Saturday, April 04, 2009

Can St. Louis Save Cleveland?

No one better ruffles the feathers in Cleveland than Ed Morrison. Today, he fires a shot across the bow of Cleveland+ (something I've been known to do). The lesson for Northeast Ohio comes from St. Louis:

The St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association is piggybacking on the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s schedule of performances tonight and tomorrow night at Carnegie Hall in NYC to let New Yorkers know what the Gateway city has to offer. Along with the symphony’s director, David Robertson, the RCGA is hosting a pre-concert reception Saturday evening at Carnegie Hall. Earlier in the week, members of the RCGA economic development team visited with New York-based national site selection executives and other economic development prospects. Several of the New York-based expansion and relocation prospects will be guests at the RCGA’s reception and at Saturday evening’s symphony performance.

Robertson and his wife, pianist Orli Shaham, have been in a national radio ad linking the regional brand, “St. Louis: Perfectly Centered and Remarkably Connected,” to the Carnegie Hall event. The ad has aired for several months on CNN, MSNBC and ESPN, and has run as a full-page ad in “Chief Executive” magazine. Robertson and Shaham focus in the spot on how impressed they are with the St. Louis region’s outstanding quality of life attributes.

The talent game is one of attraction, not plugging the brain drain. Thus, I approve of the St. Louis initiative but have only contempt for the wasteful stunt to subsidize home ownership for those who will graduate from Ohio universities and colleges. I also disparage the Cleveland+ approach that focuses on talent retention.

Lest you think I'm just picking on Cleveland, from Pittsburgh:

The program is designed to provide small entrepreneurs with a loan of up to $200,000. The loan could be used for everything from working capital to buying or developing property and comes at a time when a tight lending climate has made it difficult for many businesses to get traditional bank loans.

Pittsburgh has long been struggling to increase job opportunities and retain its population, which has been continually declining since the steel mills shutdown. Though the city appears to be faring well in the recession, it must take steps aimed at keeping people in Pittsburgh, Ravenstahl said.

"There is a lot of good, young talent here in Pittsburgh," Ravenstahl said. "A small loan or grant can make a difference."

Pittsburgh has long been struggling to increase job opportunities and attract newcomers. Ravenstahl is either a fool or a liar (perhaps both). His backward thinking is a serious drag on Pittsburgh growth. That's perhaps the best thing that Pittsburgh could teach Cleveland.

1 comment:

anmihail said...

Drew Carey can't even save Cleveland now