Battling Blight by Tackling Vacancies in Lima, Ohio

Vacant parcels and abandoned properties are a big problem for many of Ohio’s cities, some that have been shrinking for decades as a result of sustained population loss. Blighted properties that litter the urban landscape can cost cities millions in lost property taxes, foreclosures and demolition costs, not to mention opportunity costs to local economies. A report by Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) in 2008 on eight shrinking cities in Ohio estimated annual costs of city services to these properties at 15 million dollars, and lost property tax revenues from demolitions and tax delinquencies at over 49 million dollars.

Abandoned property

Abandoned property

Lima, the Allen county seat, is an example of a city facing the challenge of hundreds of vacant and abandoned properties. Over the past two years, faculty and students from OSU’s Knowlton School, in collaboration with OSU Lima and the City of Lima Land Bank, have piloted a program, the Ohio Land Exchange (OH/LEX), to address the vacancy problem in Lima. They have surveyed and mapped hundreds of tax delinquent parcels, which, according to Lima’s Mayor Berger, has “provided Lima vacancy patterns and demotion needs, as well as detailed maps of locations, flood plains, and potential reuses” (link). The team also engaged over a dozen local non-profits who have been meeting regularly to explore beneficial ways to reuse the properties.

Reaching a consensus

Reaching a consensus on land reuse priorities

In the past year, Knowlton School expanded the partnership to include OSU Extension, holding a workshop in May 2017 to introduce the program to Extension Educators statewide. Extension is providing the boots on the ground needed to take the initiative from mapping and data collection to project implementation. Data has helped to inform stakeholders about property locational assets or liabilities, including soil conditions or proximity to bus stops, to determine potential forms of reuse and appropriate locations. One of these stakeholders is Activate Allen County, a non-profit organization formed in 2012, tasked with improving the health and well-being of Lima and Allen County residents. The organization conducted a food system assessment which found that 53% of Lima citizens reside in a food desert, the region has the second highest obesity rate in Ohio, and almost 11% of its residents suffer from diabetes. The proposed implementation project is the result of numerous meetings with local stakeholders to reach a consensus on land reuse priorities, including food system improvements.

Funding support has come from a 2017 Connect and Collaborate grant that supported increased and strengthened stakeholder engagement and formulation of a plan for Lima. Another grant, currently under review, would provide support for a phased food systems implementation strategy, to create a temporary “food and entrepreneurship lab” and to conduct a market analysis for a permanent food hub. The second phase, dependent on the outcome of the first phase, is the development of a permanent food hub. The food and entrepreneurship lab includes the design and build of a model urban garden and community space on vacant land near the city center. Concurrently, a market analysis will be conducted to identify the impact, needs and potential uses for a permanent food hub based on existing retail sales data, data gathered at the lab, and surveys of local residents.

As a pilot location, Lima will demonstrate the costs and benefits of the OH/LEX program and its potential value for other cities in Ohio. Do you see a need in your city?


Nancy Bowen is an Associate Professor & Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics.

Considering Perspective

My brother Bill’s birthday is approaching. He’s three years younger than I am, but probably 10 years wiser. He’s my best friend… and often keeps me balanced when things get crazy. (Think: overscheduling, kids driving, etc.) In addition, he is really good at bringing perspective.

three dimensional drawing

A three dimensional drawing suggests depth or distance.

Perspective is defined as “a particular way of regarding something.” In drawing or painting, it’s a way of portraying three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface by suggesting depth or distance.

In our often complex Extension work, perspective is a tool that can yield valuable, tangible results if we employ it correctly. For example, let’s say we’re helping a small business, non-profit, or local government agency do some strategic planning. Our very presence brings an outside perspective—an “etic” as defined in the social science research literature (see Pike, 1967). This perspective contrasts with the “emic” (or internal view) that people, groups, and organizations inherently hold. Morris, et al (1999) described the emic/etic perspectives in terms of cultural phenomena. But the construct holds in strategic planning which is, of course, set within an organization’s culture.

In practice, some consultants will (falsely) jump to the conclusion that the emic perspective is clouded by insiders being too involved to clearly see and articulate a solution (e.g., not being able to see the forest because of the trees in the way). But be cautious of this thinking. It can land short. The consultant might advise the organization to abandon “process X” in favor of “process Z”… wreaking havoc at multiple levels.

Instead, I suggest a combined approach. Use your outside etic perspective to gather data, observe systemic processes, and look for solutions to suggest. But first, ask your client for their internal emic view. Then, you can overlay your perspective and co-construct a better overall solution together.

References:

Morris, et al (1999), Views from Inside and Outside: Integrating Emic and Etic Insights About Culture and Justice Judgment. Academy of Management Review. 1999, Vol. 24. No. 4, 781-796.

Pike, Kenneth Lee (ed.) (1967), Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of Structure of Human Behavior (2nd ed.), The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton.

Perspective figure source: Creative Commons https://mrsswansonsclass.wikispaces.com/Perspective


Brian Raison is an Assistant Professor & Extension Field Specialist in Community and Organizational Leadership. Brian Raison

Smart Meters or Smart Users?

We now live in a world driven by access to instant information. In fact, it is estimated that as of January 2018 roughly 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, including 77 percent of Americans owning smartphones¹. If you own a smartphone, you likely receive numerous notifications ranging from missed calls, texts, email messages, social media posts, meeting reminders, news alerts, and scoring updates from your favorite team. However, have you ever received a notification of high energy prices? What if you could receive a notification that your real-time energy usage was high, with a recommendation to adjust your thermostat to save money on your electric bill? Additionally, what if you had the ability to act on that notification and use your smartphone to adjust your thermostat from anywhere in the world? If you are interested in real-time control over your energy consumption, you will likely have access to this technology in the near future.

smart meter

Smart electric meter

The number of smart electric meters installed in homes, businesses and farms is growing rapidly, reaching nearly half of all U.S. electricity consumers by the end of 2016. While there are a variety of smart meters available, smart electric meters are commonly classified as either Automated Meter Reading (AMR) or Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) equipment. AMR meters only transmit information in one direction from the smart meter to the utility and are primarily used to collect usage data for billing purposes. In comparison, AMI meters provide two-way interaction of real time electric usage data to both the utility and the consumer. AMI meters are used for more than just billing, by providing real time energy consumption data and allowing consumers and/or utilities the ability to control electric loads and shift non-essential loads to non-peak times.

smart meter

Smart electric meter

In Ohio, the integration of AMI smart electric meters has increased rapidly by more than 638 percent annually, growing from 16,631 meters in 2007 to 1,078,554 meters in 2016. In addition, installation of AMR smart electric meters in Ohio has increased by 37 percent annually, growing from 277,489 meters in 2007 to 1,310,925 meters in 2016². In 2016, there was a combined total of 2,389,479 smart meters (AMR & AMI) installed in Ohio, ranking 18th in the nation. While the integration of smart meters is growing rapidly, smart meters still represent only 43 percent of all electric meter infrastructure in Ohio.

smart meters installed in Ohio

The number of smart meters installed in Ohio from 2007-2016.

While the integration of smart meters is growing rapidly, many consumers are unaware of these advances in technology installed at their home! For example, in 2015, a year when residential smart meter adoption was about 44% nationwide, the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration found only 22% of households reported having a smart meter, while 49% reported not having one, and 29% did not know. Meanwhile, only 8% of households reported being aware that they had access to hourly or daily data, and just 4% said they had accessed or viewed that data³.

As the integration of smart meters continues to increase, we will most likely see an increase in interactive and dynamic pricing models such as Time of Use (TOU) pricing and Real Time Pricing (RTP). TOU pricing programs include different predetermined electricity prices for different seasons, days of the week, or time of the day. In comparison, RTP programs fluctuate more frequently as retail electric rate is based on a formula that reflects real time wholesale prices of electricity.

As new smart meter technology and dynamic pricing models are adopted, consumer behavior will play a major role in determining the total monthly electric bill. For example, simple changes such as running your electric dryer or dishwasher at night could save you money. In recent years, we have relied on energy efficient products to lower utility bills, yet moving forward the greatest impact may come from our willingness to change our actions.

Additional Resources:

AEP Ohio – It’s Your Power App

AEP Ohio –  Your new smart meter: Installation Schedule

American Municipal Power, Inc. – AMP Makes Advanced Metering Services Available to Members

DP&L – You might hear people talking about it, but what is the Smart Grid all about?

Duke Energy Smart Meter – You’re In Control of Your Energy Use

First Energy Smart Meter FAQs

First Energy – What You Can Expect: Meter Installation

NREL – Electric Energy Management in the Smart Home: Perspectives on Enabling Technologies and Consumer Behavior

Ohio’s Electric Cooperative – Innovation Leaders

Smart Electric Power Alliance

_____________________________

¹ Pew Research Center. (2018, February 5). Mobile Fact Sheet. Retrieved from Pew Research Center Internet and Technology: http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/

² U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (USDOE/EIA). (2017, November 6). Electric power sales, revenue, and energy efficiency Form EIA-861 detailed data files. Retrieved from Independent Statistics and Analysis: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/eia861/

³ U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (USDOE/EIA). (2017, December 6). Nearly half of all U.S. electricity customers have smart meters. Retrieved from Today In Energy: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=34012#


Eric Romich

Eric Romich is an Assistant Professor & Extension Field Specialist for Energy Development with OSU Extension.

Go Fish (And Earn Two OSU Semester Hours!): Lake Erie Sport Fishing Course at Stone Lab

Western basin walleye

Western basin walleye

Spring is just around the corner, and for many of us that means it’s time to get our fishing rods, reels, and lures in order (and buy a few more, just in case.) Lake Erie is widely known as the Walleye Capital of the World, and the upcoming season looks like it’s going to add to that reputation. At the recent Ohio Charter Captains Conference hosted by Ohio Sea Grant, the Ohio Division of Wildlife told captains that 2018 would be excellent for the tasty fish, both for numbers caught and potential trophies.

Yellow perch

Yellow perch caught on a hand-made lure from the Lake Erie Sport Fishing Course

Smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass in Put-in-Bay

But walleyes are just one slice of the greater than $1 billion Lake Erie sport fishery. Yellow perch fishing also looks to be great in the western basin and steady in the central basin, while smallmouth bass continue to be the best fighting fish in the lake with plenty to be caught around rocky habitats all over Lake Erie. There’s also plenty of opportunities for white bass, largemouth bass, white and black crappie, bluegill, rock bass, several species of catfish… the list goes on and on.

Channel catfish

Triple header channel catfish

Evening assignment

Evening assignment

For most of those species there is no place better in late spring-early summer than the western basin of Lake Erie. To take advantage of that, Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab are offering the week long Lake Erie Sport Fishing Course June 10-16, 2018. If you know a college student that’s interested in fishing, send them our way. Based on Gibraltar Island, Stone Lab is nestled in one of the greatest fishing hotspots in the entire world. Students will learn about the Lake Erie ecosystem from a sport fishing perspective, along with how to use fishing technology, make their own lures, techniques to target specific species, and much more. These lessons will be put to the test during the daily six-hour fishing excursions aboard a Stone Lab vessel, and it’s suggested you bring a cooler to take home your catch from the week. (Fresh fish, anyone?)

Evening assignment

Evening assignment

Catching bait

Catching bait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But wait, there’s more! You’ll earn two physical education credits from OSU for your troubles! No need to be an OSU student, as these credits are transferable to most colleges and universities. Know a high schooler preparing for college? They may be eligible too! Check out the Stone Lab application website for more details.

If you’re interested in Lake Erie Sport Fishing but are not a student, check out our three day Sport Fishing Workshop May 18-20. It’s an abbreviated version of the course, but still covers Lake Erie fishing basics and includes daily fishing excursions. Be sure to check out what else is available while you’re on the Stone Lab course website, as there are many other courses and workshops available throughout the summer that might also appeal to you or your students. Come for the sport fishing, stay for the biology.

Class size is limited due to boat space, so sign up now! I hope to see you or your student at Stone Lab this summer. Tight lines.


Tory GabrielTory Gabriel is the Extension Program Leader & Fisheries Outreach Coordinator for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

Ready to Rock? . . . It’s almost time for the NACDEP 2018 Conference!

NACDEP 2018 Logo

Logo photo courtesy of:
ThisisCleveland.com and
Larry E. Highbaugh, Jr.

Before you know it, Community Development professionals from across the country will be gathering in Cleveland for the 2018 NACDEP Conference! The speakers are confirmed. Session proposals are being reviewed. Final changes have been made to the pre- and post-conference workshops, as well as Tuesday afternoon’s mobile learning workshops. Interested in attending?

Registration is now open. NACDEP Member early bird rate is $450 now through April 30, after which it increases to $485.

Make your reservations at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, our historic conference venue in downtown Cleveland

Before you register, review the selection of pre-conference workshops, post-conference workshops, and mobile learning workshops to decide which you would like to attend.

NACDEP logoDon’t forget – if you know of someone who might be interested in contributing as a sponsor, please direct them to the conference sponsorship page.

OSUE Community Development could not be more excited about how things are coming together for our 2018 Cleveland experience and want to thank all of the planning team members and the dozens of proposal reviewers for their hard work so far. See you in Cleveland, recently named as one of the ‘Best of the World’ by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine! Read more about that here.

Still not sure if you want to come to Cleveland? Check out this video.

 If you want to learn more about NACDEP 2018 contact David Civittolo (civittolo.1@osu.edu).


David CivittoloDavid Civittolo is an Associate Professor and Field Specialist, Community Economics.

Now it’s The Road (Not) Less Traveled

Dodging potholes, bumping across a road that is as grooved as a washboard, and watching the cloud of dust in your rear view mirror is the road traveled by many rural Ohio residents. Fast forward 5 days to that same road as a solid, smooth chip and seal surface. Beware of the caution signs on this thoroughfare to success, as there are months of preparation before the actual surfacing project. Hop in and ride with me as we journey through this process.

One of the main reasons road surfaces become so challenging to drive is not the surface itself, but the lack of a solid base beneath the surface. We stop to find our county engineer and township trustees converging to develop a plan. A road rehabilitation method known as full depth reclamation offers an option to improve road conditions. To be successful, this process requires significant funding to complete. With three townships and the county working cooperatively, an application is submitted to the Ohio Public Works Commission for grant and loan assistance.

Road surface prep

Full-depth reclamation – pulverizing the road base.

Chip and seal

Chip and seal surface application

Using this funding source and local matching funds the project begins with preparations that include ditching and installation of new, and replacement of damaged, culverts. This is done because proper drainage is essential to road maintenance. While this work could be completed by local road crews, the full-depth reclamation work requires a contractor who specializes in the process. First, test holes are made to determine the type of soil under the road. This informs the correct cement-to-road material ratio. A road reclaim machine pulverizes the road base and some sub-base and combines them. The road is then graded back to normal terrain. More soil tests are done and a dry cement is then distributed over and incorporated into the pulverized material including a water additive. The stabilized material is compacted with rollers providing a solid base. After all of these steps are complete, then the asphalt and limestone aggregate chip and seal surface is applied.

Providing a road map for this road improvement project was Ohio State University Extension, Washington County Community Development. Extension engaged the community via coordination of meetings, assisting with application paperwork, and supporting township officials with critically important project information. Projects of all types can experience unexpected bumps and curves. Remember to contact your local Extension office to help you travel your road to success!


Darlene LukshinDarlene Lukshin is a Community Development program specialist in Washington County.

History & Health: What’s the Connection?

For many of us, we have choices regarding our health: access to fresh food & clean water, options for household location, and access to green space or nature, for example. But for some communities, these choices of individual and family health are far more limited and create a culture of survival rather than enjoyment or experimentation of a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps not surprisingly, policy decisions can play a large role in these choices. And in some cases, policy from days gone by oftentimes continues to affect communities in present day. To take a closer look at this connection between history and health, let’s compare Cuyahoga County’s historical redlining map to a racial density map derived from the 2010 US Census.

“Redlining” is the unethical practice (in this case regarding real estate) of discriminating against residents and refusing financial service, based on where the resident lives. Commonly, residents within a certain area will be subjected to the systematic denial of financial services (mortgages, insurance, or loans) based on address rather than individual qualifications or credit history. The map of Redlining in Cuyahoga County depicts the community sectioned into four security ratings; green areas were deemed the most “safe,” and red deemed the most “dangerous.” The practice of redlining was made illegal through the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Redlining in Cuyahoga CountyWhile the practice of redlining ended before the 1970’s, evidence of redlining was still present in Cleveland’s communities in 2010. Comparing the map above to the map below, a higher density of minority groups is evident in areas which were deemed more “unsafe” in 1940. The source for this “one dot, one person” visual is based off individual responses of race alone from the 2010 Decennial Census.

Racial Density in Cuyahoga County, 2010

Racial Density in Cuyahoga County, 2010. Source: The Racial Dot Map, University of Virginia

While some communities have historically been disadvantaged, this is not to say that community organizations and partnerships are not working to create better opportunities and health equity. In Cuyahoga County, the Health Improvement Partnership (HIP-Cuyahoga) works to give everyone an opportunity to make healthier choices. To further learn about HIP-Cuyahoga’s effort, watch this video.

By acknowledging the history of the communities in which we work, we are able to better understand their unique and specific needs and challenges. Health equity requires a concentrated effort to increase opportunities for everyone to be healthier. This effort can be through the work that you do in your community, how and where you direct your purchasing power, understanding local policy changes and impacts, and reflecting on the lessons we have learned through history. Remember, you can be the change you wish to see in the world!

Sources:

https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/supmanual/cch/fair_lend_fhact.pdf

http://demographics.virginia.edu/DotMap/

https://hdm.livestories.com/s/redlining-and-health-is-there-a-connection-in-cuyahoga-county/5702ecdf5251d60013f92b1c/

http://hipcuyahoga.org/


Vargo, LaurenLauren Vargo is a program coordinator in Cuyahoga County.

The BRIDGE: The Background Story on one of Extension’s Newest Signature Programs

Not all problems are created equal. Using one’s intuition or past practices might work for solving very simple problems. Yet our past and our view of the future may limit our solutions. When we are facing an issue or challenge that requires a fresh solution and has many interrelated components — perhaps several different constituents are involved or can be affected by the solution — a more robust process will bring you a clearer, more novel solution. Based on Snowden’s (2007) research, there are four levels of problems – simple, complicated, complex and chaotic. As director of the Alber Enterprise Center, I helped to develop an issue management model specifically designed to resolve our clients’ complex problems.

The BRIDGEIn my own research comparing The BRIDGE Issue Management Process with other more basic problem-solving models, I determined that there are three features that differentiate our model. The BRIDGE:

  1. Identifies a system of interrelated solutions that resolve the issue;
  2. Provides templates for clients to document the desired outcomes, action steps, measurements, and resources into formal documents; and
  3. Gains buy-in from their respective organizations to implement and sustain the solution.

Deciding how to solve problems and issues can create a challenge in itself. Giroux (2009) conducted a study of the decision-making habits of small business owners and entrepreneurs in Canada. Using one’s intuition seems to be a common practice, as was learning from past incorrect decisions. Also, emotions may unduly influence the decision if the problem is critical to the success of the business. Without a formal process that helps them view the problem objectively, small business owners sometimes lacked the ability to make sound decisions (Giroux, 2009). They are limited by their past experience and their view of the horizon.

There is history in the phrase “issue management process.” It was coined by the late Howard Chase in 1976 to describe a process he crafted for corporations to manage their public relations image and to influence public policy. Although Chase restricted his model to the corporate and public policy environment, issue management eventually progressed into a discipline used by other types of entities to develop strategies for a wide range of issues in their respective environments.

As one of Extension’s newest “signature programs,” The BRIDGE: Issue Management Process, is not actually a program as educators know it. It is a tool that anyone experienced with facilitating groups can utilize to solve complex issues. The BRIDGE creatively incorporates adaptations of several organization analysis tools designed by business scholars arranged in a logical flow. First, the facilitator carefully chooses stakeholders familiar with the issue and invites them to a workshop to guide them through the process. The facilitator then coaches the participants to storyboard what they can control or influence about the issue; to reflect on where they are currently and what they want as an end result in measurable terms; and to identify forces driving the issue as well as barriers that must be overcome. The group then designs a comprehensive, multifaceted solution that specifies the action steps and addresses the human resistance to change that may hold back implementation. Creating an evaluation plan for monitoring the outcomes is the final phase of the process.

We use The BRIDGE when:

  1. there are many components to an issue that are interrelated, and minor changes to one component could cause major consequences to others;
  2. we want a creative solution that has not been done before; and
  3. we have a short time period to resolve the issue.

I hope that this post helps to broaden your perspective on problem-solving vs. issue management, and that the next time you’re faced with a complex issue, you’ll reach for The BRIDGE tool kit.


Myra WilsonMyra Wilson is program director for the Alber Enterprise Center located at The Ohio State University at Marion.

Cuyahoga River Achieves Important Milestone for Improved Aesthetics

It may be too cold and dreary to be in a boat for most of us just yet. But, we are not all that far away from spring and will soon be making plans to get back on the water!

And for those of us with such thoughts, we have some really good news. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the removal of “Degradation of Aesthetics” from the list of Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) in the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern (AOC). This action acknowledges that aesthetics have improved dramatically in the decades since the Cuyahoga and nearby Lake Erie tributaries were named one of the 27 federally-designated U.S. waterways that have experienced severe environmental degradation. The aesthetics BUI was one of 10 specific problems identified for the Cuyahoga and its watershed in accordance with the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) – a bi-national accord between the United States and Canada focused on cleaning up the most polluted tributaries draining into the Great Lakes.

In a letter to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler, Great Lakes National Program Director Tinka Hyde said, “Removal of this BUI will benefit not only the people who live and work in the Cuyahoga River AOC, but all the residents of Ohio and the Great Lakes basin as well,” and congratulated Ohio EPA staff and “the many federal, state, and local partners who have worked so hard and been instrumental in achieving this important environmental improvement.”

Environmental improvement has been dramatic in the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern.

Surveys and observations over the past few years have shown that persistent “occurrences of sludge, oil, scum or other objectionable materials that produce color, odor or other nuisances,” which are the measure of aesthetic quality set forth in a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) completed for the Cuyahoga, are now either nonexistent in the Area of Concern or are being remediated by long term control plans to reduce combined sewer overflows. Litter and woody debris are not considered persistent impairments in this category.

“This is a significant step forward on the path to delisting the Cuyahoga. It’s great to know that the progress we’re making to restore the AOC can now be recognized. With lasting support from state and federal agencies, and local partners, we can see a future when we reach all our restoration goals,” said Jennifer Grieser, Chair of the Cuyahoga River AOC Advisory Committee.

Restoration along the Cuyahoga River bank.

The next BUI to be delisted – hopefully in the spring of 2018 – is “Public Access and Recreation Impairments,” which has been helped by the development of trails, rowing clubs, fishing areas, boating and paddle sport amenities, residential areas, and dining and entertainment facilities that now allows its removal and signals full recovery. All one needs to do is stroll along the east bank of The Flats in Cleveland, or take a cruise on the Cleveland Metroparks Water Taxi, to see examples of community development on shore and restoration actions along the river’s banks.

If you want to track the progress of the Cuyahoga River as more BUIs are delisted, check out the website for the AOC’s facilitating organization, Cuyahoga River Restoration and the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern Advisory Committee. There is also plenty of information on the web page of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as that of Ohio Sea Grant, which is one of the organizations along with nonprofit community groups, businesses, government agencies, and local residents that collaborate to help guide restoration actions throughout the watershed. For more detail on the GLWQA and Cuyahoga AOC, as well as some of the restoration actions taking place, see my CD Blog post from March of 2017 titled: “We all know the Cuyahoga River caught on fire.  What’s being done to clean it up?”

See you on the river!


Scott Hardy is an Extension Educator for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

Recognizing Excellence: Contributions and innovations in Extension CD

How do we achieve excellence? We stop what we are doing, stand back, and assess efforts. We then recognize those special accomplishments.

The Raymond A. Schindler Excellence in Community Development Extension Award is named in honor of Raymond A. Schindler, one of the first Extension CD professionals in Ohio. Hired in 1962 as an Area Extension Agent, Ray began his career in southern Ohio, based in Highland County. He took a collaborative approach to his work, focusing on tourism development, comprehensive planning, planning commissions, and business retention and expansion programs until his retirement in 1988.

Today, we recognize Extension CD professionals with The Raymond A. Schindler Excellence in Community Development Extension Award. The annual award seeks to recognize:

  • long term strengths in teaching and research
  • a long-standing record of teamwork and collaboration in program planning, implementation and evaluation
  • a successful track record in grant awards, cost recovery, or other external funding

In January 2018, we recognized Becky Nesbitt with the Raymond A. Schindler Excellence in Community Development Extension Award for her ability to develop and deliver multidisciplinary, evidence-based programs in collaboration with colleagues, stakeholders, private industry and state and federal funding partners that empower others to affect positive change. Since joining Ohio State University Extension in 1987, she has truly demonstrated a record of excellence in creative and scholarly work, teaching and service to community and profession.

Click here to learn more about Becky and her work.Congratulations, Becky!


Greg Davis is a professor and assistant director for OSU Extension Community Development.