Detroit considers ways to downsize

March 27, 2010 at 11:58 AM
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DETROIT, March 27 (UPI) -- The mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, says Detroit should follow his city's lead in downsizing while capitalizing on its vacant land.

People moving away because of losses in the steel industry forced Youngstown to admit in the 1990s that it wasn't going to regain lost residents and no one industry was going to turn things around, Mayor Jay Williams said Friday at a symposium in Detroit on downsizing.

Youngstown offered incentives to convince residents to move to more populated areas in order to reduce services in others, the Detroit News reported Saturday. Youngstown, for example, doesn't spend money on rehabbing homes of low-income residents in underpopulated areas, Williams said.

Similar methods are being tried in Flint, Mich., where tracts of vacant land and tax breaks encourage new development, said Dan Kildee, founder of the Genesee County Land Bank.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has said he is considering ways to downsize Detroit to reflect its population decline from 1.8 million in 1950 to fewer than 900,000 residents today.

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