6.21.2006

Last One Out, Turn Off the Lights

Over the years the general consensus about Cincinnati is that it's a great place to raise a family. Well that apparently is no longer true if you look at a recently released census report. According to the report, the Queen City lost 6.8% of its population between 2000-2005. Only one other city in the country has lost more.

The question is why. Why is Cincinnati on the road to becoming a suburb of Covington, Kentucky. Because that's what's happening. People are fleeing Cincinnati in two directions- north into the burbs and south into Kentucky. Northern Kentucky is booming. It's actually fun to cross the river these days. There are things to do there. There is Newport on the Levee. There is the aquarium. There are too many different restaurants and clubs to mention. Take your pick, there is plenty to get into. The aforementioned activities were things that were originally slated to be built on the Cincinnati side of the river. So what happened?

Cincinnati is architecturally and historically beautiful. It is pristine and clean. It has lots of green space. It has lots of Classical culture, museums, etc. It has sports. Yes the Reds and Bengals are wannabe professional sports teams, but they do provide some excitement once in a while.

But the city itself is nothing more than a lifeless man-made concrete canyon. The clubs are gone from downtown. The businesses have trouble doing business because there is no foot traffic. The last movie theater shut down several years ago. When there is a festival in town, several downtown restaurants choose to shutdown, preferring to do inventory instead. Yet they don't want to be called racists. I've never ever heard of a real businessman passing up making money to do inventory. Except for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The business community yearly prostitutes itself for the Harley Davidson biker rally, while choosing to take inventory when the black bikers rally the very next week. More on that another time.

The City has become a ghost town watched over by a government mired in indecision and inactivity. It's like crabs in a barrel at city hall. Nobody working together in favor of promoting their own individual agendas.

The school system has been in steady decline for years. Crime is well publicized and the police are paralyzed. The city's image still suffers from misguided discriminatory civil rights legislation aimed at gays and lesbians. The measure has been repealed but the perception that Cincinnati is not an all inclusive community lingers on. The city's score on dealing with Blacks is also bad. Now we have an immigration problem, too.

More and more I run into people who having been born here chose to leave only to return to take care of family. That's the only reason they come back. Not for the atmosphere or livability of the city. They live here cause they have to and party elsewhere. Me too.

Like what's his name said..."All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."
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