1. Formation of Committees
We are forming four committees, each with a different area of focus (Agriculture, Healthcare, Education, and Business Retention/Expansion). Each committee will be composed of citizens who are knowledgeable in the relative focus areas. The intent is to allow REDC to gain insight, ideas and input from beyond the walls of our office or the walls of City Hall. It seems that too much information or personal opinions are filtered through the powers that be and this process will “remove the middle man”.
REDC will offer training opportunities that are open to the public. Our first session will focus on the use of QuickBooks, the industry standard for financial management for business-owners. This and other training will be advertised in the Ravenna news as well as the community website.
3. Business District Vacancies
The ratio of vacancies to occupancies in our business district is lopsided. REDC will work to fill at least one vacancy per year until the vacancy/occupancy ratio reaches a desirable level.
4. Grant Writing
We will continue to research the availability of funding and, when an opportunity is identified, pursue it with a vengeance.
1. Enhance the Aesthetics of Grand Avenue and Community Gateways
Grand Avenue is the heart of our community and its primary thoroughfare. Its aesthetic appearance is important as it reflects our community as a whole. An attractive business district also increases foot traffic resulting in a more resilient and vibrant economic environment. REDC will continue and expand the Business Exterior Enhancement Program (BEEP). This program has already generated nearly $20,000 of private investment along Grand Avenue and it shows no signs of stopping. This program coupled with further business district development will help to improve the aesthetic quality of Grand Avenue.
2. New and Infill Housing Development
Like most rural communities, there is a need for a diverse mix of housing types. Think of yourself or someone you know that may have struggled to find a rental in the past; this is a weekly occurrence in Ravenna. However, there is no clear indication of what type of housing is needed or where it should go. It is not wise to follow the Field of Dreams philosophy of “If we build it, they will come”. More information is needed to determine what can be done to ensure a vibrant and sustainable housing market. Following recommendations from the 2023 Comprehensive Plan, REDC will determine a course of action to address housing in Ravenna. I can say, with some certainty, that there is ample opportunity for infill development in Ravenna. This includes buildable vacant lots and dilapidated properties.
3. Play Key Role in Improvement of Community Facilities and Assets
We recognize Ravenna is fortunate to have the amenities it does. Our goal is to be involved in the process of improving/developing community facilities because there is always room for improvement. If our key amenities and infrastructure are continuously enhanced or expanded, quality of life in Ravenna will be improved and our community will be that much more attractive for new residents and industries.
So there you have it. This is the direction REDC has set its compass by. The ultimate goal is to work towards continuously enhancing the quality of life in Ravenna. While it is important for me to inform you about the direction we are heading, it is equally important that REDC’s actions reflect these goals. Actions are louder than words. A perfect example is our BEEP project. As noted above, this incentive has spurred nearly $20,000 of private investment along Grand Avenue since its introduction earlier this year. This program has great potential to continuously enhance the aesthetics of our commercial buildings. This in turn can increase the market for local businesses, improve customer patronage, and help us to recruit new residents and industries that see we are progressively working to create a more favorable business environment.
As always, I invite you to stop by my office to discuss any ideas, concerns or questions you may have. You can also visit www.myravenna.com to find the latest news about our activities.