Cleveland, OH Attracting people and employment to northeastern Ohio may come at the price of removing remnants of the area’s industrial manufacturing past. Ohio Sea Grant researchers are beginning a three-year project to study how job growth and property values would respond to a cleaner environment. With this information, they will make recommendations to policy makers about how use Lake Erie to build the economy.
"When we look at how Cleveland could attract businesses and people, we need to understand the role of Lake Erie, says Jeff Reutter, director of Ohio Sea Grant. "We also want to learn how people value the lake’s environmental assets to show the importance of protecting and improving those assets."
Drs. Elena Irwin and Mark Partridge, and Heather Stephens, economists from Ohio State University, will put dollar values on the demand of specific lake amenities, such as scenic views, or proximity to a beach. Using surveys, house price data, and demographic information of people moving into the area, the researchers will develop strategies for public officials to capitalize on Lake Erie’s attributes.
Northeastern Ohio is a relatively inexpensive place to live that has a lot of urban amenities and is home to a culturally diverse population. Because people want to live next to the lake, there is new housing along the coast. Standing in the way of economic growth are old industrial structures, polluted sites, and toxic waste areas. These sites that were once economic drivers have now become negatives, or disamenities for the region.
Irwin and Partridge will present their findings and recommendations in early 2013. With the information they gather, the researchers’ goal will be to position northeastern Ohio as an inviting spot for any type of business, whatever it may be.
"We’re very bad at picking the next hot sector," Partridge says. "It was the dot-coms in the ’90s, and then housing and real estate were big. We don’t know what the next great innovation will be, but we want to build an environment where those companies want to go. We need to build that foundation along Lake Erie and see Cleveland get its boom back."
Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 32 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For information on Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu .
To learn more about this Ohio Sea Grant-funded research, visit http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/_documents/twineline/v32i3.pdf
Elena Irwin, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University: 614-292-6449, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Mark Partridge, Professor, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University: 614-688-4907, email@example.com .