Organization works to connect communities with nature and one other
[Columbus, Ohio] December 6, 2022 – Powered by its founding board of committed community leaders, RAPID 5 is ready to transform our region, by putting nature at the center of our lives and growth. To become home to the largest, interconnected park system in the country by connecting central Ohio’s five major watersheds, abundant greenways, vibrant parks and paths; and, to become a region where every resident can access nature within a mile of their home.
“This is our turning point, a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Amy Acton, RAPID 5 President and CEO. “And this catalytic founding board, a group of unique individuals and dedicated leaders from across sectors, will help us achieve this bold mission.”
“RAPID 5 will leverage our region’s rich natural resources to improve our quality of life here, today and for generations to come. We need the best and the brightest, stacking hands with us to get this done, and this founding board is just the right group,” said Keith Myers, one of the nonprofit’s founders and now RAPID 5 Board Chair.
Myers is joined on the board by 16 diverse members, representing our community in the areas of the environment, arts and the creative economy, real estate development, design and planning, as well as nonprofit, health care, law and financial-sector leadership.
“Putting nature at the center of our lives will have a profound impact on both the physical health and emotional wellbeing of our communities,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas, Interim Co-leader and Chief Clinical Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and RAPID 5 board member.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this founding board,” said Janica Pierce Tucker, partner-in-charge at Taft and RAPID 5 board member. “Now is really the time for us all to come together and look at what we want our community to look like in the future.”
The RAPID 5 founding board includes the following members:
The first official convening of the Board will be in March of 2023. Over time, the Board will continue to grow, as additional brand partners emerge, in addition to the forming of key committees and task forces to carry forward the work.
RAPID 5 was founded earlier this year to fulfill a vision developed by Myers and others to activate the five north-south waterways naturally dispersed across central Ohio to give residents and visitors more outdoor recreational and cultural opportunities while enhancing economic development potential. The effort has gained urgency as central Ohio expects to add 1 million new residents by 2050.
RAPID 5 stands for Rivers and Parks Imagination Design. It works with municipalities, nonprofits, corporations, community organizations and individuals to promote innovative approaches to engage people with the area’s waterways and adjacent paths, trails and parks.
Five local design firms accepted invitations from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Columbus and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), working with the Neighborhood Design Center, to develop ideas for each of the waterways – Big Darby Creek, Scioto River, Olentangy River, Alum Creek and Big Walnut Creek. The five firms were REALM Collaborative, NBBJ, MKSK, AECOM and EDGE.
Kerstin Carr, chief regional strategy officer and senior director of planning for MORPC and now board treasurer, encouraged Dr. Acton to look at the developing initiative, the former state health director was drawn to RAPID 5’s potential to improve health and well-being by putting nature at the center of where people live, work, and play.
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