This plan summarizes the public involvement efforts for the extension of the Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga County, Ohio for Steps 1 through 3 and the environmental / public involvement work included in Step 4 of the Ohio Department of Transportationís (ODOTs) Minor Project Development Process (PDP). The public involvement effort will include solicitation of ideas and input from area stakeholders and the community as a whole. A coordinated public involvement program will inform and involve the public on the benefits of this project, such as infrastructure improvements, travel safety, and economic development.
The public involvement plan will be coordinated with the Partnership Committee, headed by the Cuyahoga County Engineer, and includes the City of Cleveland Planning Commission, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, Cleveland Metro parks, Ohio & Erie Canalway, and local stakeholders, and will follow ODOTís guidelines.
GOALS OF THE PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PLAN
Public involvement is an important effort in project development. Public involvement for this project will include the following:
A public involvement plan that creates a clear understanding of the project needs, and identified conclusions, among the project team and stakeholders.
Review and consider all public involvement activities in regards to this project.
Define and engage the stakeholders.
Strive for consensus on alternatives identified for consideration.
Inclusive of all people in the community, specifically environmental justice populations.
Share and learn what stories may be interpreted along the trail to add to the visitor experience.
ODOT PDP Step 1
Provide a draft (interim) public involvement plan through Step 4. This plan will evolve and be revised as the project progresses through developmental stages. It may be revised after the level of environmental documentation has been determined. Currently the project is assumed to be a Categorical Exclusion Level 2.
Develop and maintain a stakeholder/contact list and submit to the Cuyahoga County Engineer.
Hold stakeholder public meetings.
Revise and maintain an appropriate level of public involvement as necessary throughout the project.
ODOT PDP Step 2
An open house public meeting, scheduled for April 17, 2007, will be held following the development of the purpose and need statement, red flag summary, and the conceptual alternatives.
The purpose of the public involvement meeting is to introduce the project to the community, introduce the project team, and present conceptual alternatives for comment.
The public involvement plan will be revised according to input gathered from public meeting.
Exhibits and any reports produced to this point, such as the purpose and need statement, will be available. The project team will be present to explain the work that has been done to date and to take comments, and members of the Partnership Committee will also be present to help solicit ideas and interaction from the public.
Exhibits for the open house public involvement meeting will include:
Data gathered to date
A comment table will be available for the public to either give comment or provide written comments.
ODOT PDP Step 3
Perform environmental studies and preliminary engineering. This step builds the foundation for the public meetings.
ODOT PDP Step 4
A second public meeting will tentatively be held in November 2007. This public meeting represents Concurrence Point 1. At this public meeting, the design team will introduce the results of the environmental studies conducted to date, the draft environmental document, the refined alternatives studied for each segment of the project length, and the recommendations of preferred options.
Following the public meeting a summary will be provided as formal documentation of Concurrence Point 1. Based on information generated and public input received, ODOT and the project team will determine further project development. By the time of this meeting the CE2 documentation will have been submitted. The public involvement plan will be updated accordingly and future public involvement will be defined throughout the project.