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Strategic Plan

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    Posted: Jun 13 2012 at 10:40pm
From MJ:

Middletown development group to develop strategic plan

7:01 PM Wednesday, June 13, 2012

By Michael D. Pitman

Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN — The recent growth in downtown spurred by the Pendleton Art Center and Cincinnati State has given Middletown Moving Forward an opportunity to re-evaluate its strategic plan.

The group has been together for nearly decade and chairman Ken Cohen said the opportunities in Middletown now downtown weren’t around six or eight years ago. That’s why he said now is the time for a strategic plan.

“Everywhere we look we’re seeing a need for either direction or support,” he said. “If we want to be something more than what we are, then we need to strategically decide what that is.”

This September, the city’s nonprofit community improvement corporation will — as the group’s chairman Ken Cohen puts it — “figure out what we want to be when we grow up.”

The group plans a retreat to develop a strategic plan.

“Philosophically, Middletown Moving Forward is looking to become more involved with the community,” said Cohen.

“We’re looking for projects or direction as to where we take this committee and where we can help Middletown. We feel like we need a strategic planning session in order to map our future.”

Since the organization formed in 2005, it has primarily served in an advisory role, and has helped with the transformation of the city’s East End and moving the Atrium Medical Center (formerly Middletown Regional Hospital), to the eastern part of the city, he said.

Cohen said the group will need to discuss if it should maintain its current role, or actively work to help develop the city, either through buying buildings, filling vacant buildings or provide funding for development.

Middletown Moving Forward’s bylaws state it is to be a development assistance arm for the city, but it really hasn’t been that, said Denise Hamet, Middletown Economic Development director and member of the public-private group.

But which ever direction it heads, Middletown Moving Forward will need the community’s support, she said.

Last year, City Council approved giving $75,000 to Middletown Moving Forward, but Hamet said the group should have a combination of types of funding, such as grants, investor funding and direct contributions, “in order to do any lasting achievement.”

But before funding is discussed, the future identity must be decided, Hamet said, the strategic plan must be developed.

“We understand it has to be something the community wants, it needs to be community supported,” she said.

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Richard Saunders View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard Saunders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 14 2012 at 5:09am
"The group has been together for nearly decade and chairman Ken Cohen said the opportunities in Middletown now downtown weren’t around six or eight years ago. That’s why he said now is the time for a strategic plan."
Six or seven years ago the opportunities weren't around?  Things were just as dead 6 or 7 years ago. Why wasn't it "time for a strategic plan" then?

“Everywhere we look we’re seeing a need for either direction or support,” he said.

That is not "opportunity."  That is desperation!

This September, the city’s nonprofit community improvement corporation will — as the group’s chairman Ken Cohen puts it — “figure out what we want to be when we grow up.”

WHAT?  They don't even "know what they want to be when they grow up," yet our brilliant City Council gave them $75,000 of our tax dollars?

Cohen said the group will need to discuss if it should maintain its current role, or actively work to help develop the city, either through buying buildings, filling vacant buildings or provide funding for development.

WHAT?  They are not "providing funding for development!"  They are providing we citizens' tax money for pet projects! And should they maintain their "current role"?  Does any know what their "current role" is?  Anyone?  Buehler?

Last year, City Council approved giving $75,000 to Middletown Moving Forward, but Hamet said the group should have a combination of types of funding, such as grants, investor funding and direct contributions, “in order to do any lasting achievement.”

But before funding is discussed, the future identity must be decided, Hamet said, the strategic plan must be developed.

"Before funding is discussed, the future identity must be decided"?  WHAT?  No "future identity" nor any "strategic plan" "had to be developed" or discussed or decided before our City Manager recommended, and City council approved, giving them $75,000 of our hard earned money, to do with as they pleased, with no strings attached!  What the heck is going on?  Shouldn't we be screaming for this money back just based on these statements?

“We understand it has to be something the community wants, it needs to be community supported,” she said.

Let's be frank.  It will not be "something the community wants" nor will it "be community supported."
It will be more of the same failed downtown crap, and more of what the same small clique wants (that they can't afford, but expects the taxpayers to provide for them.)
 
It will be what the Moormans, the Mulligans, the Noris, the Cohens, Sam Ashworth and his gal, the Michels, and the ones that they think that can help them (so they use them and let them think they are "in") want.  It will be what this small group wants, with the rest of the citizens of Middletown paying for, and the h*ll with what happens to our city.
 
Why can't these posers be like the Sorgs, the Veritys, and the other "real" movers and shakers, and pay for the things that they want themselves?  Those REAL "movers and shakers" not only paid their own way, they gave extra to build up and carry our city and its less privleged along with them.  Those real movers and shakers would have had these fakirs run out of town on a rail.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 14 2012 at 6:37am
This group has been together since 2005. Yet, in the seven years it has been in existence, we have seen the town become more desolate, lose population, lose businesses, have no appeal to people who may have been residents, have no decent jobs created, buildings demolished, empty lots left behind with no new buildings in place, image tarnished, possibly beyond repair and the roads and infrastructure in total disrepair. We have a small contingent of arts folks who crowd the PAC each Friday to the tune of 100 people or so.....not enough to raise an eyebrow. We have Beau Verre, a niche store, appealing to a very small segment of society, as an anchor store with trinklet shops and flea market type businesses in the mix and, we have a college as an "anchor", ready to open in August, that is not setting the world on fire as to enrollment so far. The article states in the first line about "recent growth in downtown spurred by PAC and CS". The activity to date has been so sporadic, that I wouldn't even term it "growth" as the Journal has. What has taken place downtown to date has been nothing more than a blip on the radar as to any real measurable determinate. Need more activity than what is offered for people to take notice. More embellishment by the local "newspaper" IMO.

Comically, this article states

"But which ever direction it heads, Middletown Moving Forward will need the community’s support".......

also stated.....

“We understand it has to be something the community wants, it needs to be community supported,” she said

The MMF has NEVER been about what the community wants, nor have they indicated that they needed the community's support. They, and the city leaders have done as they dam well please with their ideas and the citizen's money, without soliciting any input from the general populace of this town. Council never solicited citizens comments when the $75,000 of taxpayer money was handed over to MMF and they wouldn't have listened to any comments offered anyway, especially if they were against the move. No, council does as they are directed to do by Cohen and his little band of self-serving brothers. The decisions and the projects taken on by this city originate within the confines of the MMF and the city building. Citizens are excluded from the elite inner workings and have been since the inception of MMF. Who is the Journal trying to fool with an article such as this? Sadly, there will be people who read this that will actually believe that this will be good for this city. We need a counterbalance to offset the MMF influence in the form of a council make-up that is opposed to MMF ideas. That is the way to purge the town of Cohen's little MMF club.....resistance to the way they do business. If Cohen really believes in this town, why does he live in Maineville? Middletown not good enough anymore Ken? At least Thatcher lived here while professing to care for the town.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 14 2012 at 7:27am
Beautiful, Vet and Mr.Poet
this article makes no sense whatsoever, and leads one to wonder just what mmf has been aboiut/doing, and what they plan to be about/do
 
insanity
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 14 2012 at 8:04am
The formation of MMF was and is to do, an initiative from city hall. When MMF was founded, the city had a goal. To harness a small group of people they could order, give marching directions, and that is how and why it was formed. Next, they rounded up campaign contributions for AK, Atirum, others, to support the city council members the city wanted to stack the deck. That was perfected in the last election. They now are in "euphoria" state. They have the majority, and they have a council that they can "puppeter" those actions the city wants to take, and vice versa.

The strategic pln will not be a true strategic plan, it will be the usual glittering generality document the city cals its Master Plan. They only refinement will be the city will look at the legalities as how they can give MMF more money to buy houses, buy commercial real estate, and get more campaign funds going through the recurring election cycle. The strategic plan will include, although overtly, how MMF will function to pass levies that are coming for hmmm......"public safety", school system, the Senior Citizens Center, others. This is and always has been, a control game which the city circles its small band, and gives the orders, and they in turn, do what the city wants to effect through action.

Assuredly, MMF will not be supported by more than the handful they have in today (in their tent", and their agenda will not, and is not, focused upon the greater needs of the city. It has and always be about the city leadership pulling their strings.

I wonder how many people are identified in the stategic plan the city will target to get  to help have additioanl aid to get the failing C State initiative going? And how many professors will actually be living in Middletown to teach? And how many administrators will be in Middletown from C State, relocating? None of these questions have been answered. Its all about student numbers. Who Cares! If they had 10,000 but the classes are online, what value does that provide Middletown.

It is a crime citizens and the city, have allowed a handful of people over 40 years, the influence to destroy Middletown. All the quasi strategic plan will accomplish will identify legal issues which will allow more money to pass through MMF, whom to target to help get grants for C State, as it isn't meeting its goal, and won't, and what houses and buildings to buy.

What a little slice of Peyton Place Middletown has fall prey for the past 12-14 years.           
'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' - Winston Churchill
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Bill View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 14 2012 at 10:13am
my question is why is this news?  Who floated this out to the MJ and what is to be gained?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 15 2012 at 1:34am

Gentlemen
January 12, 2012
Here is the link where we had the full discussion on Middletown Moving Forward
http://middletownusa.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4337&KW=Middletown+Moving+Forward

June 14, 2012
From Denise Hamet
The current balance of the Middletown Moving Forward account is
$83,937.50


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 16 2012 at 4:34am
                                                    Middletown Master Plan

Economic Development Roundtable

Miami University Middletown

November 11, 2004

12:00 to 2:00 PM




Name….Organization/Constituency
Timothy Abbott….Cinergy
Harry Bumgarner…. Dayton Development Coalition

John Fonner….Butler County Transportation Improvement District and Butler County Port Authority
Karen Garrett….Warren County Office of Economic Development
Doug Harnish….Gem Real Estate Group
Douglas McNeill…. Middletown Regional Hospital
Craig Maynard….Chamber of Commerce Small Business Development Center
Nancy Nix…. Middletown City Council; also representing Butler County Economic Development
Sheryl Pieratt….Miami University Middletown Development Dept.
Gary Scanlon…. Miller Valentine Healthcare Services
Dr. Robert Seufert…. Miami University Middletown Applied Research Center

Chris Smith…. Governor's Regional Economic Development Representative
Dick Slagle…. Ultimate Concepts
Perry Thatcher…. Middletown City Council
William Triick….Chamber of Commerce
Larry Wood….MEDC

Sixteen economic development professionals from Middletown and the greater Cincinnati and Dayton regions attended a two hour roundtable meeting to discuss draft economic development strategies prepared as part of the City of Middletown Master Plan Update. Received input was highly instructive. Though seen as largely ambitious, the participants agreed with the most of the draft objectives and strategies. Concerns were raised over the city’s ability to implement the strategies given current human and financial resource limitations.

The largest disagreement centered on the organizational framework by which the strategies are proposed to be implemented. The City’s planning team proposed creating an in-house economic development organization within city government. About half of the roundtable participants strongly disagreed and felt that the existing arrangement of the Chamber of Commerce and MEDC, or some other private sector-based arrangement, should retain economic development responsibilities.

Other items mentioned as top priorities included the need for leadership as well as the importance of “locking up” market-ready sites and preparing the workforce.

Objective 1: Recruit businesses that allow
Middletown to capture a proportional share of new economy jobs found in the region.

The roundtable experts agreed with this objective and further underscored its importance by stating that such action is essential for Middletown’s future viability. It was also thought that the City has a relatively narrow window of opportunity, perhaps five years or less, to place the city in a competitive position to gain a proportional share of the region’s high tech growth. Summary comments follow:

1. The City does not have a program in place to capture “new economy” businesses. Vacant land with infrastructure in place next to the interchange is needed before a new economy company can be recruited.

2. The City should proactively gain control of at least 100 acres of vacant land out by the interchange before an undesirable land use patterns are established.

3. Successful high tech parks typically have a leading institution or large corporate headquarters that attract other users to the area. It was suggested that the City should “hitch its wagon” to the proposed Middletown Regional Hospital campus by creating a business park in conjunction with the Hospital on adjacent land.

4. A potential recruitment opportunity might be corporations looking to de-centralize from the downtowns of major metropolitan areas for security reasons.

5. Concentrate on Brownfield redevelopment simultaneously with Greenfield development.

6. Offer appropriate incentives to attract new business growth to the city. The City should consider owning business parks as a potential strategy to offer market ready sites for sub market prices or in extreme cases for free.

 

Objective 2: Establish an economic development entity with the authority and accountability to effectively attract and retain jobs and businesses.

The planning team suggests that the city follow the lead of most large municipalities in the region and hire an in-house economic development director that reports directly to the City Manager. Part two of this strategy is to create an industrial development corporation that works hand-in-hand with both the city and private industry. Roundtable experts were divided over this recommendation. Those against the idea felt that the private sector could do a better job than the City of attracting companies to Middletown. Others expressed doubt to as whether city government had the acumen or wherewithal to perform economic development functions. Participants that were open to the idea expressed the need for change given the limited number of recent success stories. However, all agreed that greater communication and outreach between the City and the Middletown business community is needed to move forward. One participant stated that it does not matter where the Economic Development resources are located. Instead it was thought that the City must start taking Economic Development seriously. Summary comments follow:

1. The City needs to define the role and leadership of ED in Middletown and stand behind its decision and make things happen.

2. Should the Chamber of Commerce’s/MEDC retain control over the ED responsibilities of the City? This issue was most debated. Some thought strongly that private sector economic development economic development was preferable because correspondence with perspective firms is not open to sunshine laws, which is important to keep sensitive matters out of the press. It was also mentioned that the private sector economic development model works best. Tri-Ed (Northern Kentucky) was offered as an example. It was also mentioned that the City should refrain from an in-house economic development organization so as not to create additional competition between neighboring communities.

3. Alternative views were provided that suggested in-house economic development is needed. The Chamber of Commerce works for Middletown and two other communities. Middletown should have one person that is dedicated to Middletown’s needs.

4. The City’s $100,000 Economic Development budget is not large enough for either private or public sector driven economic development.

5. It was brought up that the City did not have the financial means to create another city department. A participant responded by saying that the City could not afford not to hiring an economic development director.

6. Eliminate Fire and Police services from the City’s general budget and fund them through separate property tax levies to create money for economic development.

7. The City must form strong relationships with the Greater Cincinnati Consortium, CINergy, ODOD, and banks, brokerage firms, etc.

8. The City should be focused on revenue generating strategies rather than just expenditure reduction strategies.

9. To improve top-down responsibility within the City, some participants recommended looking into changing the City’s system of government to strong-mayor so that the head of the city is responsible to the residents. The City Manager position was seen as potentially effective if the appointed person was given the authority to effectively run the City including Economic Development.

10. The planning team suggested that the city create industrial development corporation to give the city greater flexibility in acquiring land, partnering with other entities, and creating business parks. Some participants mentioned the potential for conflict with the Butler Alliance, which is a similar group that serves all of Butler County. A few participants noted that a CIC was in place and it had the legal ability to implement projects. Others were unaware of the CIC and felt that broader participation and support from the City and the greater business community is needed.

Objective 3: Create market-ready sites at attractive locations with good regional access.

All participants agreed with the importance of Objective 3 and the proposed strategies to implement the objective. Summary comments follow:

1. The City needs to acquire and/or control more land by the interstate and more specifically at the interchange to ensure suitable acreage is available for business development. It was suggested that the City must be aggressive in this regard to have an ample inventory of land to attract a variety of office and industrial uses in the future.

2. Vacant land east of I-75 needs utilities and proper zoning in some instances to be ready for development. This issue was identified as a critical need. It was also mentioned that the City’s lack of development ready sites is a real disadvantage and one of the primary causes for the lack of growth.

3. The city does not necessarily need to own the business park but it does need to ensure that the proper controls are in place such as zoning, development agreements, covenants and restrictions, etc.

4. The city should redevelop vacant commercial and industrial properties to create additional market ready sites.

5. The City should start the process of planning for one new interchange now in expectation of opening up more land area for business development. It was noted that the City will
need support from other communities, politicians at all levels, and local funding to receive ODOT approvals.


Objective 4: Prepare workforce for tomorrow’s jobs and recruit jobs that match the skills of new residents living in or near
Middletown.

An exciting exchange occurred regarding the Middletown Regional Hospital and Miami University Middletown plans for augmenting workforce training programs and facilities in Middletown. There was limited support for recruiting a tech based community college to Middletown given existing nearby resources such as Butler Tech and Warren County Career Academy adult education programs.

1. Workforce training efforts should focus on identifying core skill sets and aiming for incremental, rather than drastic, changes in skills.

2. The City should cooperate with Miami University at Middletown and Middletown Regional Hospital to meet workforce-training needs. Middletown Regional Hospital is constructing “The Green Tree Campus” at the new hospital site. Miami University at Middletown is constructing a new facility primarily targeting workforce training and community business needs.

3. City should avoid spending recruitment dollars attracting Fortune 500 companies since many of these companies are reducing staff. Marketing strategies should focus on attracting mid-market companies that are expanding.

4. The City’s housing policy and priorities need to be changed to attract new skilled workers to the City.

 

Objective 5: Retain and expand businesses by creating and maintaining a positive business environment.

Participants felt this was an important objective in which the community must do well. The general consensus was that the city must fundamentally change the way it views its role in promoting Middletown and working with local businesses. Others felt that the strategies under this objective were, in part, being implemented by MEDC. The debate regarding in-house versus out-of-house management rekindled during this discussion. The need for additional small business advocacy and support was mentioned as a needed and important strategy.

• Participants generally felt that the City was not in touch with business needs. Likewise, it was generally felt that the City must work cooperatively with the business community for the betterment of the entire city.

• It was also mentioned that the City should hire a city manager with an economic development background with abilities to create a pro-business, if not an entrepreneurial, environment in city government.

• Investigate the possibility of hiring a customer service position to the City (as Fairfield has done).

• The City should demand high standards; predictable, clear, and efficient development review procedures; and consistent processes and outcomes as a means to become business friendly and to attract and retain businesses.

• The City needs a small business strategy to foster additional small business start-ups and expansions.

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