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Micropolitan Statistical Areas in Ohio

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Micropolitan Statistical Areas in Ohio

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  • #87048
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    This past weekend, we drove through Chillicothe, which I’ve not spent a lot of time in, but have come to appreciate its interesting Downtown… which has a large number of historic buildings, but sadly, like many other cities, is also fairly vacant due to suburban sprawl shifting growth away from the core of the city.

    Anyway, it got me thinking about cities in Ohio like Chillicothe that are far enough removed from the major Metro areas, but are still somewhat large and significant on their own. Turns out there’s a term for this:

    Micropolitan Statistical Area

    According to Wikipedia, Ohio is home to 28 Micropolitan Statistical Areas that include the following cities:

    • Wooster

    • East Liverpool-Salem

    • Ashtabula

    • New Philadelphia-Dover

    • Zanesville

    • Portsmouth

    • Chillicothe

    • Findlay

    • Marion

    • Athens

    • Fremont

    • Norwalk

    • Mount Vernon

    • Tiffin

    • Ashland

    • Greenville

    • Sidney

    • Wapakoneta

    • Bellefontaine

    • Bucyrus

    • Wilmington

    • Celina

    • Cambridge

    • Urbana

    • Defiance

    • Coshocton

    • Van Wert

    • Washington Court House

    We regularly discuss what’s going on in Ohio’s larger metropolitan areas, but these smaller cities are each interesting as well. Some are college towns. Others are home to specific corporations or industries (past or present) while others were important crossroads of rail lines, canals or other trade routes when Ohio was first being settled. What should the future hold for these cities in Ohio? Which of these cities could play a collaborative role with Columbus and Central Ohio? Which cities are your favorites for visiting or festivals or other reasons?

    Lots of great photos of these cities on Urban Ohio:

    http://www.urbanohio.com/gallery/?p=gallery

    #449178
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Walker said:
    This past weekend, we drove through Chillicothe, which I’ve not spent a lot of time in, but have come to appreciate its interesting Downtown… which has a large number of historic buildings, but sadly, like many other cities, is also fairly vacant due to suburban sprawl shifting growth away from the core of the city.

    Update: Drove through Bucyrus and Bellevue about two weekends ago to see somewhat similar situations. Beautiful historic Downtowns that nearly sit empty. :(

    http://urbanohio.com/gallery/index.php?album=Northwest%20Ohio/Bucyrus

    http://urbanohio.com/gallery/index.php?album=Northwest%20Ohio/Bellevue

    #449179
    Jason Powell
    Jason Powell
    Participant

    Zanesville, which is where I was born, has a HUGE downtown compared with most of the towns/cities mentioned above. Most buildings seem to be occupied with a large antique and pottery presence. They’ve also done some extensive streetscaping throughout the past 5 years and added some senior housing and apartments. I’ve also heard of some artists studios occupying lofts. There are plans for “Potter’s Alley”, which is a mini-Easton type development (and I mean mini) down by the river, which if built, could help connect a now disconnected riverfront park system from the rest of downtown.

    All of that being said, it’s still hard to create any additional momentum when the economy there is so stagnant and the population has been almost cut in half from a peak of around 40,000 in the 50’s. Sadly, with a heavy industrial base and supporting retail, I don’t see things getting much better in the near future for my hometown. The lack of variety in entertainment, shopping and non-chain dining, Jeni’s ice cream and overall small town mindset doesn’t help the situation either.

    #449180

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    Many small Ohio towns really do have some amazing buildings in old downtowns, especially in the county seats. It just seems like there’s generally very little reason for anyone who isn’t from these places to move there though. There aren’t that many jobs, so there’s little growth and development.

    ETA – I think the best hope for some of these places is to make commuting to one of the state’s bigger cities faster and easier (i.e., commuter rail). That would help places like Chillicothe, Newark, and Marysville anyway. Given the sad state of Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo, I’m not sure how much a rail connection there really helps on the development end. Places like Bellevue or Bucyrus that aren’t especially close to any major cities are probably screwed.

    #449181
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    johnwirtz said:
    There aren’t that many jobs, so there’s little growth and development.

    Seems like, then, a business / job friendly environment is a prerequisite for any sort of development.

    #449182

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    rus said:
    Seems like, then, a business / job friendly environment is a prerequisite for any sort of development.

    Almost any development. There’s always Wal-Mart.

    Otherwise, I’d agree that job growth is critical to redevelopment. I’m not sure how much a “business/job friendly environment” contributes to job growth though. I think it depends on your economic development strategy. I’m thinking on the fly here, but I see several strategies:

    1. Attract businesses by being low cost – This requires the “business friendly environment.” To me, this is exemplified by the huge tax breaks offered to lure a new factory or retain an existing factory. There’s a lot of competition here, both domestically and internationally. I think it’s very hard to win this game, but someone has to win. It’s most often China, but occasionally the US gets a new car factory or something in Alabama or Greensburg, IN.

    2. Attract people and businesses follow – This is kind of the Richard Florida Creative Class model. Focus on quality design and the things that creative and talented people want, and businesses have to locate there to employ the talent. This seems to be what global cities like NYC, Chicago, and SF do, but I think smaller places like Portland and Austin have done it too whether intentionally or not. I think Columbus is well-positioned to be the talent hub of Ohio and can follow this model and I don’t think “business friendly” matters as much in this strategy.

    3. Find a niche – Charlotte seems to be a good example of this. Somehow, they established themselves as a financial center second only to NYC. Vegas has gambling. Miami has connections to the Caribbean and South America. Countless places are reliant on tourism. Apparently Zanesville has antiques. Detroit is a good example of how this model can go bad though. Once its niche (cars) left for the low cost model, so did the people.

    4. Grow new businesses from scratch – This involves ending the corporate blackmail game outlined in #1 and promoting small businesses. Youngstown[/url] and Cleveland are venturing down this path, but I think it takes decades to see huge results. Minneapolis has taken a different, but similar approach, where they share regional tax revenue, and don’t have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars worrying that Target or 3M will move within the region.

    #449183

    DavidF
    Participant

    When I get some time, I’ll try to take and post some pictures from downtown Chillicothe. I’ve actually been impressed at how vibrant at least a couple of the downtown streets are. You have to get off Main street and bridge street to see them though. It’s a huge improvement over the Chillicothe I remember from 20 years back.

    #449184
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    rus said:
    Seems like, then, a business / job friendly environment is a prerequisite for any sort of development.

    Most of these areas have seen overall population declines over the past 50 years in addition to their suburbanization. Which does mean that an influx of new residents is needed for redevelopment, and I agree with John that new residents aren’t going to rush into these areas without jobs waiting for them.

    On the upside, the addition of just one business with a few hundred decent jobs would be a HUGE boom in most of these areas, so it wouldn’t take much to move the needle. They don’t necessarily need their own Chase or Limited or Nationwide.

    #449185

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    DavidF said:
    When I get some time, I’ll try to take and post some pictures from downtown Chillicothe. I’ve actually been impressed at how vibrant at least a couple of the downtown streets are. You have to get off Main street and bridge street to see them though. It’s a huge improvement over the Chillicothe I remember from 20 years back.

    I would think being able to get to more jobs near Rickenbacker in a reasonable commute time has helped.

    #449186

    DiscoverOhio
    Member

    We’re a little biased (o.k., maybe a lot), but Ohio has some pretty awesome Micropolitan Statistical Areas to balance out the state’s big cities and incredible natural areas. And there is an amazing place where you can see more than 10,500 photos of Ohio, including some of those MSA destinations.

    Our Discover Ohio Travel Flickr Group[/url] has just over 400 members (and growing) who love to share amazing sites from all around the state. Check it out, and add your own if you’d like!

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