04-04-19

Dialoguing Toledo

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Please join us at noon on April 12 for a lecture by Elizabeth Ellis entitled Dialoguing Toledo. The lecture will be held at the CUDC, 1309 Euclid Avenue on the second floor. Elizabeth will discuss the quest to capitalize on grassroots organizational capacity and community engagement within the city of Toledo.

Toledo has a population and infrastructural bandwidth that is not quite large enough to be considered one of Ohio’s big cities. Within the city, there is the feeling that it is left out or somehow cheated by Capitol Hill. But the root of the problem can likely be traced to a lack of transparency and the need to control outputs that stem from local organizations.

While topics such the algal bloom, or most recently the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, make national headlines, there is still no clear line of sight to which organizations manage the underlying environmental issues that Toledo has faced since its birth. Almost equally as important to environmental issues is how the city draws lines in physical plans for expansion and continued stabilization in the near future. The City of Toledo is fighting the clock as the latest city-wide plan, completed in 2011, will be obsolete after 2020. With the City of Toledo Plan Commission staff at a deficit, there is a need for an organization to help take on long range planning and implementation efforts.

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One consistent factor in promoting change within Toledo has been grassroots organizations. It was a local group of concerned community members who took on implementing the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, and it will eventually be a team of multiple local organizations who take on the Toledo “Future City Plan.” So how Toledo better leverages these organizations to get the work done ultimately becomes the quest. Sustainable partnerships of grassroots internal linkages and linkages to major Toledo institutions becomes pivotal in ensuring capacity. There is an immense opportunity for expansion of expertise as the gap that excludes them seems to grow. Toledo has looked outside city limits to capture talent that already exists within its grassroots efforts, so at what point does all of the hard work pay off?

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Elizabeth’s talk is part of our alumni series in which graduates from Kent State’s Cleveland-based design programs talk about their work. This event is free and open to the public. You’re welcome to bring a brown bag lunch and refreshments will be served.

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