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Crystal Wizard
08-14-2009, 08:59 AM
'Fastest Dying Cities' Meet for a Lively Talk

By DOUGLAS BELKIN
(See Corrections & Amplifications below.)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Here's an idea for saving Rust Belt cities: Tell bloggers and radio stations to stop calling your town a basket case.

That was one suggestion from representatives of eight of the 10 cities labeled last year as America's fastest dying. They met at the Dayton Convention Center last weekend to swap ideas about how to halt the long skid that's turned cities like Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo, N.Y., into shorthand for dystopia.

The city representatives lunched on $6 sloppy Joes and commiserated through Power Point strategy sessions: Lure back former residents, entice entrepreneurs and artists, convert blighted pockets into parkland.

What emerged was a sense of desperation over the difficulty of rebounding from both real problems -- declining populations, dwindling tax bases -- and perceived woes.

...
Representatives of Dayton, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo; Canton and Youngstown, Ohio; Flint, Mich.; and Charleston, W.Va., took turns talking about their plans. There was little discussion of how cities might pay for the initiatives.

More... (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125011106498326993.html)

Interesting article. I was curious as to the other two cities so I went to the original Forbes article and they are Scranton, PA and Springfield, MA. While I've been to a number of these cities, I'm particularly familiar with Springfield and it's a pretty sad place. I91 is a disaster area in and around Springfield and the town, home of Mass Mutual and Smith and Wesson, is rapidly becoming a ghost town.

We went there a few months back to evaluate a dental practice and there was no way either of us would consider living there. It's a shame too, as the area just to the west, the Berkshires, is one of the most beautiful areas in MA. Additionally, Northampton, home of Smith College, is a fun little college town only a few miles north.

noonwitch
08-14-2009, 09:31 AM
People with middle class incomes and children will not move back to Detroit unless crime is seriously reduced and the schools are drastically improved. That's not going to happen unless there are more jobs for people in the area in general.

Dave Bing may turn out to be a good mayor. Things can improve quickly with good leadership-Dennis Archer's administration in the 90s is a good example of that. Crime went down, the schools got slightly better when the state took them over, and he kept the black middle class in the city.

They're filming the remake of Red Dawn here in September-I suspect they wanted an urban setting with a bombed-out look to it.

FlaGator
08-14-2009, 12:53 PM
Perhaps we should nuke them from orbit... just to be sure.

Full-Auto
08-14-2009, 01:07 PM
I've spent lots of time in Springfield and it's really bad. But the deadest city I've ever seen is Gary Indiana.

Here's a video I shot of the place last weekend. I'm planning on doing a photo shoot there and was scouting locations. I wanted to show the model where we might be going.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsxoYEBvD8c

Let's say out of 100 buildings right downtown and within 3 blocks of the City Hall, maybe 10 of them aren't boarded up.

jediab
08-14-2009, 01:15 PM
People with middle class incomes and children will not move back to Detroit unless crime is seriously reduced and the schools are drastically improved. That's not going to happen unless there are more jobs for people in the area in general.

Dave Bing may turn out to be a good mayor. Things can improve quickly with good leadership-Dennis Archer's administration in the 90s is a good example of that. Crime went down, the schools got slightly better when the state took them over, and he kept the black middle class in the city.

They're filming the remake of Red Dawn here in September-I suspect they wanted an urban setting with a bombed-out look to it.

They are remaking Red Dawn???

It could be good.

BadCat
08-14-2009, 01:17 PM
I've spent lots of time in Springfield and it's really bad. But the deadest city I've ever seen is Gary Indiana.

Here's a video I shot of the place last weekend. I'm planning on doing a photo shoot there and was scouting locations. I wanted to show the model where we might be going.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsxoYEBvD8c

Let's say out of 100 buildings right downtown and within 3 blocks of the City Hall, maybe 10 of them aren't boarded up.

How times have changed...


Gary, Indiana!
What a wonderful name,
Named for Elbert Gary of judiciary fame.
Gary, Indiana, as a Shakespeare would say,
Trips along softly on the tongue this way--
Gary, Indiana, Gary Indiana, Gary, Indiana,
Let me say it once again.
Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana,
That's the town that "knew me when."
If you'd like to have a logical explanation
How I happened on this elegant syncopation,
I will say without a moment of hesitation
There is just one place
That can light my face.
Gary, Indiana,
Gary Indiana,
Not Louisiana, Paris, France, New York, or Rome, but--
Gary, Indiana,
Gary, Indiana,
Gary Indiana,
My home sweet home.

stsinner
08-14-2009, 01:33 PM
What a sad sight to see that majestic church delapidated like that! That really is a sad town. The first thing I thought of was John Cougar singing, "I grew up in the steel mills near Gary.." Guess it was a different place then.

PoliCon
08-14-2009, 02:01 PM
maybe it's time to level these cities and move on. I don't understand why people feel that these cities need to be saved just because they exist.

Lager
08-14-2009, 02:04 PM
Our population is moving west. It's also aging as the boomers retire and move somewhere more comfortable. It's part of the ebb and flow. Cities have to be creative and reinvent themselves if they want to attract people back.

PoliCon
08-14-2009, 02:09 PM
Our population is moving west. It's also aging as the boomers retire and move somewhere more comfortable. It's part of the ebb and flow. Cities have to be creative and reinvent themselves if they want to attract people back.

Actually - it's more a matter of people moving out and the suburbanization process. People move AWAY from problems and crippling taxes. It's no secret that most suburbs have lower tax rates than the cities they surround.

Rebel Yell
08-14-2009, 02:22 PM
maybe it's time to level these cities and move on. I don't understand why people feel that these cities need to be saved just because they exist.

I never understood why New Orleans had to be rebuilt. If not for Katrina, it would be on this list. Ironically (is that right, Linda), Katrina probably saved New Orleans. Natural progression would have it around the significance of Savannah in a few years.

linda22003
08-14-2009, 02:29 PM
Do you mean is the use of "ironic" correct? Yes, that's definitely an example of irony. :)

Rebel Yell
08-14-2009, 02:31 PM
Do you mean is the use of "ironic" correct? Yes, that's definitely an example of irony. :)

I wasn't sure if it was even a word. Sounded right, but not quite right.:D

linda22003
08-14-2009, 02:36 PM
I wasn't sure if it was even a word. Sounded right, but not quite right.:D

Yes. Take as an example, Alanis Morisette's song, "Ironic". Most of the situations in it are NOT examples of irony. :)

http://www.elyrics.net/read/a/alanis-morissette-lyrics/ironic-lyrics.html

Rebel Yell
08-14-2009, 02:41 PM
Yes. Take as an example, Alanis Morisette's song, "Ironic". Most of the situations in it are NOT examples of irony. :)

http://www.elyrics.net/read/a/alanis-morissette-lyrics/ironic-lyrics.html

I knew the meaning of ironic, just wasn't sure about "ironically".

PoliCon
08-14-2009, 02:44 PM
I never understood why New Orleans had to be rebuilt. If not for Katrina, it would be on this list. Ironically (is that right, Linda), Katrina probably saved New Orleans. Natural progression would have it around the significance of Savannah in a few years.


NOLA lost it's significance when the steel belt turned to rust.

noonwitch
08-14-2009, 02:49 PM
Actually - it's more a matter of people moving out and the suburbanization process. People move AWAY from problems and crippling taxes. It's no secret that most suburbs have lower tax rates than the cities they surround.


That's why I bought a house in Warren and not in Detroit. The property taxes are half of Detroit's, plus the police come when you call them.

But I love Detroit, good and bad. There are still 800,000+ people living in Detroit, and at least 300,000 are probably children. Most are renters and have low-paying jobs (welfare in Michigan is only for those who can't work for medical or psychiatric reasons), and no real avenue to escape the city. The schools are terrible and have been for a couple of generations, at this point in time.

Yet there are some absolutely beautiful buildings in Detroit, some still intact. There is a history, beyond just that of the auto industry. It was the final stop on the Underground Railroad, and the fort on the river was an important one in the French and Indian War, and in the War of 1812.

When I was a kid in the late 60s, we visited family frequently in Detroit. I remember going to Belle Isle around 1968 or so, and riding a horse in a corral, and visiting the children's zoo that used to be there. I went to a circus at Cobo around the same time, and went to Tiger games throughout my youth. It's sad to see the decline over my lifetime, with that brief period in the 90s when things were looking up for a few years.

The old churches around the city and older suburbs are works of art, with amazing stained glass windows and real bells (not electronic bells, like in WMU's chapel). The church I was baptized in still stands, but it is empty. It's a classic Methodist church building, it was probably built in the teens or 20s. The Detroit Institute of the Arts houses a terrific collection, plus has a Diego Rivera mural that represents the Industry of the WWII era.

This weekend is the Woodward AVE Dream Cruise. I avoid it, to be honest (too much car exhaust and heat), but classic car fans flock from all over for it. Most of the cruise is in Oakland County, because Detroit has not found a way to really cash in on it. I think that shows exactly what some of the problems in Deroit are-people have not found a new way to make money since the auto slowdowns that began in the late 70s/early 80s. They can't even find a way to cash in on a big event that could easily be expanded to include the city.

But this is my city-I may not have been born and raised here, but I was baptized here and it's where God has called me to be and to work. I love it, it's the first big city I ever visited and the only I've ever lived in (Grand Rapids is now much bigger than it was in the 70s, when I was a kid). I see the old things I loved growing up (except Tiger Stadium, which is now finally down) and I can see so much potential for development and growth. I just don't see it happening without a drastic decrease in crime and a substantial improvement in the schools.

linda22003
08-14-2009, 02:53 PM
I knew the meaning of ironic, just wasn't sure about "ironically".

http://media.ebaumsworld.com/mediaFiles/picture/677709/80631334.jpg

PoliCon
08-14-2009, 02:58 PM
But this is my city-I may not have been born and raised here, but I was baptized here and it's where God has called me to be and to work. I love it . . . I know how you feel. I feel the same way about Pittsburgh. No matter where in the world I travel or how long I'm gone my heart still LEAPS when I come through the Fort Pitt tunnels and see down town. :)

linda22003
08-14-2009, 03:00 PM
my heart still LEAPS when I come through the Fort Pitt tunnels and see down town. :)

Don't you mean "dahntahn"? :p

PoliCon
08-14-2009, 03:10 PM
Don't you mean "dahntahn"? :p

admit it - it's stunning to see :) There you are driving along the highway surrounded by green and then you go through the tunnel and WHAM - you're downtown! You see the stadiums - point state park and the fountain - one of the most beautiful skylines in the world . . . station square . . . . all the bridges . . . . it's a visually stunning experience. :cool:

linda22003
08-14-2009, 03:20 PM
admit it - it's stunning to see :) There you are driving along the highway surrounded by green and then you go through the tunnel and WHAM - you're downtown! You see the stadiums - point state park and the fountain - one of the most beautiful skylines in the world . . . station square . . . . all the bridges . . . . it's a visually stunning experience. :cool:

Yes, it's great. I'm not sure why all the bridges are yellow, though. My husband is talking about maybe getting a part-time place there, to be near his extended family. We're going to see how "The Residences" look as they get closer to construction. I also like the funky Otto Milk condos in the Strip, but I think he wants the Big River View if we do it at all.

PoliCon
08-14-2009, 03:28 PM
I'm not sure why all the bridges are yellow, though.
That's easy - it's the "golden triangle."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtown_Pittsburgh

http://pghbridges.com/

linda22003
08-14-2009, 03:39 PM
"Aztec Gold" is the color? They look yellow to me. :)

Teetop
08-14-2009, 03:56 PM
I saw this article yesterday and wondered, how many of those cities are ran by democrats?

100% is my guess.

It is sad for those cities and those who have to live there. Won't they ever learn, that leadership, as far as Mayors and City Councilmen is where to start?

I know they like the "status quo".

I have lived in the liberal utopia of Minneapolis for 12 years... :rolleyes:

PoliCon
08-14-2009, 03:59 PM
"Aztec Gold" is the color? They look yellow to me. :)

:rolleyes: Well now you know why they are all 'yellow.' I prefer yellow to the mucky grey that they painted our local bridge. Of course they painted it grey because they REnamed it after the old Homestead Gray's baseball team. Of course - no one calls it that. Everyone still just calls it the High Level bridge.

This is what you used to see as you crossed the bridge -
http://www.coalcampusa.com/rustbelt/pa/homestead3.jpg

Now it's a bustling shopping area. :)

PoliCon
08-14-2009, 04:00 PM
I saw this article yesterday and wondered, how many of those cities are ran by democrats? WORSE - those cities are all controlled by big labor.

linda22003
08-14-2009, 04:11 PM
It's interesting that we're talking about Pittsburgh on a "dying cities" thread, since it's anything but. It reinvented itself when the steel industry died. It's been solidly Dem since the FDR era, at least.

PoliCon
08-14-2009, 04:46 PM
It's interesting that we're talking about Pittsburgh on a "dying cities" thread, since it's anything but. It reinvented itself when the steel industry died. It's been solidly Dem since the FDR era, at least.

But the city itself is still bleeding money and population. The current plan is to absorb all or most of Allegheny county into the city merging and making the two one and the same.

Gingersnap
08-14-2009, 11:40 PM
I think that if decaying urban centers really want to reinvent themselves, they need to pay attention to what the average working couple with kids wants and then pay attention to what the average retired couple wants. Reinventing yourself to cater to the needs of single young adults isn't a long term answer. More "art", high-end shopping, and expensive dining isn't a sustainable solution.

You need a lot of green space, safe transportation, reasonably priced retail and dining, entertainment that isn't exclusively "ironic", and foundational kinds of businesses that ordinary people frequent every week.

Rockntractor
08-14-2009, 11:50 PM
I think that if decaying urban centers really want to reinvent themselves, they need to pay attention to what the average working couple with kids wants and then pay attention to what the average retired couple wants. Reinventing yourself to cater to the needs of single young adults isn't a long term answer. More "art", high-end shopping, and expensive dining isn't a sustainable solution.

You need a lot of green space, safe transportation, reasonably priced retail and dining, entertainment that isn't exclusively "ironic", and foundational kinds of businesses that ordinary people frequent every week.
I could live anywhere if I had to but I don't understand why you would want to live in a city. This is one of the reasons I like the Internet. I can buy anything I want without fighting traffic and when I want social interaction there is my new hobby the forums. When I get tired of you guys at the end of the day I just post sleeping pig and shut off the computer and you all go away!

PoliCon
08-15-2009, 12:08 AM
I think that if decaying urban centers really want to reinvent themselves, they need to pay attention to what the average working couple with kids wants and then pay attention to what the average retired couple wants. Reinventing yourself to cater to the needs of single young adults isn't a long term answer. More "art", high-end shopping, and expensive dining isn't a sustainable solution.

You need a lot of green space, safe transportation, reasonably priced retail and dining, entertainment that isn't exclusively "ironic", and foundational kinds of businesses that ordinary people frequent every week.those things can and will come - if the city is smart enough to CUT TAXES!! Sadly all these cities do is continue to raise taxes.

Gingersnap
08-15-2009, 12:23 AM
I could live anywhere if I had to but I don't understand why you would want to live in a city. This is one of the reasons I like the Internet. I can buy anything I want without fighting traffic and when I want social interaction there is my new hobby the forums. When I get tired of you guys at the end of the day I just post sleeping pig and shut off the computer and you all go away!

I'm completely uninterested in urban living myself. I've done that. Heck, I did it in San Francisco of all places, among others. I prefer a quiet, well maintained, low crime area that is handy to state or national parks. If I really, really feel the need to attend a jazz club or a Kundalini yoga class, I'll suck it up and drive to Denver.

When people (real people) talk about "livable cities" they mean places that are welcoming, safe, have plenty of kid-related facilities, good schools, reasonably priced stores, family-friendly recreation, and clean, crime-free transportation.

They don't mean ample casino action, street hookers, drugs, gangs, ethnically volatile schools, thrift stores, 7/11 stores, or filthy buses filled with crazy drunk people.