March 6, 2021

Henderson, Kentucky’s Riverwalk Along the Ohio River Shows Value of Public Investment

HENDERSON, KY — The 981-mile Ohio River Valley, which extends from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill. is full of surprises these days. Pittsburgh shed its sooty industrial coat of the 20th century to emerge as a center of engineering and biomedical innovation. Cincinnati, battered by race riots and disinvestment, is building a $1 billion riverfront neighborhood and a streetcar line. Louisville’s days as a meatpacking hub are long gone. Now it’s the growing capital of the …

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Owensboro Convention Center Opens With Big Party; Senators Paul and McConnell Not Among The Guests

OWENSBORO, KY — In February 2009, in the very depths of the Great Recession, seven of the nine commissioners elected to lead this capable city and surrounding Daviess County took a long breath, understood the political consequences, and approved a modest increase in a local tax to generate $80 million to build a new downtown. Though just two of the seven officials remain in office, what they accomplished in a single courageous vote achieved three distinct …

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Owensboro’s Big Step Up To Relevance

OWENSBORO, KY — Senator Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky native and Senate Republican leader, took his place several years ago at the head of his party’s pack of ideologues who countenanced disinvestment, lower taxes, and less spending on public projects with public purposes. But here in Owensboro, a small city perched on a high bluff on a big bend of the Ohio River, the senator’s name graces a year-old riverwalk and plaza in Smothers Park, the …

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Water, Energy and the Ohio River Valley’s New Course

ATHENS, OHIO – Few places in the United States better understand the economically essential and ecologically risky accord between energy and water than this southeast Ohio town. Athens, where Ohio University was founded in 1804 as a Northwest Territories frontier institution, was once surrounded by dozens of working underground coal mines. Thousands of miners spent much of the 19th and half of the 20th centuries digging long horizontal and vertical shafts that essentially hollowed out …

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Buffalo’s Comeback in the New York Times

BUFFALO – In 2002, when he was recruited to help turn 120 acres of this city’s underperforming downtown into a jobs-producing, world-class campus for medical research, education, and clinical care, Matt Enstice was among a select few of the city’s young professionals who was convinced the idea wasn’t a joke. Mr Enstice knows jokes. Prior to returning home and becoming the president and chief executive of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., the non-profit group …

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In New York Times: Akron Rubs Off Some Rust

AKRON, OH. – Until LeBron James became this city’s signature global brand, that honor belonged to the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.  The world’s third largest tire manufacturer, with $21 billion in sales revenue last year, was founded here in 1898 and stayed put even as B.F. Goodrich, Firestone, and General Tire, its biggest competitors, closed their Akron plants and left in the 1980s. In a word, Goodyear and Mr. James, who was born and …

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Owensboro’s ROMP Bluegrass Festival: “The Best In Any Real Radius.”

OWENSBORO, KY — When Gabrielle Gray was recruited ten years ago from Somerset, KY to direct the International Bluegrass Music Museum here, and to found an annual bluegrass music festival, this was a comfortable southern city stuck in a mid-American mustiness, a city in need of a fresh scrub. Two hours downriver from Louisville, Owensboro’s populous, 54,000 residents in 2000, was barely growing. Its downtown largely consisted of parking lots and empty turn of the 20th …

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In Civic Dispute Over Fracking, Lessons of Pragmatism From Previous Fights

The economic benefits of deep shale gas development are becoming apparent, especially in Ohio where two new steel plants have been built, and three more expanded to serve the drilling and production sector. U.S. Steel’s new plant in Lorrain prepares drilling pipe for deep well development. Photo/Keith Schneider Last month an 11-member collaborative – two foundations, five state and national environmental organizations, four energy companies — announced they had formed the Center for Sustainable Shale …

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More Evidence of Rust Belt Revival

OWENSBORO, KY — When it’s completed next year, the 169,000-square-foot, $48 million convention center under construction in this city of 57,000 will arguably be the most striking architectural achievement on the Ohio River. With its angles and glass and cantilevered roof, the convention center dwells atop a high river bluff like a palace to the future. Which is almost precisely what it is. Almost two years ago I first set foot in Owensboro to undertake …

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A Cathedral to Beer in Pittsburgh

The Church Brew Works opened in 1996 in the then 94-year-old former St. John The Baptist Roman Catholic church, and has thrived ever since. Photo/Keith Schneider PITTSBURGH — On the way to President Obama’s second inauguration last week we celebrated at the most confounding brew pub I’ve ever visited: The Church Brew Works. As an example of urban design serving and celebrating a new use, the pub is hard to beat. First of all is …

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