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YS Development Corporation fetes ‘Action in Evaluation’

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The motion set forth and approved by members of The Yellow Springs Development Corporation, or YSDC, on Aug. 4 — for a sum of $1 — to contract with ARIA Group under the helm of Jay Rothman to “pilot a proposed collaborative visioning and planning methodology and to assess the methodology’s potential for the greater community.”

The methodology, called “Action in Evaluation,” or AE, was initially described by Rothman at a YSDC meeting in July. He said the process is a way for “YSDC to compile a living database for the community.” Rothman developed AE around 20 years ago. Used as a community outreach tool in Cincinnati, its use resulted in significant court-mandated police reform geared toward community policing. According to Rothman, “the tool can be used to inform strategic planning and visioning for the organizations which comprise YSDC and further align organizations within the Yellow Springs system on goals which support the shared vision.” AE, participatory by design, also has a key purpose — “to serve as a tool for community action.”

Rothman invited YSDC members to experience the tool through a piloting process at his home on Aug. 28. Rothman also extended the invitation to the News and any resident who wanted to observe the AE evaluation process. Miami Township Trusee Don Hollister, who serves as a township represenative on the YSDC, likened the evaluation to a “half-day workshop.”

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Members discussed their personal experience with the process at a regular monthly meeting held Sept. 13, highlighting some areas of success and some causes for concern, some of which is related to the data produced from the process and next steps. Those discussion details will be featured in a future News article.

Other YSDC business

YSDC members approved a request from the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce asking that the organization become the Chamber’s fiscal sponsor. The Chamber — which does not hold nonprofit status— will now have the ability “to pursue grant funds for the purpose of expanding local broadband access to downtown Yellow Springs businesses” through the YSDC. Yellow Springs Community Foundation Executive Director Jeannamarie Cox, who serves on YSDC as an ex officio member, said the foundation has funds available — around $25,000 — that can be used to help businesses development. This opportunity includes providing funds for broadband access to downtown businesses for one year.

The Chamber will serve as a liaison for those businesses who want to pursue this opportunity.

After one year, businesses will begin paying the reoccurring monthly “utility charges for broadband. Those charges will [eventually] be a new source of revenue for the village,” which recently established a utility for local broadband that they hope will eventually provide services to the entire village. The benefits of signing up with Village wi-fi include having faster Wi-Fi services at a cheaper rate.


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