OKI pursues updating strategic regional policy plan

The OKI Regional Council of Governments is updating its strategic policy plan for southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana, and hoping to hear your opinions. OKI’s original policy plan was undertaken to improve quality of life and service to the public in the Cincinnati metropolitan region.

Much has changed since the policy plan was adopted in 2005, and OKI is re-visiting some strategic issues and considering others for the first time. In the process, OKI is inviting public feedback through a brief questionnaire that takes about five minutes to complete. The questionnaire can be found at the initiative’s website which will be available until the end of the year.

The 2005 Strategic Regional Policy Plan contains a 20-year vision for regional vitality, sustainability, and competitiveness, focusing on the land use–transportation connection. The strategic planning process addressed four questions: Where are we as a region? Where are we going given current trends? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?

Six strategic subject areas were selected to focus planning to achieve the overall regional vision: transportation, public facilities and services, natural systems or resources, housing, economic development and land use. Experts and stakeholders in all of these areas were involved in the original planning effort along with OKI’s board, peer reviewers, and the public. The resulting plan called for public-private sector partnerships and recommended actions by OKI, local governments, and by both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

“As we talk with officials around the tri-state area about economic competitiveness issues, we constantly hear about the ongoing need to address certain issues at a regional level,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, NKAPC’s executive director. “We have a strong partnership with OKI and appreciate the regional perspective its staff brings to our efforts in Kenton County.”

While much has been accomplished since the plan’s adoption in 2005, much remains to be done to reach its goals and new issues have arisen with some urgency. For example, the plan is currently being revisited to consider the impacts of subsequent events like the Great Recession, the housing foreclosure crisis, and significant changes in regional demographics and expectations as baby boomers retire and more millennials affect the regional work force.

The current How Do We Grow From Here? campaign and public questionnaire are designed to provide OKI with direction while revisiting the plan’s strategic regional issues. Future opportunities for gathering additional public input will be scheduled and announced at www.HowDoWeGrow.org.