COLUMNS

MORPC Matters: 2020 didn't stop central Ohio from moving ahead

William Murdock
Guest columnist

2020 has been challenging year – one of shared loss and unprecedented challenges we’ve faced together.

Our team at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is thankful for the way our region’s local governments continue to innovate, collaborate and learn from one another. So many unsung heroes and public servants rose to the challenge to keep us healthy and connected to resources.

William Murdock is executive director at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

Our hearts break with stories of lost loved ones and other hardships faced by our families, neighbors and small businesses as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Through MORPC and our partners – like the Central Ohio Mayors and Managers Association and the Franklin County Township Association – we come together to navigate our region through health and economic crises as we continue to plan for tomorrow.

As we face the pandemic, MORPC brings local decisionmakers together to help them with resources and best practices and to be a sounding board for new and innovative ideas. From a crisis of health to one of justice, we were all affected by the recent tragedies as they shined a brighter light on a long history of racial discrimination in our country. We stand humbly alongside local government leaders and community members across the region in pressing for dedicated, long-term work to eliminate racism in our neighborhoods, workplaces and region.

There is much to do to make central Ohio a better, more prosperous place, and we need residents' help. You are an important part of the community leadership and work needed on planning for the future – volunteering on a local government committee, participating in an online meeting or planning session or sharing ideas and concerns with local elected officials. Even simply filling out our surveys on bike trails or transportation can help make a difference. If you need help, let us know.

With involvement from every corner of our region, MORPC’s plans and committees are working to address disparities in transportation, sustainability, broadband and public policy – including through such initiatives as the Regional Housing Strategy and weatherization.

Approaching our work through an equity-focused lens is not new, but 2020 brought renewed focus and energy in our work to eliminate barriers standing in the way of more affordable homes, better connections to jobs and cleaner air. Planning ahead today means we can make central Ohio an even better place to call home tomorrow.

We can all be proud of our own city, village, township or county leaders during 2020.  Dedicated public officials kept their communities connected and worked quickly – and sometimes thanklessly – to respond to COVID-19, economic crises and protests. Our job at MORPC is to support them in today’s needs, to help them plan for tomorrow’s opportunities and to encourage continued great work together as neighbors.

We’re looking ahead to 2021 being the year we all can move forward together.

William Murdock is executive director at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. MORPC’s purpose is to bring communities of all sizes and interests together to collaborate on best practices and plan for the future of the region.