What Thomas Starinsky enjoys most about his work with communities is the conversations and collaborations that lead to tangible change. This work improves the quality of people’s lives with meaningful ideas that give the city personality.
Tom is an urban planning and place design professional with over 20 years of experience. His skill set spans community and economic development including city and multi-modal transportation planning; historic preservation and real estate development; business assistance and retail strategy; and public art and place enhancement strategies. With this, he brings diverse perspectives to projects to analyze and implement projects comprehensively with creativity and innovation.
The success of community planning work relies heavily on community engagement and organizational partnerships. Tom’s consulting project experience includes the Downtown Elyria Vibrancy Action Plan, Cleveland’s Lee Harvard Community Master Plan, Akron’s Kenmore Neighborhood Design Guidelines, and Lacrosse, Wisconsin’s Placemaking Strategy. Additionally, he conceived and led several projects in Downtown Cleveland such as Lighthouse Park, Small Box (a shipping container retail project), and close to 100 business signage projects. Tom has also participated in important planning and policy initiatives including Cleveland’s Equitable Community Development Working Group, Downtown Cleveland Housing Demand Analysis, Cleveland Housing Tax Abatement Policy, Ohio and National Main Street Initiatives, Downtown Cleveland Alliance Step Up Downtown Plan, Cleveland Lakefront Plan, and the Innerbelt Plan and Design. This experience has led him to develop three core values:
Collaboration with the community through thoughtful questions and active listening lead to Creative and Innovative solutions that make places where people thrive. Authentic engagement elevates the voice of the community and reflects the Evolution of cities, neighborhoods, and streets in a way that respects history and accommodates current community needs.
Many communities shy away from planning processes. They are deemed to be expensive, time consuming, and lead to nothing but bookshelf decoration. This session will follow the four month process for Downtown Elyria’s Action Plan for Vibrancy and how they are turning meaningful engagement in to approximately $100,000 in projects in just six months. Monet Roberts of Elyria Community Partnership and Thomas Starinsky of Thomas Starinsky Planning + Design will share the planning process from kick-off to project implementation including: • Identifying the need to hire a consultant • Selecting an effective steering committee to work with the consultants to support and guide the process • Identifying the goals of the planning process • Identifying the stakeholders that need to be engaged • Developing a meaningful engagement strategy • Developing recommendations based on community conversations • Raising funds for successful early action projects • Prioritizing impactful projects that can happen in six months AND leverage subsequent projects While describing the entire planning process, Monet and Tom will focus in particular on the community engagement process and the difference it can make in developing project outcomes that are on target, ensuring community buy-in, and garnering project funding.