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Repopulating the City

Lisa Austin & Stephen Sonnenberg

As most readers know, the planning firm CZB is working on a comprehensive plan for the city of Erie. One of the biggest concerns CZB has outlined is the issue of blighted properties and diminishing real estate values. Though Erie was built to accommodate 140,000 people, today, fewer than 100,000 live in the city. But, thousands of people work in Erie. Every weekday morning, Erie’s highways and arterial streets are clogged with suburbanites rushing to jobs in the city. This is partly due to the fact that the city of Erie has no residency requirement; many of the city’s police, fire-fighters, school teachers, and office workers live in Millcreek, Summit, Harborcreek, and beyond. Concerns about safety, schools, and taxes drove many people out of the city. Sadly, it is a worsening spiral: as more residents leave, taxes go up, crime increases, schools suffer, and more residents leave.

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