Ravenna, Ohio Joins Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program

Ravenna, OH – The City of Ravenna, Ohio, recently became the first municipality in Ohio to join Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program. The Sustainable Communities Program serves as a framework to merge economic development with the protection and enhancement of a community’s environmental and social characteristics. Audubon International serves as a catalyst for citizen-driven planning and community actions, and facilitates partnerships with governmental agencies, businesses, academic institutions, and other organizations that provide local support and assistance to reach the goals envisioned in the community. Working in this way, Ravenna will take a big picture approach to community growth and environmental protection.

“Every community faces challenges, and over time, all communities undergo change. At the same time, there are aspects of life and assets in each community that make it a great place to live,” said Sustainable Communities Program Manager, Suzi Zakowski. “The Sustainable Communities Program helps communities tackle those challenges and plan for change in a way that fosters a vibrant local economy while maintaining a healthy environment and high quality of life. This is the concept of sustainability, which Audubon International views as the foundation for quality communities of today and tomorrow. We want to harness the best of what Ravenna is today, and plan for the best of what Ravenna can be tomorrow.” 

“The City of Ravenna Administration and staff are truly excited about our membership in the Sustainable Communities Program. This program will provide a structured avenue with which we can better organize and advance new initiatives that will vastly improve our community well into the future,” states David J. Merleno, Service Director for the City of Ravenna. Kerry Macomber, Economic Development Director, adds “We are developing a strategic plan for the future economic revitalization of Ravenna and intend to incorporate many of the principles of the Sustainable Communities Program.” 

The City of Ravenna, population 11,724, is located in Northeast Ohio, approximately 18 miles east of Akron and 35 miles southeast of Cleveland. Ravenna prides itself on its rich history and heritage. Founded in 1799 and developed throughout the 1800’s, much of Ravenna’s original downtown architecture remains today. In 1999, Ravenna invested $3 million in renovating and restoring the downtown area. Today, the community boasts a unique mix of old and new, with numerous industrial facilities thriving within the community.

Ravenna will join several other municipal members as a public sector member of the Sustainable Communities Program. There are three stages in the multi-year certification process, during which Ravenna will complete an assessment, define a long-term community vision, choose sustainability indicators as a mechanism for fostering action and measuring success, and implement its plan. The plan covers 15 focus areas, and members must choose timelines and measurable goals. After completing a vision plan and reporting progress on chosen goals, members of Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program are eligible for certification and designation as an Audubon International Sustainable Community.

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