Two Rustbelt Cities Take Similar Tacks to Future Planning

Erie, Pennsylvania and Canton, Ohio have faced the challenges of shrinking populations and fewer job prospects, but new comprehensive plans in each city may provide a pathway to resurgence

May 6, 2016, 11:00 AM PDT

By jwilliams @jwillia22

Canton Mellett Mall

Nicholas Eckhart / Flickr

With many Rustbelt cities still reeling from ongoing job losses, blight and a shrinking population, Erie, PA and Canton, OH have taken new steps toward turning around their flagging fortunes. Writing in The Repositiory (, Mathew Rink sees parallels in the two cities’ recently adopted comprehensive plans. Speaking to the author of the two comprehensive plans Charles Buki, Rink finds that both cities will use a combination of public and private resources to invest in their downtowns, blighted areas, and to attempt to resize or "right-size" themselves through demolition of vacant homes. However, much of the heavy lifting will be left to private industry.

"If either city is going to make it into the end zone," Buki said. "It's going to be on the backs of the private sector." What's clear, he says, is that neither city will advance to a place of prosperity if antipathy stands between residents and political power brokers at City Hall.

Sunday, April 24, 2016 in The Canton Repository

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