Mitigating Environmental Justice Impacts
As the home to a high population of minority and low-income residents, the Opportunity Corridor area was rife with potential adverse or disproportionate environmental justice impacts. To mitigate those impacts and support the community engagement efforts, the ODOT/HNTB team:
- Developed an environmental impact statement that communicated technical information clearly and in a visually appealing format. Both the draft and final EIS made it easy for stakeholders to understand project details and the decision-making process.
- Shared the EIS widely online and in public places, such as local community development corporations, public library branches and recreation centers. Residents’ comments confirmed they understood the information presented in the document.
- Learned through the public engagement process that area residents needed jobs and job training to gain the qualifications necessary to obtain work. In response to this feedback and as an environmental mitigation measure, the project committed $500,000 to Ohio Means Jobs, a collaborative workforce system that helps local employers meet their talent needs while also helping job seekers find success. The funding made on-the-job training opportunities available to residents in the impacted neighborhoods. Two community ambassadors were also brought in to identify and assist those interested in job training. This training has resulted in hundreds of job placements for area residents in construction, health care and social services, manufacturing, administrative, sales, customer service, general labor and more.
Approximately 40,000 additional project-specific on-the-job training hours were set aside for the design and construction of the Opportunity Corridor project. These goals were exceeded for all three sections.
As part of the environmental mitigation efforts, the Ohio Department of Transportation also:
- Implemented a favorable voluntary residential relocation program for people indirectly impacted by the project.
- Committed $500,000 toward expansion of the Woodland Recreation Center adjacent to the corridor.
- Committed funding for construction of enhanced bus shelters where existing bus lines cross the new boulevard.
- Built two pedestrian/bike bridges.
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