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UrbaniDesDev

The salvation of Western Pa's industrial towns

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I mentioned in another thread how I have become involved in my home town's plans for redevelopment. I have come across many problems they are facing.

1) they are spending millions on "tax free industrial zones" to attract outside business. This may work but most other areas have there own zones. Companies stay for the length of the tax free period then move. the residents pay for their taxes. the streets have to endure heavy truck traffic reducing the quality of life in the center of these towns. Most of these spaces are used for warehousing and employ few people.

2) My town seems to be insisting that tearing down some blighted areas will attract developers. This might have been acceptable if the town isn't already being reduced to empty lots all through its center. Some toxic brown fields others just blighted areas removed.

3) they are tearing down 2 blocks of handsome, yet extremely run down town houses to build new ones. Does this seem right? It seems to me that less would be spent for rehabing then more units could be redone.

4) there are out of town owners of major old industrial properties. They seem to be holding out, for, I don't know what. It is to the point that the state is refusing anymore money to them. They have been offered many different, lucrative offers and have refused them, even naming a large park after them. Now the town is left with developing around this massive hulking deteriorating mill.

5) The people in power here seem beset in their developments even tho there have been many examples of the same type of things failing in other communities around here

I write this out of frustration. I hope that some of you have some stories, suggestions or other examples of what is happening in other towns. This may be one of the largest problems in this region as these small, fragmented communities deal with major redevelopment problems.

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I don't think that all old building are worth preserving. Some are just simply too dilapitaded to save. So if their is no historic or artistic value, they should not be saved. New development attracts new people. Building can be built in the older style that they are replacing. There is nothing wrong with updating. Some of these towns are just so run down and depressing that you can't blame people for wanting to leave. The old people can't keep up with the type of work that is needed in maintaining an older home. If some of these places were simply painted on the outside, cleaned up, and flower boxes added, etc it would make a huge difference in the way the community is percieved.

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