Fellow blogger Louis Yuhasz recently e-mailed me to let me know that he appreciated my interest in Youngstown. I have it on good authority that the residents of Youngstown feel that their Pittsburgh neighbors ignore them. An emerging relationship between the two cities concerns the economic boom in Cranberry and the inexpensive city living in Youngstown. Instead of living in the relatively tax encumbered City of Pittsburgh and commuting to a job in Cranberry, Mr. Yuhasz takes advantage of some savings with a home in Youngstown.
Actually, I'm not sure that Mr. Yuhasz lives right downtown, but there are some benefits for choosing Youngstown as a bedroom community for the northern reaches of Pittsburgh's suburbs. Once Westinghouse settles into its new campus, I would predict the emergence of some opportunities for the champion of the shrinking cities movement.
I appreciate a perspective of the region beyond the usual Pittsburgh-centric approach. As high wage employment continues its concentration in the northern suburbs, Youngstown's prospects should dramatically improve. How does the Youngstown 2010 vision incorporate this development going on next door in Pennsylvania?
Youngstown does not appear to have a strategy to exploit the Cranberry boom. I figure that the growth in Cranberry is viewed as a threat to the future vitality of downtown Youngstown. Pittsburgh views suburban sprawl with a similar disdain. While Youngstown employs a policy innovation in its embrace of a declining population, the city fails to understand perceived regional liabilities as assets.