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We're no Cleveland, but still ...


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Compared to even there, GR is firmly stuck in the slow-lane. So many moth-balled projects, false starts, retail bailing on DT or not even showing up, almost every little apartment project is either for low-income or is fought tooth and nail by "neighborhood organizations".


Thank goodness for Arena South, and the market or else there wouldn't be much to brag about right now.

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It's encouraging to see what's going on there.  Sure, it's happening elsewhere, but I tend to identify this city a bit more closely with GR than others.


Don't let all of those downtown Cleveland projects fool you. That city is in really rough shape. Without really changing any of its city boundaries, its population peaked in 1950 at 914,000. Today, get this, it's estimated at 390,000 (latest census estimate, 2010 it was at 396,000 and still falling). Toledo is very much the same rate of decline. Many of the industries that drove growth in those Lake Erie cities is gone (steel, glass, shipping).


Even its metro area (the burbs) is losing people. It peaked back in 1970 at 2.3 Million people and is now around 2.06 Milllion. That's a drop of nearly 240,000 people. I think Cleveland and Detroit might be the few metro areas to hold the distinction of a declining suburban and city population.


Where they get the funding to support their downtown projects is beyond me.


Grand Rapids may have its problems with poverty in a lot of its neighborhoods, but its crime rate is relatively low compared to peer cities, and it is growing again after dipping a bit in population in the last census. Job and population growth in the GR metro area are some of the healthiest levels of any region in the Midwest/Great Lakes area.


So yes, we are no Cleveland. We are much better positioned than Cleveland.






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