Putting Flesh on the Skeletal Idea of Regionalism in Our Neck of the Woods

The Chagrin Solon Sun published this article today, "Chagrin Valley communities to apply for grant for greater collaboration."  At last week's City Council meeting on Wednesday, February 17, Mayor Akers mentioned that he had just met with the mayors of Moreland Hills (Sue Renda) and Orange Village (Kathy Mulcahy) and that they'd decided to go forward with a proposal (preceded by an abstract which is due tomorrow) to EfficientGovNow regarding what the Sun describes this way:
“We’re going to explore consolidation and a new shared identity to increase efficiency while maintaining service levels and high-quality neighborhoods,” Orange Mayor Kathy Mulcahy said.
For me, the big questions are: What do "explore consolidation" and "a new shared identity" mean?  Who will be doing the defining? What will the proposal actually seek to do?

Mayor Renda indicates in the article that she hopes the Efficientgovnow grant would implement whatever recommendations come out of the Baldwin-Wallace study that is anticipated to be released but about which we, as yet, have received no specific recommendations to implement.

My opinion has always been that the consolidating to save money part of regionalism is not the hard part. The obstacle to consolidating communities is psychological: we move into our respective communities because of their identity, one way or another. Regionalism requires giving up that identity, that essence and being willing to exchange it for something else because...fill in the blank: you believe saving money is more important, you believe retaining some sense of community via a larger area, while yours may be shrinking, is more valuable than holding onto your original community until it withers away and no longer resembles what you recall it to be in the first place.

Nothing epitomizes this psychological tug of war over the concept of regionalism versus the implementation of regionalism better than bringing up the topic of letting go of the Pepper Pike Dispatch Center: yes, let someone else do it v. no, we must keep the dispatch center in Pepper Pike.

And consider how many times you have heard references to preserving the essence of Pepper Pike or retaining Pepper Pike's qualities or keeping Pepper Pike's characteristics, and so on?  I know I've heard that language frequently.

Is Pepper Pike really at this crossroads?  Do we have choices? What do they look like?  What do the consequences of the choices look like - including doing nothing?  How do the questions and answers relate to attracting future residents - and attracting a future Pepper Pike?  Is there any way to accept and embrace regionalism more fully and still be Pepper Pike?

The one thing I know for sure: whatever is proposed to Efficientgovnow in regard to implementation of the Baldwin-Wallace study, it must include a big, whopping, enormous dose of resident involvement and public engagement, from any and all communities included in the grant - including cross-pollination.  Without buy-in, even the most beneficent decision making will be greatly jeopardized, and compromised.

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