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Ohio’s big cities trying to reinvent themselves

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The Dispatch wrote Can Ohio’s big cities be saved?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

BY MARK NIQUETTE, ALAN JOHNSON AND JOE HALLETT

Today, most of Ohio’s seven largest cities are teetering.

With the exception of Columbus, they have shed more than one-third of their population and watched as income, home values and other economic indicators dropped below national averages while poverty, job losses, crime and foreclosures skyrocketed.

Some residents who fled the decline and struggling school systems for the suburbs or rapidly growing townships say they don’t need Ohio’s dying big cities anymore, except for an occasional ball game or museum visit.

But experts warn that Ohio is ignoring the urban plight at its own peril. They say that today’s inner-city problems are spreading to the suburbs, as a rotten core eventually makes the whole apple bad.

“Education and job issues don’t stop at city borders. Crime doesn’t stop at the borders of the city. The notion that suburbanites and exurbanites can continue to insulate themselves from the problems of the cities is lunacy. ‘Them’ and ‘us’ isn’t working anymore. Them is us.”

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