News of the Rust Belt from around the world, brought to you weekly by the staff of Belt Magazine. We’re independently owned; become a member and support us (plus get cool stuff for free!).
Dan Gilbert Buys Tower City Shopping Center From Forest City For $56.5 Million [Scene]
Dan Gilbert, through Bedrock Real Estate Services, has bought the Avenue portion of Tower City from Forest City for $56.5 million. Which makes total sense. Activating the mall is in the best interest for Gilbert, with his casino across the street and his arena just a few blocks away, which of course is connected to the mall with the walkway that tens of thousands of fans use to get to games and events after parking at Tower City.
Scathing Report Finds Michigan ‘Fundamentally Accountable’ For Flint’s Water Crisis [Los Angeles Times]
What happened in Flint, the five-member panel said, was “a story of government failure, intransigence, unpreparedness, delay, inaction, and environmental injustice.” It specifically slammed the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for working “to discredit and dismiss” attempts to bring to light concerns over unsafe water, lead contamination and a reported increase in cases of Legionnaires’ disease.
Honey, I Shrunk Chicago [City Journal]
Chicagoland’s population growth has been slow in recent years, but according to the Census, the Chicago metro area actually lost 6,300 people in 2015. The loss was driven by domestic outmigration—more people leaving than coming in—that exceeded both international immigration into the area and natural increase (births minus deaths). It’s one of the worst performances of any major urban region in the nation.
Lake Erie Phosphorus-Reduction Targets Challenging But Achievable [Michigan News]
The new study, which integrates results from six modeling teams, was released today by the U-M Water Center. It concludes that meeting the 40-percent reduction target will require widespread use of strong fertilizer-management practices, significant conversion of cropland to grassland and more targeted conservation efforts.
Akron Plays A Key Role In New Book ‘The Smartest Places On Earth’ [Crain’s Cleveland Business]
…the book is “the remarkable story of how rustbelt cities such as Akron and Albany in the United States and Eindhoven in Europe are becoming the unlikely hotspots of global innovation, where sharing brainpower and making things smarter — not cheaper — is creating a new economy that is turning globalization on its head.”
How The Rust Belt Is Repopulating Itself [Huffington Post]
At a time when the national debate about immigration has become increasingly tense — and leading presidential candidate Donald Trump has advocated mass deportations — Dayton has continued to create its own on-the-ground solutions far beneath the high-level storms.
Tree Farms Coming To Vacant Lots In St. Louis [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
…such projects will turn empty lots from a liability that costs the city thousands of dollars a year to maintain into an asset. The 42 lots make up about 3 acres of land, and all are in the city’s 22nd Ward in north St. Louis, around the area of Clara and St. Edward avenues. About 1,500 hybrid poplars will be planted.
Pittsburgh’s Youth-Driven Food Boom [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
No one can pinpoint whether it was the artists or techies or chefs who got the revitalization rolling. But there’s no denying that restaurants play a starring role in the story Pittsburgh now tells about itself. The allure of inhabiting a Hot New Food Town — be it Nashville or Richmond, Virginia, or Portland (Oregon or Maine) — helps persuade young people to visit, to move in and to stay.
Banner photo of Lake Erie algae bloom by T. Archer via NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.