Friday, February 02, 2007

Riposting the Posts

I'd like to take a bit of time this morning to discuss some of the feedback I've received on Brewed Fresh Daily. Having seen various "I'm leaving Cleveland" articles over the past few years, I've been curious to see what kind of response I would get. I'm flattered that BFD noticed and linked to my post, and people have posted a lot of insightful comments to which I'm eager to respond.

(A bit of background, in case you missed my previous post: After 5 years in Cleveland, my fiancee and I are moving to Minneapolis in a few weeks. The decision is based, in part, on some of Cleveland's deficits and, in turn, Minneapolis' assets).

  • Jay-c reminds us all that it's important to focus on choosing a place that makes you happy. Hard to argue with that! He also points out that Cleveland, like any city, is an "unfinished product." That metaphor sums it up nicely: let's all remember that cities constantly evolve and change.

  • Phil Lane correctly points out that Minnesota is becoming a market leader in bio-fuel development. This is exactly the sort of progressive, smart growth perspective that attracts me to that state. Of course, I'm perfectly aware that there is definite progress in Ohio as well: fuel cell research in NE Ohio, as well as wind farm development looming ahead. I hope that both those projects move forward, since we'll all benefit from such developments.

  • Adam Harvey doesn't like my negative attitude. Ah well, what can I say? I'm focused on potentials: what Cleveland can become. In order to carry out that analysis, you have to be willing to take a hard look at reality. Also, if you want to see some "positive" posts, check out Repurposing Space and Cleveland Booster Edition.

  • Ben has some good points that we should recognize: He notes that both Target and Best Buy, though headquartered in the Twin Cities region, are not actually located in either of the cities themselves. This is indeed a problem facing many metropolitan areas: suburban corporate campuses (think Progressive). Suburbs offer competitive tax incentives and face few legacy costs (think demolition) when pitching offers to potential corporate tenants. We need a long-term solution to this! He also notes that the medical device field is actually pretty strong in our region. He's right--but I should point out that there are several strong regional markets for medical devices, including Minneapolis (also California and MIT). Lastly, Ben talks a bit about public spaces and why he think Little Italy qualifies. I'll address this issue in more detail in tomorrow's post--there's a lot to be said on the subject and I'd like to devote a full post to it.

  • Gloria Ferris doesn't like my negativity. Like I said, I don't see it as negativity--I see it as honest criticism that should be debated. I'm happy to hear your counter-arguments and listen to them.

  • Phil Lane brings up the under-reported problem of a lack of skilled labor in the region. I've only heard rumblings on the issue, so maybe Phil could fill (pun intended) us in on the details...?

  • Christine very thoughtfully reflects on her goals in leaving Cleveland and, I imagine, why she might return some day. She talks about "creative projects", and though I don't actually know what they are it's clear she has a lot going on in her life to which she's dedicated. She wants stable work, but not necessarily demanding, wake-you-up-at-2am work. It would appear, then, that Cleveland is well-equipped to provide her with that. As the earlier poster noted, being happy is the most important concern when selecting a place to live.

  • The OC thinks I'm myopic and misinformed, especially on Crocker Park. I'll try to discuss Crocker Park more thoroughly in my next post.


Blogger Frank A. Mills said...

You will be missed Stephen, but I am right behind you, heading off to the Baltimore-Washington area later this year.

I think the complaints about our negativity is part of Cleveland's "Ostrich Syndrome." I wish Cleveland the best, although I think it will take radical surgery to heal the city; something, so far, that no one is willing to do, or even seriously talk about. And if you do, you are labeled as negative.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Best of luck with your relocation. In regards to your decision, you have to go where you are happy. No one can be forced to like Cleveland or any other place for that matter. It's a feeling.

Economy - you've got me there. It's poor right now and doesn't appear to be on the upswing

Public Space - by your definition, Cleveland does not have this, and I really don't think Crocker Park is a good example - it is still at it's core a mall with surface parking lots all around it. As I define Public Space (open area that can be used by all) Cleveland is hard to beat - there is no better system in the country than the Cleveland Metroparks. My personal other favorites: Huntington Beach, Edgewater for sunsets, Wade Oval here in the circle, Lake View Cemetary.

Planning - yes we're backwards but working on it. You have to admit that you see progress. I know that those who stay (like me for now) are going to make this a fantastic place and if you are given a job opportunity you will be dying to come back home.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Tara said...

Jeff's points are very interesting. Technically, parks are public space and Cleveland (and its surrounding region) is among the best when it comes to it. (This aspect of Cleveland is what I will miss most of all.) However, the term "public space" is squishy because it is defined by how it is used. A park CAN be used by lots all people, but whether it is or not is another matter. The parks you listed, for the most part, meet this criteria. Unfortunately, there are no neighborhoods that do as much as Crocker Park.

Unlike most malls, people do stroll around, sit and chat, play chess in the center park area, attend art shows and farmers markets.. some even live there! While many Clevelanders want to shun the idea of Crocker Park altogether (I am sympathetic), they should instead see this as a good sign: Give people an area where they can comfortably gather with other humans, they will. The positive reaction to this is to see what is attracting people and figure out what can be applied to Cleveland's neighborhoods. Though I made poked fun at it on Brewed Fresh Daily, one poster had a great, easy definition for a non-park public space: "... ‘public space’ [is] where you can see a film, walk around, people watch, buy books, and get dinner within a fairly short walk." Let's get some places like this in the city of Cleveland and, indeed, Steve and I may be clammoring to get back to Ohio's north shore. For now, it is time to give the Twin Cities a go...

3:45 PM  

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