Thursday, May 28, 2009

Visioning: Steering Committee!

Dear People: This notice is appearing in this week's YS News, which I'm sure some of you have already seen:

"The Yellow Springs Village Council and Miami Township Trustees have begun a Visioning/Planning Process in conjunction with the consultant ACP that will help us develop a roadmap for the future of the community. The first order of business is to form a Steering Committee that is representative of the community to lead and coordinate the process. The Steering Committee will meet a minimum of once a month for a period of nine months. If you are interested in being involved or have questions, please provide a brief statement of interest to Len Kramer via email at or by calling 767- 2324."

I'd like you to think about who would be good members for this committee--including you yourself?--and for the other committees that will be formed (most of which will require less time than this Steering Committee). Bear in mind that we want people, maybe about 24?, who represent (or are connected with and trusted by) the widest possible variety of constituencies--in terms of the standard demographic groups (by ages, genders, races, abilities, orientations, etc.), geographic locations (around the village and the township), and roles in the community (young adults, people who work here, people who work outside town/township, people with children and child-free, artists, business people, people who may be not so visible).

The other committees (logistics--helping line up meeting locations, etc.; advertising, etc.) will be formed soon as well, so feel free to notify Len or me if you think you'd like to play a role, but maybe a more short-term, less intensive one than the steering committee would be. I bet we can find a role for you.

Many of us, many of you, are already active and engaged in the community, but some of us are not so engaged. The Visioning process could be very important in helping us to better understand what the community wants, and helping to direct the way we direct funds and make decisions, but the value of the information we get will be directly proportional to the participation in the process by the widest possible variety of people--including people who are feeling somewhat disenfranchised.

I am concerned that if only the people who are already vocal are included, the information will be seriously skewed in a way that would be detrimental to the whole process, possibly for years to come.

The task force that helped us to choose a consultant is now helping to collect names for this effort, and to consider how we will get broad representation on board. Please help us think of good people to ask to be a part of this--and/or groups who you think might be forgotten or fall through the cracks.

You can contact me or go directly to Len Kramer via the contact info listed above.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Singing in the 'brary...

{--a great image of Mark snagged from the Art Council blog, but this pic doesn't seem to come up any more...Nevertheless, check out the Arts blog, because they have posted a great google map of public art in YS....

Hey, y'all--Just FYI: I'm going to be singing this Thursday with Mark Crockett and friends in the YS Public Library...

Music-in-the-Library Series: Fulton* Blues with Mark Crockett, Ona Harshaw, and L.B. Fred
Thurs., May 21, 7-8 p.m. Enjoy a laid back musical evening of acoustic blues with musicians Mark Crockett, Ona Harshaw, and L.B. Fred....(and me, for two-three of the songs!)

*I'm told Ona said 'folks and blues' but over the phone it sounded like "Fulton"!

Monday, May 18, 2009

VC: Arts, Sustainability, and Planning

{-- The Jafagirls did some spring decorating last year in the men's loo downtown, aka "The Chamber Pot Gallery"...

Dear People: Happy Spring Clean Up week! (Rumpke will pick up large items for free this week; I hope village garage sales went ok, despite the rain...!)


1) I am officially moving my office hour to Wednesday at 10 AM. Still at the Emporium. That seems like a better time for me, and, I think, for others. I'll be there this Wed.

2) There's an opening on the Environmental Commission--please let me know if you're interested! We are working well and efficiently--our next meeting is next Thurs. May 28, room A& B, if you'd like to check us out!

TONIGHT'S AGENDA: Although there's no legislation, there are a few big items on the agenda for tonight's meeting:

1) SPECIAL REPORT: YS ARTS COUNCIL: The steering committee for the center for the arts will report on a potential arts center, including, I have heard informally, a possible site. (I don't have any documents about this presentation at this time.)

2) OLD BUSINESS: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: We'll continue our discussion of economic development, starting with A) a report from Village Manager Mark Cundiff, entitled "Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP)" (it starts on page 45 of the online version of the Council packet, if you'd like to read it.) Additionally, B) Council pres., Judith Hempfling and citizens Benjy Maruyama & Dimi Reber have written a memo entitled "Village Funded Economic Development Draft Outline" (which begins on page 10 of this online version of the Council packet.)

A. Mark's memo redux: Drawing on the thoughts that were presented at our last meeting, Mark calls for an "ESP" focusing on three main components:

  • Start up & Growth of new businesses, hoping that one is a new Antioch College, and making use of the resources of groups like the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) at Springfield & Wright State and BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living.

  • Market & Recruit attracting new, existing business, primarily to the CBE (Center for Bus & Education, i.e., the Antioch McGregor building site), but also creating brochure(s) highlighting what spaces are available for development, cooperating with the Chamber of Commerce.

  • Retain & Expand exisiting businesses, assisting in expansion efforts, using the BusinessFirst program we're already a part of.

Staffing is the key question: Having considered in his last memo on this topic 4 possibilities--hiring a full time ED person, hiring a part time ED person, creating a new Development Corporation, or working with consultants/contractors, Mark now feels that the lattermost option is our best option: to hire consultants to work with interns/volunteers especially to:

  • research incentive programscolllect data (workforce within 30 min. commute, distance to airports, intermodal rail sidings, interstate highways etc)
  • gather info for brochuresresearch 'targeted' businesses
Mark suggests we need to decide whether to target BRAC businesses, and he is providing us a list of businesses that are being targeted by the Ohio Dept of Development and the Dayton Development Corp. He's not saying we have to choose those, but that staff would benefit from knowing what we'd like to see.

He is basically neutral on the question of a committee, but asks that we think carefully about the role any such committee would have vis a vis staff, esp. the VM.

B. Judy/Benjy/Dimi Memo redux: Economic development goals: increasing the tax bases, creating jobs that build on the strengths of the village (education, diversity, green energy, arts, health/wellness, local food, regional destination), meeting local needs locally, and providing opportunities for villagers of differing ed levels.

They suggest using resources we have (which they list) and others like BALLE, and focus on creating an Economic Development Advisory Board with reps from chamber, CR, energy task force, arts council, localization acitivities, antioch college, Council & V.Mgr ex officio. The group would bring these groups together and provide a venue for networking.

3) NEW BUSINESS: COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: Council has received from Planning Commission a new draft of the comprehensive plan (particularly section 4 "Land Use Principles and Objectives," which needed fairly major revision). (The draft begins on page 12 of the online packet, section 4 begins on page 26).

Planning assistant Ed Amrhein will make a brief presentation about the changes. We'll probably then lay out general areas that we'd like to see addressed. I'd be especially interested in your thoughts about how issues like "staying small" and the desire for open space are addressed in the new document, esp. section 4.

Sorry this is later than usual--it was a very busy, working weekend for me, with graduation on Friday, two sets of friends coming to visit, and most grades due today!



Monday, May 4, 2009

VC tonight: Visioning and Economic Development

Dear People! I went to my daughter's graduation this weekend in Ann Arbor, and am a little behind in my normal routine. The main items on our agenda tonight are beginning the Visioning process by approving a contract with the firm and a second discussion on economic development.

Economic development strikes at the core of who we are; we are considering hiring a new person to help us support and cultivate local businesses, and attract new organizations, businesses. Judith Hempfling has a clear plan, articulated below. If you have concerns about these issues, please plan to attend!


  • 2nd reading & public hearing on an ORDINANCE that corrects some of the numbers in our budget.
    • Red Flag Rule/ Identity Theft prevention program: We are required by federal law to establish a program to protect sensitive information that we keep about our employees and ratepayers. This program, which will be largely implemented by our finance director, will help us to do that.
    • Authorize village manager to enter into a contract with ACP Visioning + Planning.
    • Amend village manager's employment contract to extend the six-month residency requirement, as he's having trouble selling their home in Troy.
During Citizens Concerns I believe Doug Bailey of the Environmental Commission will be presenting a request that Council approve the use of village-owned land for community gardens.

Special Report:
Cable Advisory will give its annual report from last year.

  • Schedule date for meeting with ACP, timeline.
  • Economic Development: Judith Hempfling presents the following:
"An important discussion on economic development will take place tomorrow, Monday eve, at the Village Council Meeting. Presentations will be made by
the Chamber, Community Resources and Mark, the Village Manager. It is likely to draw many citizens with varied views on how to go forward, and I hope you
will be a part of that discussion. I have lost my email list because of a computer difficulty, and ask that you forward to anyone you would like to
share this with.

My main hope, is that we take the time to clarify on three issues as outlined below. As I say in the proposal, I think we could have a discussion on each issue, (one at each of the next three Council meetings for example), and be ready to move forward by the end of June.

Sustainable Economic Development Proposal

Judith Hempfling

May 4, 2009

After the first Village Council discussion on economic development, I have continued to think about and discuss this important decision with citizens
in the village and propose that we prepare to pursue the hiring of an economic development staff person by the end of June after pubic discussion
and decisions by Council on the following three items:

1. Articulate community strengths and values which will guide Village
economic development work

2. Establish an ongoing Economic Development Committee of Council which will

a. Share information on a regular basis regarding economic development

b. Host relevant discussions on economic development.

These activities of the Committee will

a. provide transparency regarding economic development work

b. provide a venue for the incubating/ development of ideas and

c. be a resource to the ED person/Village Council

3. Establish the hiring process/ what we are hiring for.

I want to make three additional points:
  • The notion articulated at the last meeting, that we have talked this subject to death and therefore just need to act, is not accurate. Some members of Council have been discussing economic development in the context of other boards but this was the first public discussion at Council table.
  • During the discussion on the Visioning Process, a consultant described a community that was aging at an unprecedented rate? What was going on? When they looked closer, they realized they had unconsciously created a magnet for retirees by developing many services for an older population without a comparable focus on the needs of young families. The story is instructive. The kind of economic development we pursue will determine what we become as a community. What sort of magnet will we create through the economic development we pursue? Will it support Council's goal of being "a welcoming community of opportunity for diverse people of race, income, culture? Will it support Council Goal "To develop a comprehensive policy that addresses global warming and seeks to reduce the carbon footprint of our community?
  • Yellow Springs is a progressive community that should get beyond conventional approaches to economic development which is often based in conservative ideas not in alignment with our unique strengths and values. To do this we should network with municipalities and organizations such as Burlington VT, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and the International Centre for Sustainable Cities. These networks are developing new approaches to economic development which fit nicely with our wish to address environmental issues and to create opportunity for people of diverse income/education. See links regarding BALLE and the ICSC."

Please plan to attend!