These are unprecedented times in the effort to bring Central Ohio municipalities, townships, and counties together as a region. MORPC’s role during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order goes well beyond virtually convening local governments and the building industry to determine ways to go forward.

MORPC has partnered with the Franklin County Township Association and Central Ohio Mayors & Managers Association to host regular, weekly meetings for counties and townships throughout the 15-county region on Tuesday afternoons, and another on Thursdays for cities and villages. Topics revolve around the COVID lockdown — from updates about current conditions in the region, to the challenges to state and local budgets in the resulting economic slump, to ways to address changes in the coming weeks and months.

The meetings are not a recitation of facts and figures. They are an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of state, local and national leaders.

Recent meetings have included discussions with Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, U.S. Sen Sherrod Brown, and health commissioners Dr. Mysheika W. Roberts of Columbus and Joe Mazzola of Franklin County.

Husted discussed progress in the state’s response to COVID and the goal of testing 20,000 Ohioans per day for the virus by the end of May. Brown discussed efforts to direct federal dollars to local governments hurting from a decline in tax revenue, and encouraged participants to reach out to legislators. Mazzola and Roberts offered updates on regional COVID cases, and Roberts urged caution in decisions about opening public swimming pools. She noted that the threat is not water, but the assemblage of people.

Though the meetings themselves are conducted remotely, they have the potential to bring the leaders of Central Ohio communities closer together as they share information. other recent meetings hosted by MORPC are available on MORPC’s YouTube channel.