Akron, Ohio, December 2, 2019 – Today, Mayor Dan Horrigan is proud to release the Five-Year Strategic Framework for the Office of Integrated Development (OID) created this year under the direction of Deputy Mayor James Hardy. Through this plan, the City will better focus its resources and relationships, advance equitable outcomes, and deliver improved services for all Akron residents. OID is responsible for business attraction and retention, entrepreneurship, downtown development, recreation and public space, land use and zoning, as well as long range planning and City real estate. OID’s portfolio of projects will build upon existing strategies including Elevate Greater Akron, the Downtown Vision and Redevelopment Plan, and Planning to Grow Akron. The OID Five-Year Strategic Framework details the bold actions and bold measures of accountability needed to transform Akron’s neighborhoods and improve the lives of Akron residents in meaningful ways.
“OID is not about doing something different for difference’s sake. It’s about working smarter together to build and sustain an Akron that is healthy, equitable, beautiful, and resilient,” Mayor Horrigan said. “Vision-driven, community-focused development is not just the right thing to do, it’s also good business. My hope in the coming years, as we take this more inclusive approach to development, is that our residents find increased economic opportunity for themselves and their families and an overall improved quality of life.”
The Framework comes after more than a year of strategic planning, facilitated by Lynn Ross, Founder and Principal of Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC, and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which made a grant of $139,020 to help develop and launch OID.
“This process and the resulting OID Five-Year Strategic Framework were born, in part, out of our local experience with Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative,” said Knight Foundation Akron Director Kyle Kutuchief. “The implementation of this plan is an extension of that new way of working focused on co-design, co-creation and co-stewardship.”
The 10 core values outlined in the OID Five-Year Strategic Framework will drive the attitudes, choices and actions of the OID team as they advance five overarching goals: Destination for All, Economic Opportunity, Placemaking and Placekeeping, Learning and Creativity, and More Equitable Akron. “Equity is foundational to every aspect of the OID Five-Year Strategic Framework” Ross said. “What’s clear in this framework is that the OID team recognizes that to advance equity there must be increased fairness within its own systems, processes and procedures as well as justice in the distribution of resources.”
The Framework also details specific indicators designed to measure progress. The indicators—which will be reported annually—establish accountability for the OID team to the Akron community. Indicators cover everything from Black/White Disparity in Median Household Income and Geographic Equity (elimination of concentrated poverty), to Private Investment in Real Estate per $1 of City Investment and Laborforce Participation, to Acres of Parkland per 1,000 Residents and Akron’s Transit Score®.
Due to reductions in state and federal tax-sharing, the City’s total staff devoted to development and planning has been reduced by more than 45% over the last two decades. OID leverages an existing team of highly-trained and experienced city employees into a new organizational structure, proposes minimal new positions, and supports improved transparency and cross-team coordination and learning.
“In Akron, we are working to build a city that is resilient in the face of an ever-changing world. As we step out of the Rust Belt shadow to reclaim and renew our own future, the OID Strategic Framework defines both the pathway to and measures of progress,” Deputy Mayor Hardy said. “It charts a course toward a more transparent and accountable method of urban development in order to achieve measurable outcomes for real people.”
With the support of the Knight Foundation, the OID Five-Year Strategic Framework document was designed by the Original Champions of Design, with original photography by Shane Wynn Photography. The framework is available at www.akronohio.gov/OID.
The City of Akron Office of Integrated Development is committed to co-creating, with residents and businesses, a community that is healthy, equitable, beautiful, and resilient. Our team does this with clarity of process, transparent communications, data-driven strategy, and a culture of learning and creativity. Our goal is to embrace Akron’s history and steward that legacy.
Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC is a results-oriented boutique consulting firm focused on developing creative strategies that support evolving places—regions, cities, neighborhoods and organizations. Our approach is rooted in equity, inclusive engagement, evidence-based decision making, and asset-based community development. Learn more at https://spiritforchangeconsulting.com/.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.