A river flows more smoothly and safety if the banks of its channels are high enough to keep the water in, and communities make better decisions easier if the process helps them stay on track.
Green Township faced deep divisions between people who wanted new development and people who wanted to close the doors and keep everyone else out. Trying to figure out how what one of your main corridors should look like in the middle of this situation is not an easy task. If the Harrison Avenue Corridor Plan was to be of any use, it had to bridge this gap. A strategy developed by a team led by Della Rucker did just that.
Crafting a successful plan required the ultimate in decision-making tools: a carefully-planned, detail-oriented and focused methodology for uncovering common ground and shaping decisions around shared values. That didn’t just happen by magic, though. Here are some of the pieces of the Green Township recipe:
- An economic analysis that connected local economic development trends to regional transportation, geography and population growth issues to demonstrate that the Township was likely to experience swelling demand for this location — demand that created a justification for high development standards as a means of protecting the value of this previous resource.
- Carefully-managed leadership meetings that substituted focused deliberations for the type of free-wheeling discussions that (in a context like this) can easily bog down and fail to create concensus.
- A strategy of respecting different areas’ historic scale and natural character by developing design standards that work within each environment.
- A public meeting process that used structured activities to allow participants to give feedback in a wide variety of ways — without creating an opportunity for unconstructive public grandstanding.
The Harrison Avenue Corridor plan was approved unanimously –an achievement that was so unusual for this historically-contentious community that it led Page B1 of the next day’s Greater Cincinnati daily newspaper.