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10 Years Later, Sounding Off On The `Quiet Crisis'

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A decade ago, ideastream and the Plain Dealer wrapped up a collaborative series called “The Quiet Crisis”…challenges facing Northeast Ohio that were seeing little improvement, and some would say, little attention. Those same issues were revisited recently, with assessments on what’s transpired since. ideastream’s Brian Bull reports:

Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 8:47 pm

14 roundtable-style discussions were produced between 2001 and 2004, touching on issues important to Northeast Ohio’s economy.

This included the lack of new construction and development, finding support for the arts, and building upon the promise of higher education, to name a few.

Joe Frolik was one of the Plain Dealer reporters who originally covered the “Quiet Crisis”. At a recent Civic Commons event in Parma, he recalled what motivated his paper and ideastream to produce the series.

“The downward stuff, the slower than national growth patterns," began Frolik. "The recessions that went into sooner, went deeper, and came out of later. What people called “the brain drain” -- the loss of talented young people -- all these things were going to continue, if we didn’t sorta change the trajectory of the region.”

Ari Maron is a partner at MRN Limited, which was responsible for much of the urban development across Greater Cleveland. He says from bustling neighborhoods like Ohio City and the Detroit Shoreway, to the filling out of the downtown’s lots and spaces, he’s really seen growth since the “Quiet Crisis” highlighted the region’s problems.

“Basically if a developer’s willing to take some risk, the community is unbelievable about coming in and helping them out, whether it’s through tax abatements, and tax increment financings, and new market tax and all these things, these “funny monies’ that make these deals happen. So, we know how to do that.”

Meanwhile, people recently surveyed for ideastream’s The Listening Project were split nearly evenly on whether the economy has improved -- or worsened -- over the last ten years.

A third rated efforts to improve talents and skills among residents as “inadequate” or “poor”.

But in establishing the quality of place, two-thirds of respondents rated them as “good” or “excellent.”

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