When many people hear the name “Oberlin,” they may think of the liberal arts college and its world-renowned conservatory of music. For the 8,200 residents of this small city outside of Cleveland, however, Oberlin is also a great place to live. Calling it a “quintessential college town,” Ohio Magazine honored Oberlin as its 2012 “Best Hometown” in Northeast Ohio. The city was also recognized with the “Best Intergenerational Communities Award” thanks to its active residents of all ages, showing that the community is much more than just college students.
City Manager and ICMA member Eric Norenberg points to the mix of old and new as part of what makes Oberlin unique. Founded in 1833, the city today has both well-preserved old homes and innovative firms working in biomedical and renewable energy technologies. “I feel proud of the quality of life I am able to help sustain and enhance as City Manager,” Eric says, pointing to the “thriving businesses and stable neighborhoods” the community enjoys. Taking his experience beyond city limits, Eric recently began serving as the board chair of the Lorain County economic development agency.
Many Oberlin residents over the years have used their talents to make a difference in the world. Not only does Oberlin College have many notable alumni, the local high school has also produced its own impressive graduates. “We are fortunate that so many high school and college alums are still engaged and helping our community,” Eric says. Often, Oberlin isn’t the only city that benefits from its citizens’ accomplishments. Many more cities are thankful for the 1885 graduate of Oberlin High School who invented floodlights, then put them to use by introducing night baseball.
City of Oberlin Office of Planning and Development
The thriving businesses of Main Street Oberlin, Ohio, where city manager Eric Norenberg uses the Knowledge Network to research leading local practices.
Eric notes that managing a small community requires him to quickly learn about the full range of issues that might come up in the community. The Knowledge Network is one of the resources Eric relies on to keep up with the latest practices in local management. “I rely on the Knowledge Network as a source for research and sample documents,” Eric says. “Often I can find answers to questions others have asked, so I don’t have to ask again.” He also contributes his own experience by answering questions from his peers or sharing a document.
Of course, not all of the answers are on the Knowledge Network. Eric says he is also inspired by his travels with his wife to European cities, where they love to try new foods and meet the locals. “Invariably, I bring an idea or two home to consider implementing in Oberlin.”
Learn more about Eric by visiting his Knowledge Network profile. Be sure to update your own profile to help your colleagues get to know you, then ask a question or upload a document to share your own experience.