RPT-Struggling U.S. cities hope small projects yield big results

Reprinted from Reuters

By Mary Wisniewski

Nov 9 (Reuters) – Struggling U.S. Rust Belt cities for years have tried to counter the loss of manufacturing jobs with big, expensive projects like casinos and stadiums.

For cities such as Gary, Indiana; Flint, Michigan; and Youngstown, Ohio, these projects brought hope and headlines. Some delivered new revenue, but others brought new costs and mixed results.

Gary’s underused Genesis Convention Center, for example, cost the city $3.6 million in repairs and operations in the past year alone.

Now, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and civic leaders of some other blighted cities are going small with strategic, narrowly focused ideas such as selling vacant homes for $1, demolishing derelict buildings and neighborhood clean-up projects that produce immediate results.

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