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Old 12-29-2006, 11:42 PM
 
Location: Tucson, AZ
2,162 posts, read 7,489,695 times
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Ok, I read all about the crummiest places. Many of those were the "usual suspects" that leave little doubt about their bad rap. A few others I had never heard of, and some sound so bad that I might want to visit to see if it's for real.

Then I read about the "best places", and most of those are the "usual suspects" too, with a big list of stuff in their favor. Sure, the best places have faults, but there's so much to the plus side that the minuses are almost footnotes. Ah, but that bliss usually comes with a price tag too.

What cities or towns were previously on a downhill road to nowhere, which are actually getting better and becoming decent overall places to live and work? These are places that took a bad economic dive in the last few decades due to a changing economy. Much of the manufacturing base in our land is now far, far away. In those cities and towns left behind, which ones found enough civic pride, social structure and local effort to try and turn the place around? These are places on the rebound and still struggling with issues, but making progress with signs of improvement and recovery. These are places where the cost of living is pretty reasonable compared to the elite metro areas, yet there's enough going on to make a decent living and keep entertained.

Here's a few I have been to that might be considered rebound cities, quite a bit better now that they were 10 or 15 years ago.
Syracuse. Cincinnatti. Louisville. Kansas City. Chattanooga.

What's your vote for a rebound place?
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Old 12-30-2006, 01:56 AM
 
295 posts, read 492,157 times
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Kellogg/Wallace, ID
Bunker Hill Mine closure in 1982 led to a 20 year depression.
Now rebounding as a ski resort and retirement destination.
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Old 12-31-2006, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,626 posts, read 65,680,831 times
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Smile Am I Biased or What?

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The region was a former hotbed for anthracite coal mining and textiles, but both of those industries fell by the wayside during the 1950s. Until the 1990s, both cities were pretty much repelling new residents left and right and decaying into the streets. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes slammed into Wilkes-Barre, flooding the town and much of its inner suburbs and displacing tens of thousands of people, which was yet another economic blow to the community. Urban sprawl wasn't kind to the region after that either, as residents of the valley-floor communities fled to newer, upscale housing developments on the hillsides to escape the Susquehanna River (which, ultimately, exacerbated the flooding issues due to increased runoff, but I digress). Scranton was even nominated as the runner-up for "Armpit of America" back in the 1990s. Scranton's "Hill Section" became rife with drug and gang activity, and Wilkes-Barre was home to more crime than the Wild, Wild West! To most, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre seemed to be lost causes. To those "upper-crusts" in NYC/NJ, our area best exemplified the cruel "Pennsyltucky" stereotype that they had bestowed upon PA to make their own areas appear more attractive.

Flash-Forward Ten Years

Scranton is now the setting of the hit NBC sitcom "The Office", and has a new film office which will be churning out its first movie, "The Trouble With Cali" next year. Downtown is bouncing back with a new dog bakery, apparel stores, pubs, an espresso bar, a hibachi restaurant, bistros, eclectic gift shops, two new Starbucks, art galleries, and loft apartments galore to be finished in the next two years, including projects such as The Lofts & The Mill, Jefferson Pointe, The Casey Laundry Building, and St. Peter's Square, among others. You can't travel very far in Scranton without bumping into a NY or NJ license plate or a thick "Joisey" accent, indicating that the city is beginning to attract the interest from those seeking to flee the high taxes, traffic congestion, steep housing prices, and "Rat Race" in the immediate NYC metropolitan area (to which Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will probably be annexed by around 2030 if current trends continue). Scranton will be home to a new medical school in 2009 and a new high-speed commuter rail service to NYC by 2011. The once-feared "Hill Section" is now seeing gentrification, as young professionals, graduate students, artists, and retirees are beginning to move into apartments in historic mansions that have been converted into three or four-unit apartment buildings. U.S. Senator-elect Robert P. Casey even calls the Hill Section his home. Property values are on the rise, and I can't wait to be among the growing ranks of young professionals moving into the city from the suburbs. Nothing would make me happier than to live in a downtown loft within five minutes walking distance of my CPA firm, the Scranton Cultural Center, the Mall at Steamtown, churches, pharmacies, banks, boutiques, restaurants, parks, etc., as opposed to living here in suburbia where we all have to commute 20-25 minutes on congested roadways to access any of these amenities and then struggle to find parking!

Wilkes-Barre is seeing a similar renaissance, although it is, in my opinion, about five years behind Scranton's rebirth. Just in 2006 alone, Wilkes-Barre became home to the new "Diamond City Entertainment District", home to a new theater, billiards hall, two new night clubs, new restaurants, and a new Barnes & Noble and Starbucks. By 2010, the city will be home to four new loft apartment projects, a new "RiverWalk" project, a new museum, and rising property values. Wilkes-Barre's progress has been hurt a bit because its per capita crime rate is higher than that of Scranton's, even though Scranton is nearly twice the size of Wilkes-Barre. Nevertheless, I foresee Wilkes-Barre becoming just as cosmopolitan again as Scranton by 2010.

Both cities have seen their renaissances stem largely from two charismatic, young, energetic mayors with a passion for the arts and urban renewal---Scranton Mayor Christopher A. Doherty and Wilkes-Barre Mayor Thomas Leighton. Doherty's "Restoring the Pride" campaign has been wildly-successful in getting Scrantonians to become upbeat about their city's future, and Wilkes-Barre's similar "I Believe" slogan has spawned great success. I now hear less and less people referring to the region as a "slummy place to live" and more and more people complimenting the region's quick economic rebound. Granted, we're still laggards when it comes to white-collar career opportunities, but the new "Wall Street West" movement has NYC firms looking at potential satellite locations within a half-hour commute of our cities.

If you're looking to invest in an area just two hours from NYC or Philly with a low cost-of-living and a rebounding quality-of-life, then Scranton/Wilkes-Barre may just be it!
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:19 PM
 
2,359 posts, read 8,050,077 times
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If Syracuse was a publicly traded stock in the stock market, I'd buy it now. Since I do not have the best writing skills, I'll quote a recent Syracuse transplant from Texas....Jon Alvarez.

(I'll need to break it up into parts as it's too long for one post. This forum limits each post to 5000 characteristics.)

"Move to Central New York? Why on earth would someone want to do that, you ask? Because this transplanted Texan feel’s it’s the best place to live in America, period. So, if you don’t already live here, what are you waiting for? Ok, I know, you probably don’t know anything about this part of the country and probably think it’s a suburb of New York City. Well, I’m here to dispel that misconception and to tell you that we’ve got it all here in what many refer to as Upstate New York, away from the hustle and bustle and congestion that characterizes The Big Apple. In fact, when my family chose to relocate from Austin, Texas, most of our friends mistakenly thought that was our destination, as they had no other concept of what represented New York. Simply put, Syracuse, Central New York, or CNY, is a completely different creature from NYC and we couldn’t be happier with our decision to relocate here. And if you happen to find yourself in the same situation I was in, tired of the overcrowding of urban sprawl, traffic congestion, extended periods of extreme heat and drought, exorbitant housing and living costs, then CNY should be a prime target on your relocation radar.

The quality of life we’ve discovered here in the Syracuse area is the primary reason why you should move to this part of the country. Please, don’t get me wrong, I loved Texas and its Lone Star attitude, and Austin was a very happening place, but guess what? Syracuse is, too! Like Austin, there is a plethora of activities for the young and hip, what with Syracuse University and several other colleges existing within CNY, not to mention the many museums, art houses, and the ever rocking Armory Square in the heart of downtown Syracuse, so there’s always something to do. One thing is certain; as a family man, I‘ve come to appreciate and love the quality of life afforded to my family here. We chose to sell our house in Austin and make a quality of life move as we’d grown weary from years of dealing with the traffic congestion and overcrowding that came to characterize the metropolis that was becoming Austin. We’d had enough of the blistering summer heat and crunchy June grass that became all too familiar as drought conditions would set in by early summer. You won’t find any of that here in CNY! We enjoy a nice variety of temperate conditions within the four seasons that can be found in Central New York.

Another bonus of living here is that there’s water here and plenty of it! While we do get quite a bit of snow here, it typically lasts three months and it certainly creates an enjoyable atmosphere while sitting by the fireplace. With that, there’s plenty to do for the outdoor enthusiast, as our weather and close proximity to numerous ski slopes make for some great skiing. The Central New York region also has plenty of lakes and canals for fishing and boating enthusiasts and because of the amount of water we receive either via snow or rain, we never encounter drought-like conditions. Since this region is so used to the amount of snow we receive, it rarely hinders driving as the area town and village highway departments are prepared to deal with it and thus, keep the roads plowed and salted to avoid delays for commuters. Some of the other activities one can enjoy as a result of the winter season aside from downhill or cross-country skiing are snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Of course, I must mention that my wife’s favorite winter activity is the aforementioned sitting by the fireplace, warm and cozy with a good book and enjoying the landscape as it becomes adorned with snow. Now, how many parts of the country can virtually guarantee a white Christmas? Bottom line, we have lots to do here and we get to enjoy the abundance of green grass, huge trees and large sections of wooded areas as a result of the amount of moisture we receive in this part of the country...

continued next page below
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:21 PM
 
2,359 posts, read 8,050,077 times
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continued from previous post

The four seasons is another reason you should move to CNY. Another reason we chose to move to this part of the country was that we wanted variety. Fall is easily our favorite time of the year and Central New York is one of the greatest locations for those wishing to enjoy the wonderful, vibrant fall colors of autumn in New York. The abundance of trees in this part of the country makes for a great October! One can make a day trip of driving throughout the area to enjoy not only the great views, but also the various apple and pumpkin festivals that can be found throughout the area. Central New Yorkers sure know how to make use of their natural resources, too! Apple cider, fritters, home-made Maple syrup, pumpkin pie, apple pie,…wow, I’m getting hungry just thinking about all the great treats we’ve enjoyed this past fall at all the various fall festivals. Since we’re talking about food, I might as well mention the fact that CNY has awesome food, particularly Italian. We’ve never enjoyed pizza and spaghetti on such a wide scale from so many fine Italian establishments, not to mention the great diversity in menu selections that can be found at the various restaurants in the area.

Another bonus we’ve discovered in our time here in Central New York is how friendly we’ve found the people here to be. While we found Austin to be very transient, the Central New York region has been home to generations of Upstate New Yorkers who were born and raised here and chose to remain in the region. This tends to foster a greater atmosphere of civic pride and neighborly attitude, which we have happily benefited from. Our favorite story to tell new friends and acquaintances centers on the night we were moving into our new home in the Radisson subdivision. Despite the fact that there was a raging snowstorm blowing about, my family was visited by an angel in the form of Carolyn Eaton, our new neighbor directly across the street, appearing on our doorstep bearing a piping hot apple pie! Never have I tasted such a delicious apple pie, particularly since it came special delivery from such a great neighbor whom we lovingly refer to as our adopted mother. Despite the fact that we chose to sell that house and move across town, we spend nearly every holiday with the Eatons and their loved ones as they’ve become like family to us. That same street also bore us one of our closest and dearest friends, the Rotchford family. Rarely do we find ourselves at the Eatons where we won’t pop into the Rotchfords to catch up and toss back a few, not to mention the daily and weekly phone calls just to say hi. Space and time prevent me from going into further detail on the amount of new friends we’ve made since relocating to CNY. Bottom line, we’ve found a place we love to call home in just a relatively short time because of the nature and warmth of the good people of Central New York.

On a final note, I’d be remiss if I did not mention a few more of the benefits of living in Central New York, particularly the absence of “traffic” and congestion, as well as the incredible housing prices and architectural treasures found here. Rarely, if ever, do I find myself in bumper-to-bumper traffic. In fact, it usually takes 30 minutes or less to cross from one section of the area to another. The region’s proximity to the east coast, the Adirondacks, NYC, and Lake Ontario lends itself to some great weekend getaways. And just to give you an idea of the housing values found in CNY, the median price of housing in Central New York is 49 percent cheaper than the national median and is currently lower than it was in 1990! The current median price for housing in Onondaga County is only $127,000! Compare that with $435,000 for Washington, D.C., $172,000 for Atlanta, $290,000 for Chicago, $416,000 for Boston, $538,000 for Los Angeles, $176,000 in Austin, $255,000 for Denver, well, you get the picture. Besides getting a lot of bang for your buck, the architectural styles of the area are incredible! You can’t find many turn of the century houses in other parts of the country at affordable prices, especially on large lots, country settings, or on the water. There’s gold to be found here, one simply has to come find it!

So, considering the fact that making a move to Central New York can greatly improve your family’s quality of life due to the region’s abundance of great people, abundant natural resources, temperate climate, low housing prices, unique and historic architecture, the area also plays host to the great New York State Fair. CNY also has plenty of entertainment, sports and outdoor venues and activities, plus we have virtually no traffic congestion and we’re conveniently situated along the east coast. So, what are you waiting for? Get your bags packed, sell that expensive home in that overcrowded part of the country you currently find yourself living in, and come to Syracuse!"
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,626 posts, read 65,680,831 times
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Wow, Bella! It's so nice to see someone so optimistic about Syracuse! I think the entire "Rust-Belt" is poised for revival---from Syracuse to Scranton to Akron and everywhere in between.
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Old 12-31-2006, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Missouri
6,044 posts, read 21,141,653 times
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recycled - I hope you are right about Kansas City. We are moving there next year. It seems pretty good now, and it seems to be experiencing slow but steady growth, in terms of population, job opportunities, shopping, and recreation. We considered Raleigh, NC but the growth there was too explosive for our tastes - we worried that it would result in traffic congestion and a general feeling of overcrowdedness, which is what we are tired of, here in NJ.
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Old 12-31-2006, 07:56 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,155,436 times
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Pittsburgh still remains an undiscovered urban jewel. It's been on the upswing for some time, even as the population growth remains at zero. Other cities on the rebound I would say are Providence, Syracuse, Detroit (very slowly), Kansas City, Birmingham and Richmond.
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Old 01-01-2007, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Tucson, AZ
2,162 posts, read 7,489,695 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dullnboring View Post
Pittsburgh still remains an undiscovered urban jewel. It's been on the upswing for some time, even as the population growth remains at zero. Other cities on the rebound I would say are Providence, Syracuse, Detroit (very slowly), Kansas City, Birmingham and Richmond.
I haven't been to Pittsburgh since early 90s. Looking at the PA forum there's no shortage of opinions (pros and cons) about Pittsburgh, thats for sure. Most places that fit the "rebound cities" category still have rough edges and things that need fixing, so it's not surprising that some people want to vent about the problems too. Nearby Cleveland is another city that has made a lot of progress, but they not without a bunch of issues to deal with too. At least these places have enough civic pride and local effort going on to try and improve things.

The one place I question on your list is Detroit. I have never lived there so my comments are strictly the impressions of a visitor who has been to all 50 states and about the same number of other countries. It is almost mind numbing to drive around Detroit (beyond the city center) and wonder what in the world happened. Seems like the entire social structure collapsed from within and they are waiting around for someone else to bail them out and fix everything. I found it pent up with hostility and resentment, too much polarization, too much of us versus them (economic and racial divisions). That negativity is so pervasive and deep to allow any kind of a rebound in the near future - that along with the crime rate and broken school system scares away business and real estate investors that are needed to create decent jobs and bring people and money back into a city. I am not convinced that Detroit has broken out of the downward spiral.

Bella gave us the full run down about Syracuse, a place I have been to many times and like a lot. SWB of course put Scranton on the list, and it certainly fits the rebound category too. Rod mentioned Kellogg, ID and that reminded me about a couple of other western mining towns that are now thriving tourist, artist and retirement places, Bisbee AZ and Silver City NM.
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Old 01-01-2007, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Thumb of Michigan
4,489 posts, read 6,659,925 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recycled View Post
The one place I question on your list is Detroit. I have never lived there so my comments are strictly the impressions of a visitor who has been to all 50 states and about the same number of other countries. It is almost mind numbing to drive around Detroit (beyond the city center) and wonder what in the world happened. Seems like the entire social structure collapsed from within and they are waiting around for someone else to bail them out and fix everything. I found it pent up with hostility and resentment, too much polarization, too much of us versus them (economic and racial divisions). That negativity is so pervasive and deep to allow any kind of a rebound in the near future - that along with the crime rate and broken school system scares away business and real estate investors that are needed to create decent jobs and bring people and money back into a city. I am not convinced that Detroit has broken out of the downward spiral.
Sadly, i have to agree and even validate your "impression" of Detroit as a visitor. The race riots of '67 was the tipping point of Detroit's demise. (google '67 Detroit riot-you'll get the impression of a major urban city held hostage by "militants" as what it sort of remains today)
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