Toledo-Lucas County Adopts Sustainability Strategies to Build a Prosperous Region

Like many regions across the country, Ohio’s Toledo-Lucas County grew up around manufacturing. The economic shifts of the past few decades have hit the region hard, and the county has taken an integrated approach to make the region more economically and environmentally sustainable.

The Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission, along with CNT and other project partners like the Brendle Group, created the Going Beyond Green plan as a roadmap to meeting its sustainability goals while growing the local economy. The plan outlines ways to strengthen the region’s natural, social, and economic systems to build a healthier, more sustainable future.

 Flickr Creative Commons/Diana Schnuth

To do this, Going Beyond Green recommends the strategies like:

Natural systems

  • Developing a comprehensive, County-wide plan to protect and improve the quality of fresh water in the County’s rivers and lakes.
  • Creating a Green Infrastructure Portfolio Standard to expand the use of more natural ways to manage water that runs off streets and other paved areas.
  • Developing resources to encourage cities, residents, and businesses to work together and share ideas on water issues.

Social systems

  • Encouraging a “Complete Streets” transportation policy to increase options for biking and walking, and providing access to safe and affordable ways for people to travel around the region.
  • Developing programs to foster the development of strong youth/community leaders.
  • Supporting, enhancing, and expanding the community’s arts and cultural resources and strengthen industries that support individual creativity and innovation.
  • Supporting and growing the Aspire Initiative, which is working to improve education opportunities from cradle to career.

Economic systems

  • Developing programs and policies that encourage connecting neighborhoods to nearby businesses and open spaces with walking and/or biking trails or sidewalks.
  • Expanding and building on the BetterBuildings program, which provides financing for energy efficiency technology.
  • Decreasing the amount of energy businesses and governments use while increasing the amount of energy they get from renewable sources such as solar and geothermal.
  • Developing tools and programs to encourage more people to ride public transportation.
  • Aligning programs aimed at growing job skills for residents with current and emerging needs of the region’s primary industry clusters, with a particular focus on developing high-skilled careers.
  • Enhancing job training to preserve local manufacturing industries while also helping the region remain globally competitive as it transitions to industries such as advanced manufacturing technologies.

CNT provided research, analysis, and community facilitation to develop the plan’s stormwater and infrastructure strategies. The plan includes one of CNT’s hallmark stormwater management tools, the Green Infrastructure Portfolio Standard, which provides a framework for cities to incrementally increase the amount of green infrastructure used to manage rainwater. In addition, our Housing + Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index was used to develop metrics for transportation goals.

Going Beyond Green can serve as a model for other regions like Toledo-Lucas County that are budget constrained and seek to become more sustainable while also growing jobs and addressing immediate infrastructure needs.

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