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130 West North Street
Lima, Ohio 45801-4311
Phone: (419) 228-1836
Fax: (419) 228-3891

How is Allen County doing in comparison to other areas across the state and the nation?  Are our children doing well in school? Is there job growth in the area? Are local residents healthy?  To find out how our community is really doing, watch the following Activate Allen County Launch Video!

The goal of Activate Allen County is to improve the quality of life for the residents through comprehensive community collaboration.  To accomplish its mission, the project examines community indicators in Allen County, Ohio, taking a close look at the people, businesses, and systems, examining progress, accomplishments, and challenges in selected topic areas. Community indicators provide access to objective,  valid data as well as provide benchmarks to measure community progress toward achieving established goals.  For each indicator, there is a description, a brief analysis of trends, charts depicting trends over time, and tables providing data, as well as community comparisons to the state and national trends, where available. Community indicators are organized by topic area, including: Art & Leisure, Economy, Education, Environment, Transportation, Land Use & Regulatory Controls, Government & Politics, Health, Population & Demographics, Public Safety, and Social Environment.

Nationwide communities are turning to indicator projects to assess as well as quantify strengths and challenges, launch community-wide discussions about improving the quality of life, and guide decisions regarding community priorities.  This information provides decision support for planning, policy, and action by funders, program providers, and residents. It creates the foundation for local sustainability through development of interagency cooperative policies and practices, including land use management strategies and transportation investments that target increased mode choice, accessibility, clean air and water, as well as broad-based socioeconomic/health conditions - all based on local quantitative benchmarks.

The Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Allen County, is a charter member of Activate Allen County.  As such the MPO seeks to develop the foundation for sustainable community development through interagency cooperative practices and management strategies, by targeting increased accessibility and mobility options, better overall health outcomes and housing conditions as well as advancing improved clean air and water quality.  The MPO works with community partners to develop and implement policies and practices that work to integrate, in a complementary manner, such issues as land use, transportation, environmental, and housing as well as employment and educational opportunities.  Visioning a community in which the built environment is improved through a deliberative process of public input, capital improvements, establishment of acceptable design guidelines and thoughtful regulatory policies.   To that end, the LACRPC supports the development of broad-based economic/community development indicators as quantitative benchmarks from which to assess progressive incremental improvements.  Activate Allen County provides a community framework of collaborative partnerships through which sustainable community development can be accomplished.

Activate Allen County partners are stakeholders whose missions include wide ranging community interests.   The indicators found on this website will serve as a tool that each partner will use to move the community forward in accordance with their missions.  Partners include:  Allen County Health Department, Allen County Health Partners, City of Lima, Lima-Allen County Community Action, Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, Lima Community Foundation, Lima Memorial Health Systems, Mental Health & Recovery Services Board, Ohio Department of Transportation, St. Rita's Medical Center, YMCA, and United Way.  Click here for Activate Allen County contact information.

Back in 2008, before anyone ever thought about Activate Allen County, a local initiative was undertaken to "Choose Our Future, Not Just Let It Happen!" Toward this end, the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce worked collaboratively with the Common Threads Allen 2020 Initiative on a visioning project to pave the way to a community vision focused on planned growth.  The members of this grass roots citizen team approached visioning for the Allen County community's future from many different perspectives and from nearly all sectors of the County.  The "Report from the Allen 2020 Visioning Project Task Forces:  Visions of Allen County in the Year 2020" is available here.   Activate Allen County used the work of that initiative to inform their decisions.

In May, 2012, Activate Allen County worked together to bring to the Lima - Allen County community, national public health, planning, and transportation consultant, Mark Fenton.  He is an adjunct associate professor at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and former host of the "America's Walking" series on PBS television. He's author of numerous books including the best selling "Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness" (Lyons Press, 2nd edition 2008). He was a developer of the University of North Carolina's Safe Routes to School clearinghouse, and facilitator for the walkable community workshop series of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking; he now provides technical training and community planning as an independent consultant. Mark has research publications and articles related to exercise science, physical activity promotion, and community level interventions. He's a vocal advocate for non-motorized transportation, a frequent consultant on bicycle and pedestrian community plans, and recognized authority on public health issues and the need for community, environmental, and public-policy initiatives to encourage more walking, bicycling, and transit use.  Mr. Fenton encourages communities to build support for a healthier, more physically active population, and more sustainable and enjoyable lifestyles. The pathway there, however, is challenging; but, he is trying to help America find its way to more active and more livable cities, towns, and neighborhoods. He works with organizations and communities around the country to build environments, policies, and programs that help to create places where more people walk, bicycle, and take transit more of the time. And its not just about healthier people. Done well, active community designs lead to economically, environmentally, and socially thriving cities, towns, and rural settings where people of all ages, abilities, and incomes lead long, vibrant lives.  Mr. Fenton spoke to community leaders on May 6, 2012, encouraging them to work together to build a more sustainable community.  Click here to listen to Mr. Fenton's presentation and learn how to take those first steps toward a healthier more sustainable community.  

There have been many accomplishments that are directly attributable to this local initiative committed to effect healthy change in the communiy.  In September 2013, a second Health Summit brought, as key-note speakers for the two-day event, "eco chef" and author, Bryant Terry, as well as Dr. Marlene Schwartz, researcher and director of the Rudd Center for Food & Obesity, Yale University.   

An Active Transportation Plan will help reshape the transportation system to make walking, bicycling, and public transit the easy, convenient, and safe choice for everyday travel needs.  The Plan will focus on specific recommendations that will transform the transportation infrastructure to create an active transportation network equipped with supportive facilities.  The ultimate goal is to work with the Bike & Pedestrain Task Force, as well as other local stakeholders, to create uniquely livable and environmentally sustainable communities across Allen County in which active transportation and recreation facilities support healthy lifestyles and vigorous economies.   The services of nationally respected Greenway Collaborative and Poggemeyer Design Group were secured to help craft the Active Transporation Plan.   A new Active Transportation link is live on the internet - click here to visit the Allen County Active Transportation website.

A Mobile Produce Market now rolls down the streets of Lima, tearing down "food desert" barriers by bringing fresh produce to local residents.  The Market is loaded with a variety of fresh produce, making stops all over town.  Residents can board a retrofitted LACRTA bus and buy regional, seasonal produce at well below grocery store prices.  You can find out where and when the bus will be in a neighborhood near you, call 419-222-7946, or go to the West Ohio Food Bank website for a schedule.

Click here to visit the Activate Allen County website designed to inform and encourage residents about actions they can take to live a healthier life. 


ACTIVATE ALLEN COUNTY TOPIC CENTER