More to the story
As the recipient of the Daniel Burnham Award for a comprehensive plan, I want to thank the APA for recognition of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium. Indeed, the Vibrant NEO plan is most worthy of the award. However, the story in Planning (April) did not do it justice, particularly relative to the local planning effort involved in developing the plan.
Omitted was the fact that it was an unprecedented partnership between the leaders of the MPOs/regional planning agencies for the metropolitan areas of Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Youngstown and a local philanthropic organization, the Fund for Our Economic Future, that drove the effort. In fact, the MPOs were the grant applicants, with the Cleveland MPO as the grantee and fiscal agent.
The partnership created a fully staffed project office that included new employees, staff loaned by the MPOs, and consultants. The MPOs comprised a technical steering committee to guide the work. With complementary and interchangeable roles, the team was seamless. Merging the local planners with the consultant team to work on all phases and aspects of the plan development, especially public outreach and analysis, was a critical part of the project. In order to create capacity for the future, it was always the intent that the process be just as important as the outcome. This approach is expected to pay great dividends as the same leaders will move Vibrant NEO from plan to action.
Also, please note that although the article credited Sasaki and its sub-consultants for their outstanding work, it failed to mention the firm of R Strategies, headquartered in Cleveland, for its excellent work.
— Grace Gallucci
Executive Director, Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency
Chair, Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium
Jon Arason's Viewpoint (April) included accurate observations about evening meetings. However, when he started counting the hours of unpaid compensation, he lost me.
Had he devoted time to volunteer work with APA and AICP, to teaching as an adjunct planning academician — at well below billable hours — or to lending expertise to planning where he resides, his clock would have gone well beyond the time he reported.
Not to sound like a martyr or a hero, but all these extracurricular activities have made me a more complete planner. And for those who tally the minutes, I can attest that you don't lose years; you gain experience!
Another take on Atlanta
Allen Best's article, "Selma Looks to Its Future" (April), explores Selma, Alabama's history and hopes for the future. It ends by saying that "Memphis, Atlanta, and Birmingham have all transcended their histories with ignoble chapters."
I understand the references to Memphis and Birmingham. But Atlanta? You mean the Atlanta referred to as "The City Too Busy to Hate," the Atlanta that celebrates Dr. King's birth and life and is his final resting place, the Atlanta that is home to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Atlanta that helped nurture the civil rights movement in the Sweet Auburn district and the city's six historically black colleges and universities? Those would be noble chapters in any city's history.
— Paul B. Kelman, FAICP
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