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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan Unveils Unified Office of Integrated Development

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New department brings together functions of Planning, Economic Development, Recreation and aspects of Engineering to enhance public life and accelerate economic progress in Akron

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 07-16-2019

Akron, Ohio, July 15, 2019 – With tonight’s unanimous approval by City Council, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan is proud to officially unveil the new City of Akron Office of Integrated Development (OID). OID brings together Planning, Economic Development, Recreation and elements of Engineering under one unified department.  The Office, inspired by the recommendations of the Akron Growth Council and the Elevate Akron regional strategy, and originally announced in Mayor Horrigan’s 2018 State of the City Address, will operate under the direction of Deputy Mayor James Hardy. The goal of this strategic integration is to enhance transparency and efficiency and bring enhanced vision and purpose to every development decision made in the City.

“Our citizens, workers, businesses and visitors deserve the very best services and outcomes we can provide with the resources, talent, and tools we have available,” Mayor Horrigan said of his decision to restructure.  “And modern times demand modern ways of thinking.  If we want to improve outcomes and compete for jobs and investment, we can no longer silo community development from economic development from the practical engineering that makes projects work. The Office of Integrated Development is more than words on paper – it’s a new way of doing business – one that streamlines operations, eliminates barriers, and opens up pathways for inclusive growth.” 

The restructuring comes after more than a year of strategic planning, facilitated by Lynn Ross, Founder and Principal of Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC, and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 

“While the planning process was informed by looking at similar efforts in Detroit, Lansing, Louisville and Minneapolis, the resulting work is authentically Akron,” Ross said of the 15-month planning effort. “The core values, goals, and indicators created in this process were driven by the ideas and experience of a staff committed to transformational change and equitable outcomes.”

OID will be responsible for business attraction and retention, entrepreneurship, downtown development, recreation and public space, land use and zoning, as well as long range planning and City real estate.   OID’s portfolio of projects will build upon existing strategies including Elevate Akron, the Downtown Vision and Redevelopment Plan, and Planning to Grow Akron

“The creation of OID comes at a time when Akron, like many other cities, is faced with a changing economy and workforce, growing expectations of residents, and a budget limited by the realities of existing debt,” James Hardy, Deputy Mayor for Integrated Development said. “OID is a proactive response by the City to these needs and a calculated bet on Akron’s future.  OID will also propel forward the Elevate Akron strategy to create new economic and community development that is innovative and deliberately inclusive.” 

In presenting the new department to City Council, Deputy Mayor Hardy presented the new OID mission and vision statement: “The City of Akron Office of Integrated Development is committed to co-creating, with residents and businesses, a community that is healthy, equitable, beautiful, and resilient. Our team does this with clarity of process, transparent communications, data-driven strategy, and a culture of learning and creativity.  Our goal is to embrace Akron’s history and steward that legacy.”

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For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary
Phone: 3303752325
E-mail: [email protected]

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