Greg Dale, a consultant representing McBride, Dale & Clarion of Cincinnati, briefed Cleveland City Council members earlier this week on the progress being made by the strategic growth plan that includes government jurisdictions in Cleveland, Charleston and Bradley County, as well as Cleveland Utilities and the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
He said the initiative’s task should be completed by the end of the year and that a coming joint session between the City Council and the Bradley County Commission will be integral in its progress because local government leaders will have a chance to offer feedback on the BCC 2035’s direction. Dale will give a more detailed update on the strategic growth plan at the joint gathering scheduled for Oct. 13 at the Mountain View Inn. It begins at noon.
In this week’s presentation to the Council, Dale said the BCC 2035 — whose goal is to help guide organized growth in the area over the next 25 years — has identified 10 “Growth Coordination Recommendations.”
If the HUD application is granted — as submitted by the Cleveland Department of Community Development — it will pay for the growth strategy’s first four recommendations, as well as Recommendation No. 7.
The initiative’s recommendations include:
1. Create coordinated city/county comprehensive plans consistent with the common goals and vision of the strategic plan.
2. Create a joint master/area plan for the Southern Corridor Exit 20/McDonald area.
3. Create a joint master/area plan for the Northern Corridor/Mouse Creek Road area.
4. Create a master/area redevelopment plan for the Central City area.
5. Undertake long-range Capital Improvement Planning including a baseline Level of Service Standards and targeted needs to support forecast growth. Build new capital facilities and maintain targeted levels of service.
6. Continue strong economic development to balance commercial and residential growth to support a fiscally sustainable community.
7. Update land use regulations (zoning and subdivision regulations) consistent with updated comprehensive plans and the strategic plan vision.
8. Design and implement a rural strategy to maintain a desirable rural character and viable agriculture in the region.
9. Establish and maintain a central data clearinghouse to improve the quality and consistency of growth-related data used by departments, jurisdictions and agencies in their planning and marketing activities.
10. Establish an Implementation Oversight Committee to manage the joint implementation efforts of the cities and county in pursuit of the common goals and vision of this strategic plan.
Dale said the purpose of the final recommendation (No. 10) is to assure that accountability rests on the shoulders of a group or organization once the Strategic Task Force’s work is done. It is not inconceivable that the task force — comprised of local government, economic development, education and community leaders — could remain intact to serve in this role. Local government leaders who assembled the original task force will make the final decision.
Over the course of the study, four primary conclusions have been drawn, Dale told Council members. These must be addressed in order for the strategic growth plan to realize its full potential.
The conclusions include:
- Pattern of growth makes a substantial difference; a more compact pattern is the most fiscally efficient.
- But, it (compact pattern) must also be practical and achievable.
- Effective economic development improves the fiscal picture.
- “Next generation” capital planning and regional coordination is needed.
The growth strategy has evaluated four scenarios that could potentially govern future economic development in the Cleveland, Charleston and Bradley County community. These include:
- Scenario 1: Existing Trend Scenario calling for 70 percent of future growth in the county and 30 percent in the city;
- Scenario 2: Infill Scenario calling for 30 percent of future growth in the county and 70 percent in the city;
- Scenario 3: Southern Growth Scenario calling for shifting the growth trend south of APD 40; and
- Scenario 4: Blended Scenario calling for 55 percent of future growth in the county and 45 percent in the city.
Dale reminded City Council members the main reason for launching the strategic growth plan is because of the impact of new manufacturers coming to the area — most notably, Volkswagen and Wacker Chemie, and most recently the announcement by Whirlpool Corporation of its new $120 million manufacturing plant and distribution center on Benton Pike near Michigan Avenue Road.
Given this expected growth, over the next 25 years the population could increase by 33,000, some 14,000 new households can be expected and 9,000 new jobs could be created, Dale said.
The consultant stressed the strategic growth plan is not a tool by which the Cincinnati firm is telling the community what to do. Instead, the plan is presenting options.
“This is not a plan just for the city of Cleveland ... or for Bradley County,” Dale explained. He described it as a “collaborative process” involving all local jurisdictions.
Much of the plan, he added, is based on “ ... basic common-sense ideas.”
Greg Thomas, community development director, said if the HUD grant application is rejected, then local jurisdictions might be looking at a need for more staffing or hiring a paid consultant to oversee the strategic growth plan’s implementation.