Future 50: Kimberly Sharp, COTA

Laura Newpoff
2020 Future 50 class member Kimberly Sharp

Future 50 Class of 2020

Kimberly Sharp

Senior director of development, Central Ohio Transit Authority

About: As deputy director of planning and development for the city of Westerville from 2013 to November, when she joined COTA, Kimberly Sharp led various initiatives as a change agent in that city. One of her largest projects was the Westerville Community Plan, a comprehensive framework for 20 years of growth that was adopted in 2017 and included input from thousands of residents and business leaders. As the project leader, Sharp had the opportunity to coordinate with regional partners, including the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and COTA, and collaborate with local community partners such as Otterbein University, the Westerville City School District and Westerville Chamber of Commerce.

As an Urban Land Institute member, Sharp has participated in progressive conversations for the Central Ohio region, including bringing in thought leaders from other cities.

Outside of work: Sharp is an Uptown Westerville board member and volunteers with the city’s Saturday farmer’s market.

50 ideas to move the region forward. Here's who else is in the Future 50 Class of 2020.

What does Columbus need to thrive? “What other similar cities have presented this past year that resonates with me as necessary for the Central Ohio area. (1) Establish affordable housing options before you are in crisis mode—Charlotte, North Carolina; (2) Build a public transit system that supports your economic development initiatives—Austin, Texas; (3) Local food is economic development—state of North Carolina; (4) In our schools, every 10-year old should be coding (‘intelligent communities’).”

Sharp’s idea: “A symposium, similar to ED411, focusing on strategies to manage housing, transportation and local food as elements of smart regional growth. To promote this symposium as a cultural shift mechanism, I would invite the thought leaders of Columbus and surrounding cities to present dynamic, exciting and daring ideas.”

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