branding the outdoors and creating jobs, the Roanoke Regional Partnership…next five-year plan will expand on the same areas -- and some new -- to further growth.
The partnership, an economic development driver for the region, unveiled its new plan…
…partnership has been talking for several months with business leaders who have already contributed $2.2 million toward the $3 million goal.
The counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke and the cities of Roanoke and Salem will match the private funds.
…employers who say the region's outdoor assets have helped them lure new talent. They have also helped draw to the region outdoor-related businesses, such as, an online retailer of outdoor gear that is building a distribution center in Montgomery County.
 And the creation of the RoanokeOutside website has helped the community better enjoy and spread the word about the region, …
This year, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s annual update on central Ohio’s economy extended beyond the region’s 12 counties and touched on dozens of foreign countries.
The commission presented its 2012 State of the Region yesterday, emphasizing the area’s global connections.
The region “is becoming more competitive on a global scale and securing a more vibrant, sustainable future for all of us,” said Marilyn Brown, incoming chairwoman of MORPC’s board. In 2011, 129,089 people living in the 12-county region were foreign-born — 6percent of the total, according to MORPC. The largest numbers came from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Franklin County had the highest foreign-born population in the area, 9.3 percent. In the greater Columbus area, the largest percentages came from Mexico and India, according to the agency. MORPC incorporated into its presentation the Columbus Council on World Affairs’ global report.
…comparing Columbus’ economy…15 U.S. cities…15 foreign cities
Rifle citizens have already balked at the idea of joining RFTA, but if they want expanded transit service, partnering with the regional agency may be far cheaper than building a system from the ground up.
That was a central message of transportation planner Jim Charlier's presentation… at the first event of the Downtown Development and Design Academy (3DA).
The academy is a six-week public outreach effort by the city to garner feedback on transit and economic revitalization opportunities in Rifle.
“If we want transit in Rifle we have to think regionally, about Glenwood Springs, Silt, New Castle and Grand Junction,” he said.
…teaming up with a regional transit agency is likely to be cheaper for Rifle than founding its own local service, since the city's small population likely wouldn't yield the ridership necessary to support an independent bus system.
…funded by a 2011 federal grant for $806,000…
The CEOs of Yale-New Haven Hospital and St. Raphael Healthcare System addressed the area’s mayors …on the proposed merger between the two institutions — and came out of it with the officials’ support.
…CEO of Yale-New Haven Hospital, and … president and CEO of St. Raphael Healthcare System, pitched the merger as “an opportunity” born out of necessity.
The necessity in this case was that St. Raphael’s was $36 million in the red and was being told by its credit advisers “that independence wasn’t an option,” O’Connor told the South Central Regional Council of Governments.
“The healthcare industry …
“Why is there so much integration, merger and acquisition activity? ... The simple answer is because healthcare is unaffordable the way it is provided right now,” …
…Medicaid patients account for “about 12½ percent of our revenue,” yet the state pays just 62 percent on the dollar for the cost of health care…
Private insurers…saying they are not going to pay the hidden cost…
Top of Regional Cities Victoria’s state budget wishlist is a planning study for each of its 10 member cities.
RCV has asked for $1 million to be distributed between its members — including Ballarat — to help prepare for projected population growth.
Its other priorities include $1 million over three years for an Industry Broker Program for regional cities, $1 million to match federal government funding for a regional cities marketing campaign and $500,000 over two years for a Digital Economy Plan.
 …Councillor…88 per cent of Victorians live in Melbourne and the RCV’s member cities of Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.
“I don’t think there is any more important time for Regional Cities Victoria to play an advocacy role…
“There has been a lot of debate of late over population growth and its effect on the regions.
“We have to understand there will be challenges in putting infrastructure in place ahead of development and growth.”
Councils around the Greater Wellington region are consulting with rate payers on whether to merge into a supercity.
With a total of 3000 employees, there are nine councils in the region representing just under half a million people.
Central Government is pushing for local body reforms, and the Regional Council has responded by establishing a panel of independent experts to investigate merger models.
Greater Wellington Regional Council is looking at "something that gives us really strong community input…
And then that we get good regional decision-making on the big issues,"…
The region is considering a variety of options, including keeping the councils as they are and sharing more services and amenities, dividing the region into three authorities, or merging them all into one.
But while the Regional Council has invited local councils to participate in the discussion, most local bodies have opted for their own consultation process, out of a fear of losing independence. ...
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