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Ideas

What Would Merging Mean?

Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007

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Here we are in Cleveland -- a city with a steadily declining population, a shrinking tax base, and facing stiff competition for economic development from surrounding communities. But what if all that disappeared in one fell swoop? Imagine if you will a new and different Cleveland, with more people, and more money -- a Cleveland where community leaders unite behind common goals and development deals sail through.

What Would Merging Mean?
Here we are in Cleveland -- a city with a steadily declining population, a shrinking tax base, and facing stiff competition for economic development from surrounding communities. But what if all that disappeared in one fell swoop? Imagine if you will a new and different Cleveland, with more people, and more money -- a Cleveland where community leaders unite behind common goals and development deals sail through.

Other cities have done it: Louisville, Jacksonville, Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Indianapolis. In Louisville’s case, the city doubled its population when it merged with the county -- instantly going from being the 67th largest city in America to the 27th... far ahead of Cleveland, which ranks 40th.

Could merger happen here? And what would it look like? That’s what this hour of ideas will try to envision and consider.

ideastream’s Rick Jackson will look at Louisville, KY to understand the fears and hopes people there had as merger talks got serious and will examine what our fears and hopes might be here. His report will also focus on how Louisville overcame its fears and moved forward, who benefited, who paid a heavy price for merger, and whether that same model might be successful for Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Finally, the last segment focuses on what steps outside of merger could take place here to create greater regional cooperation within the county, such as more tax-sharing compacts, land-use agreements or consolidation of some services.

ideastream’s Dan Moulthroup will moderate a series of lively, vigorous panel discussions with area leadership including:
Nina Turner, Ward 1, Cleveland City Council
Joe Roman, The Greater Cleveland Partnership
Mark Rosentraub, CSU, Levin College
David Abbot, Gund Foundation
Debbie Sutherland, Mayor, Bay Village
Tom Waltermire, Team NEO
Peter Lawson Jones, Cuyahoga County Commissioner

Leading up to the ideas program, and following it, will be additional programming examining examples of regionalism and their effectiveness. These radio reports offer further examination into how these initiatives are evolving, whether they are good ideas, and how, if at all, they inform our Northeast Ohio thinking and discussions about meaningful collaborations between Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

More information about Louisville and the city-county merger, and information on city rankings and awards for economic development.
The Louisville Merger: Promises and Performance: An Initial Assessment (scroll to report)
90.3 WCPN: What Would Merging Mean?
What Would Merging Mean?: The Louisville Model
The Sound of Ideas: Mayors Un-muzzled
What Would Merging Mean?: Recap

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Ideas is designed to report and explain the news, and serve as a source of information about what is most important to Northeast Ohioans. Each week Ideas will connect viewers with insight and commentary from seasoned journalists, those who are close to both the facts and the backstories about subjects affecting the lives of Northeast Ohioans.

Air Dates

WVIZ/PBS
Friday 8:30 PM
Sunday 11:30 AM

The Ohio Channel
Monday 1:30 PM / 9:30 PM
Tuesday 5:30 AM

WVIZ/PBS World
Saturday 6:30 PM

Funding for Ideas & The Sound of Ideas

Funding for Ideas/Sound of Ideas comes from The George Gund Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, Eaton Corporation Charitable Fund, the George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation and the Nord Family Foundation.