Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Shiny New Life In Youngstown

The Youngstown Paradox:

I've been so excited and relieved to be reading on Youngstown blogs about the hope and energy of the "new vanguard" that is striving to re-invent the city; it gives me hope, as an outsider about to fashion a "shiny new life" here. Even more so as Youngstown starts to get outside attention, as with the August Entrepreneur magazine cover and article.

However, at the same time, there is so much about the overwhelming weight of the past and the destruction of industry in the region, and the way that Youngstown is an iconic symbol of the decline, that I wonder if I am deluding myself...

In Rust Belt cities, the weight of the past often strangles hope for the future. (See the Detroit News videos about the GM plant in Lordstown and the fate of the Mahoning Valley) Understandably, residents are jaded. That's why outsiders are important. We see the other side of the coin. Relocation breeds optimism. Even an empty glass might seem beautiful.

Whether or not we are deluding ourselves is immaterial. If we believe in a place, in its people, then we can do anything. Just so happens that I think that is more true in Youngstown than anywhere else.

1 comment:

  1. As an "outsider" myself (moved from just over the PA line to the greater YO area about 12 years ago) let me say "WELCOME" and no, I do not believe any of us are deluding ourselves.

    Your "other side of the coin" view is much appreciated. I know many are jaded (as you say) but so many more are not. Our past is just that...the past! It is important to remember, but it by no means must dictate our future. And I couldn't agree more that anything is possible in our fair city!