Mid-City Delusions


This Cincinnati Enquirer piece neatly sums up the delusions of mid-sized cities, which always think they are one or two big "development" projects away from salvation. (Why is it that they never think to come up with novel, cost-effective solutions to say, improving schools or lowering taxes and regulations?)

It's about Stephen Leeper, who in April will become the head of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., a private development group that includes representatives from all the local power brokers in the Queen City, including Procter & Gamble, Chiquita, etc). (Don't be fooled by its being a private-sector group: One of its main goals is to getl public-sector money and breaks for private businesses).

Leeper is touted as a wonder boy who was responsible for a remarkable string of successes in Pittsburgh (along with Buffalo, the only major metro area that lost population between 1990 and 2000). Yet the article itself–breathlessly positive about the guy–points out that most of the projects didn't pan out. And a sidebar raises further questions about Pittsburgh's future.