State and county lines are often unnecessary roadblocks to cooperation, says Selena Schmidt, Power of 32's executive director."I look at it that there is sort of an artificial right-angle plopped down right in the middle of where I live," she says. "We've seen a variety of numbers, but about 50% of people in the region cross some jurisdictional line during their day each day … folks in Pittsburgh going to Youngstown, going to Morgantown."One business owner told the organization that "a full one-third of the people working at his company in Cranberry live in the state of Ohio." Beyond our work lives, Schmidt says, we embrace the entire region as home. "The first place I ever went rock climbing was in West Virginia. And how many people do we know who vacation at Deep Creek?"
I gather that Selena Schmidt has replaced Allen Kukovich. I've heard rumors about some dissatisfaction with Kukovich. The main thing is that the regional initiative started off with a thud and subsequently seemed to be aimlessly wandering. Undoubtedly, the new leadership is welcome.
I appreciate the anecdotes about the common crossing of state lines. Curious that the ties between Youngstown and Cranberry aren't more widely recognized. That's the point Hunter Morrison is making in his discussion of TechBelt mental maps. But the geographic constructs are, of course, subjective.
Power of 32 is decidedly Pittsburgh-centric. Team NEO is Cleveland-centric. The TechBelt is Youngstown-centric. I don't understand how one regional initiative can include Youngstown but not Akron. And if the Power of 32 is willing to go that far, what about Greater Erie?
I'm missing some piece to the visioning process. Power of 32 could be Pittsburgh's answer to Northeast Ohio. Both might fit neatly within the TechBelt. Rebecca Bagley's retooling of NorTech suggests that this is possible. Somebody should clue the public in as to what is going on and put an end to the stealth regional initiatives.