Thursday, May 1, 2014

Supporting State Issue One

The TMACOG Executive Committee has approved a resolution declaring support for State Issue 1 and urging Ohio voters to vote in favor of the issue May 6.

State Issue 1 funds Ohio’s capital improvement program which helps local governments pay for a wide range of local improvements – including water and sewer systems, bridge repair, and road construction and repairs. In the TMACOG region, the Areawide Water Quality Management Plan has identified needs of more than $625 million in wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure improvements required to protect public health and comply with the Clean Water Act. Local governments have also prioritized needs for transportation projects including rail and road grade separations and bridge repair. The existing capital improvements program provides state support for local infrastructure projects, and also creates large numbers of construction and allied jobs for which the regional workforce is well trained. TMACOG leadership urges that the program be maintained through approval of State Issue 1.

The bond program has been approved by voters twice since it was first approved in 1987. Funds to repay the bonds are built into state budget planning and no tax will be increased to pay them. The issue passed almost unanimously in both the house and the senate and has wide support from the private sector. A vote for the issue will continue the capital improvements program. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

May is Bike Month

Spring has come and it’s time to spin our wheels! A bicycle is a powerful commuting vehicle for many people. You can increase your range when you combine a bike and a TARTA bus. With a little practice and experience you can leave the car at home for a few days a week. The advantages are huge: save gas and other car costs, get healthy exercise, learn your town and neighborhood in a new way. This month is good time to try it with lots of opportunities to get out on your bike.

Is your bike a little rusty? See the area bike shops for an ABC Quick Check. Then join a group ride, bike to work or school. Have fun and remember to bike to the right, and go with the flow of traffic.

This calendar includes lots of events in May including rides offered by local clubs. Most of the club rides are for people of all abilities but read the description to see speed and length of ride. Arrange your own ride: see a map (PDF) of the many bicycle facilities in Lucas and Wood counties. Toledo Bikes! Is a nonprofit bike co-op where you can help young people fix up a bike that they can use, you can learn to repair your own bike, and you can ride your bike to their shop and watch a movie!

Stormwater Management in Urban Revitalization

The TMACOG Environmental Planning department has been awarded a grant to plan for green infrastructure in urban parts of our region. The grant, awarded by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, funds a project that will assist the Lucas County Land Reutilization Corporation (the Land Bank). The Land Bank works to return foreclosed and vacant properties to productive use in the community. TMACOG will use GIS analysis to identify and prioritize those properties where green stormwater infrastructure best management practices would be most effective.

In tightly built urban areas, adding new stormwater management infrastructure can be a challenge. But where structures are being demolished in an older neighborhood, there is potential to introduce modern stormwater management while also increasing green space and recreational areas for residents. TMACOG will develop a GIS inventory of suitable vacant land sites for green infrastructure and build a decision model for prioritizing vacant land reuse. Site selection involves ranking vacant sites based on an analysis of soil, floodplain, flooding frequency, existing infrastructure, land use, lot size, previous lot use, and water quality impairment data. Other data points that rank possible projects include the availability of neighborhood groups to maintain best management practices, and infrastructure that may be already planned for the area. TMACOG will be working with the Green Infrastructure Task Force, a committee of the Lucas County Sustainability Commission. Examples of small-scale green infrastructure include rain gardens and bioswales.

“The grant integrates well with work already underway in the Land Bank and with the Sustainability Commission,” said TMACOG planner Kari Gerwin. “By identifying green infrastructure sites before demolition, the project team will ensure that the site is graded properly at the earliest stage, saving money and increasing the likelihood of a successful installation.” Opportunities will be on both public and private land. As part of the grant, TMACOG and its partners will create a demonstration site that will be a proof of concept example. Gerwin said, “When neighbors, funding agencies, and builders can see the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of small-scale green infrastructure, they can appreciate how vacant land can be re-purposed to reduce flooding, manage stormwater, and provide attractive space for residents.”    

The project began in April and will be complete in the spring of 2015. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Regional Fire Service Consortium

Fire departments in Northwest Ohio are invited to join the Regional Fire Service Consortium at Owens Community College for a 12-month program of training classes. The partnership has been developed to address the professional fire service training requirements in Northwest Ohio in an affordable and timely manner. “Owens College is committed to the highest standards of public safety and is offering this training opportunity at its Center of Emergency Preparedness in accordance with NFPA standards,” said Dr. Brian Paskvan, executive director of Owens Community College’s Workforce and Community Services.

Membership in the Regional Fire Service Consortium allows agencies to send their firefighters to any of the monthly training sessions. Topics include:
·         Mass casualty/triage
·         Tanker truck fires
·         Search and rescue
·         Live-fire training

The cost of membership is based on department station size. An agency with one station becomes a member with an annual $500 fee and up to four people per class, those with two or three stations pay $1,000, eight people per class, and those with four or more stations pay $1,500, with 12 people per class. Classes are open to non-members for a fee on a space available basis at $100 per person/class.

Enrollment deadline is June 1. Payment deadline will reflect timing of departments to allow for budgets updates. For more information on the program and to review the complete list of training sessions, contact Deb Pratt or Mark Briggs at Owens Community College: 567-661-2411.  

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |