Monday, June 9, 2003

What others are saying

Tell us what you think would help attract or keep young professionals in the Tristate. Check Cincinnati.Com throughout the week to see what others are saying.
Gen X winners and losers
A Gen X-odus: Their top 10 destinations
Who is Gen X?
Groups of and for young adults
Young majority on council shifting city's focus
Vision needed for downtown
Question the status quo
Improve access to downtown
Cincinnati's young adults are growing up and moving out at alarming rates, prompting a shift in urban approach.

A sampling of the more than 100 responses suggesting what Cincinnati can do to keep and attract young professionals:

Cincinnati is currently being held hostage by a major airline. Commerce, travel, relocations of businesses, and all aspects of funneling people into the city are almost non-existent. Young people leave because the jobs just aren't here, and the growth and development is stagnant. One only has to look 100 miles southwest to see what a vibrant city Louisville is becoming. Air travel is a fraction of the cost of Cincinnati, currently the second most expensive city to fly out of in the United States. If you look closely at the huge amounts of office space within a five-mile radius of the CVG Airport, you can quickly surmise what is happening to this city.

On top of the economic impact, we were voted the 39th worst city for young singles. Only Pittsburgh was lower than us. My background in regional planning looks deep into the city and surrounding area. People who reside in Northern Kentucky want that autonomy. However, they can't fathom the fact that they live in metro Cincinnati. The divide here is unlike any other city in America. I have visited most of them, and without any doubt, Cincinnati needs a complete overhaul. I blame city council and the mayor. Programs, guidelines and development could flourish here, if given the right leadership. As for that airline I spoke of, remember them the next time you look at your city and wonder what the problem is. They are not the only culprits, but they hold down the No. 1 spot at this time.

James Myers, Fort Wright
(submitted Sunday, June 8)

I'd start by reducing not only the crime on the streets, but also within the police. I'm a bit of a news junkie and frankly, the abuses of authority and how they are whitewashed by "Big Brother" are very scary to me. I would make cleaner air a priority. We're looking to move out of the area because the air pollution is so hard on the kids. I'd make housing more affordable. And make the schools more appealing, both physically and academically. I think a lot of the priorities within the city and the state are way off base. I not only plan to leave Cincinnati, but Ohio as well. Maybe I'm asking a lot, but there seems like there has to be greener pastures somewhere.

Christine Bowin, Norwood
(submitted Sunday, June 8)

A thriving original local music and arts scene is essential for keeping young professionals. And although it already exists in Cincinnati, you wouldn't know it. One of the hardest things for original local musicians/artists is getting the word out. Existing musician/artist friendly resources (CityBeat, 97X,, etc.) reach a limited number of people who are already in "the know." The rest of the public has no idea about these resources. They get their news from the major media outlets. The major media outlets could have a huge impact in this area. Let me explain:

1. Provide more coverage

I can't tell you how many times I've seen a "feel good" piece on the 11 o'clock news that lasted for three minutes. Why not cut the piece to two minutes and take one minute to talk about an original local band releasing a new CD?

2. Organize the coverage

There is not a local music/arts section in the paper (Enquirer or Post). There is local coverage given here and there. But it's not consistent and can't be found in one place. Therefore people don't get the sense that there is a "scene."

3. Cheap advertising rates for musicians/artists

Let's face it. Most musicians/artists are not making money hand over fist. They simply cannot afford to advertise. So why not cut them a break on advertising?

P.S.: Many of the corporate giants need to get involved as well. They support the "high" arts, but only pay lip service to the "low" arts. They talk about keeping young professionals here, but they haven't put their money where their mouth is. Trust me, every major company in Cincinnati (except Cinergy) turned down sponsorship for the MidPoint Music Festival. Even in-kind sponsorship that would have cost them nothing and promoted their business to all the out-of-towners who attended.

Bill Donabedian, organizer, MidPoint Music Festival Milford
(submitted Sunday, June 8)

I am not a Gen Xer, but I am 21 years old and am from Cincinnati. I came to the University of South Carolina for college and will probably not be coming back to Cincinnati. I will continue to live in Columbia, South Carolina. The reasons are many: weather, community, cleanliness. The only thing I really miss is going to Reds games. I cook Gold Star on the stove out of cans, keep up with the Bearcats, Reds, and Bengals over the Internet, order some Montgomery Inn sauce every now and then and I'm set.

A nightlife would be great for Cincinnati, a safe nightlife. Downtown preferably, along the river. This would help young adults in Cincinnati with things to do. The weather is the thing that will keep me down here though, along with the friendliness of the people.

David Safdi, Columbia, S.C.
(submitted Sunday, June 8)

How can we keep young creative folks? We can begin with supporting what Newport and Cincinnati have started: creating an environment that supports the arts. Out of the artistic business ventures (the Levee, CAC, the local theaters), hopefully we can move toward artistic enclave or neighborhood, like Greenwich Village in New York City, or Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. These areas, while not large in physical space, provide an energy and identity from which the city can feed. From there we can maybe look at an integrated public transportation system to assist in building the image and reality of an environmentally friendly (and, probably more importantly, event friendly) downtown/metro area.

There are many professional opportunities in Greater Cincinnati. We need to encourage the artistic opportunities as well. These are what will tie people with the community.

Chris Strobel, Highland Heights, Ky.
(submitted Sunday, June 8)

Cut the Cincinnati tax taken out of my check every week for working within the city limits. I am being punished for working for this city! I have plans to move to Florida within the next few years where I will not be taxed just for working in a city.

Jackie McComas, Anderson Township
(submitted Monday, June 9)

[Cincinnati] needs to re-think a lot of its ideas. Example: Northern Ky. just passed an amendment supporting rights for gays (in reference to housing). Why hasn't the city waken up to the fact that gays have more disposable income, have a higher level of education than most, are VERY creative and energetic, and have the insight to re-develop areas of cities that once were considered unattractive to most people? I would love to return to the Tristate area; however, high taxes, poor economic growth, expensive housing, etc., prevent me from doing so.

As a gay man that has lived in Florida for the past three years, it would be hard to return to an area with so many problems. Florida is much more open to new ideas, regardless of your sexual orientation. So, wake up, citizens of Cincinnati. You're losing more than just your young. You're losing money, people with great, new ideas, and a lot of disposable income.

Chuck Lawson, Tampa, Fla.
(submitted Sunday, June 8)

Reduce or eliminate the income tax: Living in the city provides no bonus with the same salary. What is worth two percent of my gross income inside city limits that I do not have in the suburbs?

Safe, clean, modern, affordable housing: This does not refer to an apartment. Ownership of a home is now important, not for status but for personal investment purposes. Cincinnati's architecture is a selling point here. For an example of safe and clean, visit the suburbs where Cincinnati has lost population (read the police blotters too).

Career opportunities: These are still important, and become more so as this generation becomes more family-oriented with dual incomes. The career types are more technically oriented and need to have growth opportunity. Further, the ability to change companies is a must. Small to mid-size firms are more the norm than the exception. P&G and GE may not be able to assist here.

Sell it: To reach this generation, you must create a buzz. Word of mouth (e-mail) and web-based research are worth more than a slick city-sponsored advertising campaign.

Entertainment: The Kentucky shoreline is an example, but the opportunities inside Cincinnati are greater. The "Mom and Pop"-type establishments in abundance are an attraction. Starbuck's and the like are nice, but not as good as a neighborhood café. The same is true for nightclub entertainment, a lot of which is now underneath Paul Brown Stadium.

I do not want to live in any city where the proximity to drugs and violent crime are coupled with high taxes and poor housing opportunities. I want to be able to walk or bike to entertainment venues but not have them in my front yard. Cincinnati has the space and infrastructure, but likely not the will, to create a pleasant urban living environment.

Rob Campbell, Marietta, Ga.
(submitted Monday, June 9)

There needs to be an increase in the number of things that are available for this generation. Cincinnati is a little too conservative, so the Gen Xers are leaving for areas that are more diverse and more open-minded. I also think that having some houses built that would be in the price range and size range that this group desires would be advisable, since most of the new houses are either too expensive or too large for this demographic.

I would like to take away some of the old ideas that seem to prevail in the community, like the thought that this age group is made up of people with no long range plans or that they lack focus. Neither is true, but this persists since this group switches jobs more often than those in the older age groups. There needs to be more connection between the different generations that live in Cincinnati, because this will help everyone see what the others have to offer, and this will lead to an increased sense of community, which may entice more of the Gen Xers to remain.

Michelle Skaggs, West Chester
(submitted Monday, June 9)

I have lived downtown for over four years. I am 29 years old, have had enough and am leaving as soon as I find a house in the burbs. I have become increasingly more disgruntled with the state of black-on-black crime and trashy streets smack dab up against nice ones. My advice? Don't build market-rate housing next to crack houses and expect people to pay $1,000 a month and stick around. Also, citizens should support the police and their initiatives and have the felons arrested.

Over-the-Rhine is a time bomb that is being pacified with useless rhetoric from City Hall and is fueled by racism on both sides (black and white) consistently. It is apparent that blacks in this city DO NOT like whites. That is a serious problem that needs correcting before people start pouring more money into the urban areas. Otherwise, it will be money that will be wasted.

Dominic Miller, Cincinnati
(submitted Monday, June 9)

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Young adults leaving town
Online Poll: Tell us what you think
Who is Gen X?
Groups of and for young adults
Young majority on council shifting city's focus

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