March 25, 2011

Paul Dyster's Ghost Town

“Looking at the large number of vacant residential units in the city you can tell we’ve suffered a significant population decline over the past decade,” Dyster said. “The question is: What do you do about it? We’re trying to treat the symptoms. The disease is population loss.”

Wow. Inspirational words, Paul. We suppose that, like an alcoholic at his first AA meeting, it’s good that you finally admit you’ve got a problem.

We just wish that the mayor of the Cataract City could offer up something approximating a plan for addressing that problem. But, maybe the strain of losing one in ten Falls residents over the past decade was too much for Dyster—so much so that he just can’t figure out the root cause of his problem.

Of course, we don’t really expect such things from Mayor Dyster. His inept leadership over the past three years has shown us that all he’s really good for is waiting around for Louise Slaughter to show up with her latest giant check from the federal government, when he dutifully trots out for the photo op and accepts someone else’s federal income taxes like a handout.

Honestly, given the clowns that surround Dyster, this isn’t surprising. Consider how the man Dyster entrusted with “community development” spun the loss of a tenth of his city’s population:

“It’s a very good thing for Niagara Falls,” Community Development Director Robert Antonucci said, referring to the 50,000-plus population figure. “Fifty thousand is the first benchmark that they look at. To fall below it would potentially jeopardize our entitlement status.”

Well, we suppose looking for the silver lining is better than the alternative, which would be to admit that, if you’re tasked with community development, and you lost a tenth of your city’s residents, maybe you’re not doing a very good job. But, hey, you can always brag about your “entitlement status.” It would be easier than trying to find the real problem.

Niagara Falls finds itself down to 50,193 people. Some of our readers will recall that this city was not that long ago home to 120,000 people. We can’t help but wonder what it is that those 70,000 people figured out that the other 50,000 haven’t yet.

Fortunately, though, even without addressing the real problem, prosperity is just around the corner:

Dyster said research by organizations like the Washington, D.C. think tank, the Brookings Institution, suggest demographics and consumer preferences in America are beginning to change and in the years ahead younger, educated people in particular will be looking for the type of “walkable” urban environments cities like Niagara Falls will have to offer if they continue to make wise decisions and sound investments in their infrastructure and offerings.

Which is just great news. Niagara Falls may not have jobs, but if you don’t own a car, it’s gonna be a great place to live. A liberal think tank said so!

Now, if only the Brookings Institution could explain the 29% population growth in the very un-walkable Town of Wheatfield.

After all, it couldn’t have anything to do with municipal tax rates.

1 comment:

sundayniagara said...

On this one, I generally agree with you. However, I do think NYS has done the most damage by chasing all the industry out of town.