Posted by recessivegenes on February 22, 2007
There are numerous cities and towns in the Rust Belt that need to stop deluding themselves that they will regain past glory. Cities that once had significant manufacturing bases have seen a flight by not only those who became unemployed, but also by the next generation from the families that stayed. For cities that relied heavily on the tax receipts from the local industries and their employees, this meant a drastic reduction in revenues. Lower revenue means fewer local services, fewer local services means more frustrated residents, which in turn leads to flight.
It appears that Mayor Jay Williams of Youngstown, unlike his predecessors, has come to grips with this reality. He and his planners have an ambitious plan to demolish dilapidated, vacant homes and to also to deurbanize (if that’s a word) parts of the city like Sharon Line.
Some of the decaying cities, Detroit, Gary, Flint, etc., have been loathe to demolish properties because they can have higher assessments on lots with structures. The politicians in these cities are just trying to eke out a few more dollars on all of these dead properties, but at what price? These politicians are thinking too parochially when playing this money grab game. Although New Orleans is not a rust belt city, it too needs to find out what the right size is. To determine how big it should big, New Orleans needs to figure what parts of the city are still salvageable and then develop appropriate areas. One thing that exacerbates that situation is the federal government, but that is another discussion entirely.