The Ridges Framework Plan
Addendum Note: The creation of the Ridges Framework Plan, which occurred in 2015, was a highly collaborative process with the community, City and University stakeholders.
As this process evolved, an initial recommendation included the development of the Tier 1 Zone as an Eco-Village community to meet housing needs identified for the Athens area in 2017. The Eco-Village concept included conservation development, clustered buildings with small footprints, as well as sustainable facilities and materials. Just 10% of Tier 1 Land was identified for potential development with the remaining to be left untouched.
Shortly after this recommendation was proposed, two groups reached out to Ohio University to share concerns about developing this area given its proximity to the Land Lab, as well as to discuss activities and research that occur on Tier 1 Land.
After reviewing the groups’ Tier 1 Land concerns, Ohio University developed alternative options for housing in other areas of The Ridges and designated Tier one as non-developable land.
Additionally, the university began to evaluate what guidelines might be appropriate for land use in the Tier 1 area, resulting in an addendum to the Ridges Framework Plan as it was initially proposed.
About the Framework Plan
The Ridges represent approximately 700-acres of land, buildings, and history to the State of Ohio, Ohio University, and southeast Ohio. The study includes a comprehensive evaluation of The Ridges land and its buildings, studies for potential uses and adaptability, identification of global issues regarding access and integration of The Ridges with the rest of OHIO's campus, financial strategies to realize potential, and core principles that guide The Ridges planning development.
The plan is the culmination of many months of evaluation, analysis, and public engagement, and it details the key findings of the historic buildings and surrounding land. It was approved by The Ohio University Board of Trustees on October 16, 2015.
Since the approval of The Ridges Framework Plan in 2015, further developments resulted in the creation of an addendum.
Ohio University recognizes the distinct value of The Ridges and seeks to protect it as a supporting resource for the mission, vision, core values, and guiding principles of the University. Specifically, it is the University's vision to leverage The Ridges to provide hands-on education and research, explore new ways of physical and economic development, demonstrate land development stewardship techniques, enable uses that can work with the physical conditions of The Ridges, and expand outdoor recreation opportunities while enhancing the natural setting. The Kirkbride Complex has over 700,000 square feet of buildings, and for it to thrive and be recognized as a campus green, it will need the right mix and density of program uses to provide activity and a sense of destination. Some buildings may not be easily used for current and future needs and their sites may be more valuable than the buildings on them.
Throughout the Framework Plan process, the following principles have guided its development.
- Engage the local community in planning efforts.
- Strengthen connectivity amongst The Ridges, the University, and the community.
- Plan for economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable development.
- Optimize the use of buildings and land to celebrate the history of The Ridges, while making wise use of University resources.
- Seek programs and uses that support the academic mission and strategic values of the University.
- Identify creative and viable financial strategies, including public-private partnerships.