Monday, May 19, 2008

On Green Grass and Fences

For all of our hand wringing around these here parts, it's usual to read an article about how Pittsburgh is a downtown economic development "winner." That seems to be the case, however, at least according to the Kansas City Star, which compares its own $4 Billion investment in its downtown with places like Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City and Denver.

Overall, The Star analyzed the downtown progress made in Kansas City and 13 peer cities. The downtowns were compared in 16 statistical measures, but these comparisons have limitations. Some national statistics only measure the first half of this decade. Plus, different downtowns are in different stages of rebirth, with some starting earlier than Kansas City did.

Given all that, The Star’s analysis represents more of a snapshot than a complete picture.

That snapshot, though, shows Kansas City’s downtown progress below average in more than half of the comparisons with its peers — measures such as new bars, new hotels and office vacancy.

Basically, even with $4 billion invested in downtown so far this decade, we still don’t measure up all that well with other downtowns.
The best line, however, comes at the end from the Mayor of Kansas City:
“Pittsburgh’s a winner,” Funkhouser said. “We’re not close to Pittsburgh. It’s got a vibrant street life.

“It’s what I hope we’ll be like.”
The grass is always greener, I suppose.

No comments: