Wednesday, December 27, 2006

youngstown in USA TODAY's cover story

You know, a cool thing about being a blog is the ability to be quick and nimble, and to get the news to the public in a much quicker fashion than other media outlets.

The cover story in today's USA TODAY is about creative shrinkage in cities. Youngstown has a role in the article.

Youngstown, Ohio, is an exception. It has fully embraced its shrinkage. The population, now about 83,000, is less than half what it was when the steel industry collapsed in the 1970s.

"You look at the facts and come up with solutions," chief planner Anthony Kobak says. "The first step the city has come to terms with is being a small city."

Youngstown approved a 2010 plan. The goal: "A safe, clean, enjoyable, sustainable, attractive city," Kobak says.

The city long was better known for gritty steel mills than green space. Now that the mills are gone, there is plenty of space. With the help of a grant, Youngstown preserved 260 acres. It's targeting neighborhoods and redesigning them with the help of residents who stayed.

The city may let homeowners buy abandoned lots next door to create gardens. It's considering relaxing zoning rules to allow small horse farms or apple orchards. It's offering incentives for people to move out of abandoned areas.

"If you had three or four square blocks that at one time had 40 homes per block and now have maybe five homes total, we could relocate those people across the street and convert the vacant area into a large city park," Kobak says.Residents would live be living across from a park rather than being surrounded by decrepit homes and lots overgrown with weeds.

click here for the entire USA TODAY article.

click here to see how other bloggers have covered this topic.

click here for the webpage for the Youngstown 2010 program

+2 kudos to Anthony Kobak for making it big-time

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