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KJP

Is rural Ohio dying?

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10 hours ago, audidave said:

 I’ve been biking the towpath and completed it to Bolivar.  All the towns seem to be in decent shape that I’ve been to. I think it definitely helps having good micro and nano breweries in many of these towns. I’d even say that a sign of a healthy town is that it has a brewery. 

 

Canal Fulton is on that route, but its growth and health is definitely is driven by Akron/Canton/Jackson Township sprawl. The towpath trail though has also helped tremendously at putting it on the map. I have a friend that owns the Canal Boat lounge on the towpath, her and her husband get tons of business from the trail...they love Ralph Regula (despite being blue blood dems). To the west and south of there is mostly Amish country small towns, which seems to create a healthy micro economy of its own (kind of like Mexican enclaves in Chicago do). 

 

11 hours ago, Gnoraa said:

I grew up in Western Ohio in Mercer County.  Mercer County continues to hold a healthy unemployment rate anywhere from 2.6% - 2.9% depending on the monthly reports.

 

I have been visiting my folks at a lake for 4th of july near Mt Gilead for a few years now. From Chicago, I have been taking Route 30 instead of the Turnpike for the last 3 years, and taken a few detours to explore nearby towns in NW Ohio. Some of those small towns don't seem that bad off, like Van Wert, Bucyrus, Galion. I was surprised. Lima and Mansfield however seem too small to attract jobs and too big to be cute and quaint and are pretty rough.

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I actually think downtown Mansfield is kinda nice... cool public square area... and has some potential. It's definitely rough though. 

Edited by mu2010

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Ohio's been in the shitter for a while, that's not news.  But this map says Buffalo is "more vital" than Houston or Miami.

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The state highways like 33 and 32 are basically interstate-quality, and enable people from rural Southeast Ohio to commute to and from Columbus or Cincinnati each day.  The Lancaster and Nelsonville bypasses were pretty huge improvements.  It's only an hour drive now from Athens to DT Columbus, which is similar to the drive time from Miami U to DT Cincinnati, which nobody previously thought as being remote in the way that Athens is known for being remote. 

 

Also, the rail line from Athens to Columbus is now barely used thanks to the collapse of coal as is the line from Portsmouth to Cincinnati.  Each could have a pair of state-operated passenger trains on them making laps all day long. 

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16 hours ago, 327 said:

Ohio's been in the shitter for a while, that's not news.  But this map says Buffalo is "more vital" than Houston or Miami.

 

No, it's change in vitality. It says Buffalo basically stayed the same and Houston and Miami went down. But they could both still be higher than Miami. No way to say without looking at the raw data. 

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The map certainly illustrates how much money is being sucked into Silicon Valley and the PNW from people giving all of their money to the internet rather than spending it in their communities.

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The internet snuck up on the government. They were very slow to enforce state sales taxes and/or come up with a new way to tax sales.  For example, they could have slapped a $10 flat fee on each shipment that would have been returned to the county where the order was placed.  If a multi-item order from Amazon, et al, was filled from multiple shipping locations, the fee would be applied to each item delivered. 

 

Everyone thought It was so great when the internet escaped utility-like regulation back in the 90s, but be careful what you wish for. 

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I wouldn't say it snuck up, I think it arrived at a time when taxes were out of vogue and both parties were unwilling to pursue the issue.

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Nobody that had a voice in the mainstream media of the '90s and early 2000s could see or was willing to talk about any possible downsides of the internet except maybe obesity and poor socialization.

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I remember ordering thousands of dollars worth of photo equipment in the late 90s and paying zero sales tax.  Local shops couldn't hope to compete. 

 

I remember when online ordering began for B&H Camera in New York circa 1997, you simply emailed them your credit card number and expiration date.  You didn't even have the option to email them the first eight digits and text them the second eight because text messaging didn't exist yet. 

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Just now, Robuu said:

^ That's insane. Email is so insecure.

 

There was no autofill form or anything.  It was like, the catalog told you to email Chuck in shipping the numbers out of the catalog with your choice of shipping via UPS or USPS, then he sent you a total, and then you emailed him your cc# and the expiration date.  The package showed up 3-4 days later, unless there was a Jewish holiday. 

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Crown Equipment plans massive local expansion, hundreds of new jobs expected

 

Still a strong believer that at least in the case of western Ohio, hard working rural communities surely are not "dying".  563 jobs in Auglaize County is like 5,000+ in one of our 3-C city's......IMO at least.

 

https://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/news/2018/10/29/crown-equipment-plans-massive-localexpansion.html?fbclid=IwAR2SSywhP6182gme08DAecPz98p3vBJDIrwC1dx6SA0y4vK1V6meEL_SxGw

Crown Expansion Article.jpg

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On 10/12/2018 at 2:30 PM, KJP said:

 

That's actually somewhat routine. That's one of the extremities of the Metro North Commuter rail district. Just across the river, there's multiple daily commuter buses from New Paltz (site of SUNY campus) to NYC. And then there's the commuter buses from Scranton, PA to NYC....

 

While I don't see the extent of that happening anytime soon, consider these two maps I made nine years ago, comparing Ohio's bus and Amtrak network from 1979 to 2009. Most of the loss of the intercity bus network came as a result of bus de-regulation in 1980, urban sprawl and decline of small town populations. Today, most of the remaining intercity bus services run as expresses between medium/large cities, and even then the frequency of service is much less. While other states experienced similar losses in Greyhound, Trailways, etc. bus services, most larger states like New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and others subsidize rural intercity bus services to a far greater degree than Ohio does. Ohio's subsidized rural bus service is now called GoBus: https://ridegobus.com/

ohio public transit map 1979m.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Where was the train station in Columbus by 1979?

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9 hours ago, GCrites80s said:

 

 

 

 

Where was the train station in Columbus by 1979?

 

It was 1977. But after Union Station was closed and demolished, Amtrak continued serving Columbus until Sept. 30, 1979 using a modular station building at Fourth and Goodale. More:

http://www.columbusrailroads.com/Amtrak.htm

gg%20amtrak-1-1200.jpg

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Until 1985. It became a police precinct headquarters but was demolished for a higway interchange.

Edited by KJP

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And like Cincinnati's River Road station, Amtrak  put it in a location where Columbus' only trains had to back in-and-out of it each night to serve it. At least in Cincinnati, its station was built on a route in which half of its trains didn't initially have to make reversing moves to serve it.

Edited by KJP

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It started after World War II, when rural people came to the cities to work in the war industries.  

 

That's where  the suburbs came from.   Once the war was over, they wanted what they considered to be the best of both worlds.

 

And they had the numbers, clout, and skills to make it happen.

 

 

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About a month late to contributing to this conversation, but it's worth jumping in as I'm interested in the general health of rural Ohio.

I was born and went to high school in Wilmington, Ohio and grew up 20 miles south in the tiny (but historically mighty) village of St. Martin in Brown County. Parents taught at schools in both Fayetteville and Wilmington and I grew up sort of claiming a large swath of Clermont, Brown, Clinton, and Highland Counties the "community I was raised in". 

 

That introduction aside, I can't disagree that drugs are playing a role in life there. Many people who had labor intensive jobs getting addicted to pain pills and ramping up from there and blah blah blah yes, read Hillbilly Elegy. It does give good insight to what seems to be happening out in the sticks of Ohio. I'll share my perspective, which isn't as drug laced and more positive.

 

Wilmington losing DHL was a gigantic blow to the region. 15,000 jobs gone/sent to Erlanger is, as some news report at the time "the economic equivalent of Hurricane Katrina without any of the physical damage." This didn't really reflect with a gigantic population loss as I think people in this area are fiercely committed to the land they are "from" which can be seen in this awesome map from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/09/19/upshot/facebook-county-friendships.html That commitment perseveres through good times and bad as if it were a covenant for the non-college bound resident (or the college-bound resident who attends Wilmington College).  Considering the bad times, which really started to hit in 2008 on the heels of DHL's departure from the city, what was the city's reaction? 

 

Well, what started with two young people who were starting their Peace Corp service, realizing their hometown had just been hit by a disaster, returning to the city to start an economic/development think tank, morphing it into one of the early Buy Local movements of the late 00's, and getting draft beer at the General Denver (Wilmington's version of the Golden Lamb) has turned into a bit of a revival of the town in a new economic age. Not to suggest that things are going as good as they were in 2007 when there was zero vacancy in the historic downtown core and the city was preparing to expand their street grid by over 100 acres, but there is an air of positivity, at least among the people who are working on "saving" the town.

 

What does this positivity look like? The metric I'll use is engagement of youth. As of 2017, the Wilmington City Council is majority millennial. https://www.wnewsj.com/news/59008/millennials-step-up-city-looks-to-next-generation-of-leaders Is this a useful metric? I don't know... but it is something other than drug overdose deaths and population.

 

 

Edited by Chas Wiederhold
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2 hours ago, Chas Wiederhold said:

About a month late to contributing to this conversation, but it's worth jumping in as I'm interested in the general health of rural Ohio.

I was born and went to high school in Wilmington, Ohio and grew up 20 miles south in the tiny (but historically mighty) village of St. Martin in Brown County. Parents taught at schools in both Fayetteville and Wilmington and I grew up sort of claiming a large swath of Clermont, Brown, Clinton, and Highland Counties the "community I was raised in". 

 

That introduction aside, I can't disagree that drugs are playing a role in life there. Many people who had labor intensive jobs getting addicted to pain pills and ramping up from there and blah blah blah yes, read Hillbilly Elegy. It does give good insight to what seems to be happening out in the sticks of Ohio. I'll share my perspective, which isn't as drug laced and more positive.

 

Wilmington losing DHL was a gigantic blow to the region. 15,000 jobs gone/sent to Erlanger is, as some news report at the time "the economic equivalent of Hurricane Katrina without any of the physical damage." This didn't really reflect with a gigantic population loss as I think people in this area are fiercely committed to the land they are "from" which can be seen in this awesome map from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/09/19/upshot/facebook-county-friendships.html That commitment perseveres through good times and bad as if it were a covenant for the non-college bound resident (or the college-bound resident who attends Wilmington College).  Considering the bad times, which really started to hit in 2008 on the heels of DHL's departure from the city, what was the city's reaction? 

 

Well, what started with two young people who were starting their Peace Corp service, realizing their hometown had just been hit by a disaster, returning to the city to start an economic/development think tank, morphing it into one of the early Buy Local movements of the late 00's, and getting draft beer at the General Denver (Wilmington's version of the Golden Lamb) has turned into a bit of a revival of the town in a new economic age. Not to suggest that things are going as good as they were in 2007 when there was zero vacancy in the historic downtown core and the city was preparing to expand their street grid by over 100 acres, but there is an air of positivity, at least among the people who are working on "saving" the town.

 

What does this positivity look like? The metric I'll use is engagement of youth. As of 2017, the Wilmington City Council is majority millennial. https://www.wnewsj.com/news/59008/millennials-step-up-city-looks-to-next-generation-of-leaders Is this a useful metric? I don't know... but it is something other than drug overdose deaths and population.

 

 

 

I appreciate your insights. How long was DHL even in Wilmington, though? Weren't they there just a few years before coming back to CVG? When they did come to Wilmington, did the city see a big rise in new housing construction, or did more people simply make the long commute? I went to grade school with a couple kids who lived in Wilmington, which I thought was absolutely incredible, but I guess demonstrates that the distance isn't seen as being so huge for some people.

 

I don't think rural Ohio is fated to die, and I can think of a few examples of small towns in the region that are very successful. Yellow Springs and Madison, Indiana immediately come to mind. Yellow Springs is progressive and surprisingly urbane for being such a small town. Madison is very well preserved, and has a charming historic town center with an active Main Street. Both have fantastic state parks nearby, which these towns tout very well. The success of these towns tells me that in order for rural areas/small towns to be successful in 2018, they have to distinguish themselves and carve a niche out that is appealing to people. Your average small town is hopelessly conservative, with a Walmart built at the edge of town that has largely killed the traditional business district. Historic buildings are torn down and replaced with parking lots, and the towns cease to possess whatever charm they once had. The average small town can't do much to lure a big company in, or radically change the local economy. They can, however, work to institute Main Street type programs downtown. Encourage small businesses to open and encourage entrepreneurship among the local populace. Embrace new blood and new ideas. Welcome everyone. Program public spaces in the town centers. Preserve and enhance the natural beauty that surrounds the towns. If more rural communities acted like Yellow Springs or Madison, I think more young people would be inclined to stay and invest in their futures. Just my 2 cents.

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I don't think that they were there for more than five years.  DHL at CVG burns through thousands of employees per year.  Their turnover rate is 300%.  They have about 900 people show up every night at 11pm and they work until 8am.  It's a rough job.  I know about five people who have worked down there.  Most only tolerate it for a few months. 

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1 hour ago, GCrites80s said:

That kind of work is ALWAYS available because it sucks. Most people would rather cut their income in half rather than put up with it.

 

 

What's crazy is to think if DHL hadn't moved back to CVG, Cincinnati might not have gotten the Prime Air Hub.  Hard to imagine DHL's fleet of 28 jets being joined by Amazon's 100 in tiny Wilmington. 

 

DHL does one flight per day to and from each U.S. airport.  In ten years Amazon's going to be doing 2 shipments per day between Cincinnati and most other U.S. and Canadian cities.  Maybe 3 jets per day to and from LA and New York. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What it is important to note about the economic tragedy of DHL is that the Airpark has been an important part of the economy in Wilmington for almost (9/10ths) a century. The Airpark was the Clinton County Air Force Base before it was used industrially. The Air Force got their start there in 1929. It was decommissioned in 1972 and the Airpark became home to Midwest Air, which merged with Airborne Express in 1980 and then merged with DHL to form ABX Air in 2003. If you understand the story this way, you can see that DHL did not just get into their groove in 2003 and hire enough people to create 15,000 jobs within a rural economy. They sort of hosted themselves within an American company, became their largest customer, and then took their business elsewhere leaving the shell of Airborne Express without any customers or prospects. I don't have a chart of how many people since 1929 were working at the Airpark, but I can say, anecdotally,  that many multi-generation Wilmington families, some working multiple generations for the Airpark, lost their good paying jobs in 2008. This was not just a sorting center. It was/is a logistics and fleet maintenance hub.

 

As I understand it from others, the facility has been reconsidered to purposefully NOT accept a large company and turn Wilmington into a "company town" again. That's an economic gamble, too, however the thought process in the aforementioned millennial uprising that tends toward localism being: Wilmington does not want to be a gigantic city. It wants to be a great city. And if that means filling up the air park with dozens of small businesses instead of one large business, thereby increasing the likelihood of local dollars staying local and lower impact when a business leaves, then it is a gamble worth taking.

And to comment about a rush of homebuilding or business building as a result of the Airpark's robust economic presence in the city, just look at the city grid. You can see that it has had a development in most major urban typological growths. The DHL announcement killed a major development project (for "tiny" Wilmington as Meck says) called "Marine Meadows" which was a 100 acre housing development on the northeast corner of town which would have kept anywhere from 400-800 people in the city, rather than bussing them in from surrounding communities.

Edited by Chas Wiederhold

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And on Amazon and their relationship to the region. If the Amazon Prime Hub didn't go to CVG it would have gone to Wilmington. Ohio government expressed their dismay of losing this to the state of Kentucky as Amazon had narrowed their options to CVG and ILN (the local airport code) AND Amazon had been operating at the Airpark for a year at this point with around 300 jobs created. So to add insult to an already injured small town economy, Amazon not only didn't bring 2,700 jobs to a town that already knew how to do that kind of stuff, they also moved 300 out that had been created. Numbers from this: https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/amazon-chooses-cvg-over-wilmington-airport-bring-thousands-jobs/CUI7NSJiPBi8pEirjxT0ML/

 

But, in the news Monday, Amazon is returning to Wilmington... or maybe just using it for overflow/flex space until they can build more capacity at CVG. You can read it on NPR or others, but most thoroughly in the local paper which needs your ad revenue more https://www.wnewsj.com/news/89146/breaking-amazon-announces-flights-sorting-facility-headed-for-wilmington

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I have a former roommate who works in the office at DHL. He is the source of my figures -- that they're burning through upwards of 3,000 sorters per year. 

 

There is no way that Clinton County, pop. 40,000, or the surrounding counties, could possibly support the unending turnover.  There is no way that Amazon Prime Air, even if the majority of its workers work first and second shift, could possibly get enough people to commute from Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton.  There are already plenty of crap warehouse jobs in these cities going unfilled. 

 

I know for a fact that many workplaces around Cincinnati are now skipping drug testing because they simply can't get the bodies otherwise.  We had a major accident at my place earlier this year, the culprit failed the mandatory drug test, and they rehired him a week later.  Frankly, it's going to be a struggle for Amazon Prime Air to get the workforce it's going to need in Cincinnati if current economic conditions continue. 

 

 

 

 

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I don't know if I agree with your dooming crystal ball predictions. 2700 jobs is just 18% of the jobs that existed at the airpark before DHL left. Depending on their circumstances a person in Wilmington may be able to live comfortably at a $15/hour working for Amazon. It might be difficult to imagine what might make a different cultural group (rural Americans) stay in one place instead of pursuing their distant, latent ambitions, but if folks are still similar to the people who I grew up knowing, a $15/hour high turn-over job in job opportunity rich Cincinnati could be a $15/hour steady job in badly underemployed Wilmington.

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It's not just Smalltown Ohio. It's Smalltown USA that's getting left behind. And if your small town isn't next to a metro area or easily connected to one, don't forget to turn out the lights...

 

 

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