The Center for Regional Development (CRD) at Bowling Green State University is excited to announce the hiring of two new staff members.
Melissa Hopfer is CRD's newest Project Coordinator. Melissa served as the Sustainability Project Manager for Lucas County for the past 7 years and is a graduate of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program and B.A. of Environmental Policy & Analysis program at BGSU. Melissa will be working on CRD's Reimagining Rural Regions (R³) Program and supporting planning projects across the region.
Vanessa Oz is CRD's first full-time Graphic Designer. Vanessa recently served as a Graphic Design Specialist with CRD and was an undergraduate graphic designer with CRD. Vanessa is a recent graduate of BGSU with a BFA in Graphic Design. Vanessa will be responsible for managing CRD's website and producing deliverables for community partners including reports, infographics, and web-based products.
After a competitive application process and site visits, the CRD at BGSU selected the following Ohio communities for the second cohort of the R3 program:
- Village of Paulding: Located in Paulding County, the Village of Paulding will use R3 resources to leverage its historic county courthouse and picturesque village square into a hub for community activity through the development and attraction of new restaurants, retail shops and community hubs.
- City of Bowling Green: Serving as Wood County's county seat, the City of Bowling Green will leverage R3 resources to implement its Heritage 2025 initiative that focuses on robust public engagement, as well as to identify and implement improvements to the downtown corridor.
- City of Mansfield: Located in Richland County, the City of Mansfield will use the capacity provided through the R3 Program to continue its Mansfield Rising initiative by reimagining a parking lot in the heart of downtown into a community asset and gathering place.
BGSU’s placemaking program, the Reimagining Rural Regions Initiative (R3), is expanding thanks to a new partnership with the USDA. BGSU was one of 13 organizations nationally that received an award though the USDA’s Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC). The goal of these partnerships is to enhance community assets to better position communities to retain and attract people and jobs. CRD staff launched R3 in the spring of 2021 with a group of three communities: Gibsonburg, Van Wert, and Marysville. The CRD team is looking forward to expanding the group in 2022.
CRD was chosen to continue serving as a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center for the next five years, along with its partners at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service at Ohio University. The EDA University Center program is designed to make the extensive resources of universities available to the economic development community. The program provides an important connection with the EDA and the funding allows CRD to partner with communities, regions, and organizations to facilitate planning processes, assist with grant applications, and collect, analyze, and visualize data.
CRD received funding from the EDA to update a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for a group of three counties in northwest Ohio: Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa. A CEDS is a strategy-driven plan for regional economic development that is the result of a regionally-owned planning process. Regions are required to have a CEDS to be eligible for many EDA assistance programs and must update them, at least, every five years. The CEDS Strategy Committee provided vital guidance and input throughout the process and is comprised of representatives from Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa counties, the City of Toledo, the Regional Growth Partnership, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, and the Greater Toledo Community Foundation. The Strategy Committee developed two formats for the CEDS: a PDF report that goes into detail about the CEDS and a web-based report that provides high-level information regarding the 5-year CEDS. We look forward to implementing the CEDS, which provides a strategic path to economic prosperity and resiliency for the three-county region that takes advantage of the area’s many assets. View the web-based CEDS report. View the full CEDS report. View the EDA Letter of Acceptance of the CEDS.
We are excited to announce the three community applicants we selected for the first round of our new placemaking program, Reimagining Rural Regions (R3) Initiative: Gibsonburg, Van Wert, and Marysville. As a public university for the public good, BGSU’s Division of Research and Economic Engagement and the Center for Regional Development (CRD) developed the R3 Initiative to provide expertise and capacity to assist communities to undertake a placemaking process to identify assets that could be reimagined in an effort to improve quality of life and to aid in the retention and attraction of talent. This work is partly funded by a $300,000 CARES Act grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the State of Ohio Rural Universities Program and seeks to help select communities in northwest Ohio reinvigorate and reimagine themselves into becoming vibrant and exciting places to live.
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded CRD a $555,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to develop a workforce strategy and recovery plan for a four-county region that includes Lucas, Wood, Ottawa and Fulton Counties. The plan is to develop a set of metrics first and then develop a plan, said Dr. Russell Mills, senior director of CRD. The planning process will also result in the development of a Northwest Ohio workforce dashboard and user guide, workforce assets GIS-based mapping tool and user guide, and workforce development events calendar.
CRD provided technical assistance to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority on their successful $2.4 million application to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for a CARES Act Recovery Assistance Grant to create a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) for businesses in northwest Ohio. CRD provided data, analysis, and application guidance to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority in support of their application to EDA as part of their work under the EDA’s University Center Program. The RLF will help address the region’s weakness in access to capital for small and mid-sized businesses and will support the goals and objectives of the Toledo Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).
At the 2021 State of the Region Conference, the Center for Regional Development and BGSU unveiled the Reimagining Rural Regions (R3) Initiative. The R3 Initiative, initially funded by a grant to CRD from the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) CARES Act, is a community-led placemaking effort that is designed to leverage the expertise and capacity of BGSU faculty, students, and staff to enhance community assets to better position communities to retain and attract young workers, executives, and skilled workers.
CRD was awarded an Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop a comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) for the U.S. 30 Corridor, which includes Ashland, Crawford, Richland, and Wyandot Counties in north central Ohio. Each of the four counties partnered with CRD on the grant application and will be members of the CEDS Strategy Committee. CRD is excited to work with these communities on their CEDS and to use its economic development planning capacity to further their long-term economic and community development goals.
CRD received a $300,000 CARES Act grant to support economic and workforce development recovery strategies across a 27-county region in Northwest Ohio. This funding was provided to Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Centers (UC), including the Rural University Consortium, which is jointly operated by CRD and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. The grant will support additional capacity for the UC, boosting its ability to help communities reimagine more resilient economies. “Our local communities are navigating never-before-seen challenges due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Russell W. Mills, senior director of CRD. “This funding is critical in allowing CRD to bring additional staff capacity and expertise on board to expand our reach and support northwest Ohio.”
Increased federal funding and state support have allowed CRD to increase its capacity and expand its reach across the region. CRD promoted one staff member, filled a new budget and operations position, and is in the process of hiring an economic recovery program coordinator. Dr. Nichole Fifer was promoted to assistant director. She previously served as an economic development program coordinator at CRD. For the new assistant to the senior director position, CRD hired another BGSU staff member, Vijaya Dasigi. She will focus on CRD’s budget and operations. CRD will soon hire an economic recovery program coordinator to lead the center’s recovery efforts. The staff also includes more graduate research assistants than usual. All of this is to keep us with all of the new and exciting projects CRD took on this year. Learn more about the CRD staff.
CRD is proud to announce our partnership with the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio (HCNO) and ProMedica Health Systems to implement Stronger Pathways, a research study aimed at helping our partners address infant mortality in Northwest Ohio. This study will assess avenues for targeted enhancement to the Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB, a coordinated care system aimed at preventing infant mortality. Through a $270,000 Ohio Third Frontier (OTF) grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), BGSU researchers will work closely with our partners and program participants to evaluate the Pathways program and HUB operations, and to identify barriers to HUB access or pathways completion. Together we aim to strengthen the Pathways HUB model to ensure greater infant vitality in our community.
Updated: 09/26/2022 02:29PM