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Economy and Business

Suburban sprawl hits Cuyahoga County tax base
Cleveland State study finds sprawl spilling out to neighboring counties.

Simon Husted
In The Region:

A new study says suburban sprawl is no longer just hurting Cleveland and some inner-ring suburbs; the pain is beginning to reach all of Cuyahoga County and its tax base.

Tom Bier is an urban studies professor at Cleveland State University. He says after 200 years of careless growth, Cuyahoga County has no more green fields to tear up for housing. So, he says most suburban sprawl nowadays is spilling over to neighboring counties like Lake, Geauga, Portage and Lorain.

Listen to Bier's take on unchecked sprawl.

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“The reality is now, when you got a county that is built out, like Cuyahoga, the only way it can grow its tax base is to redevelop its old core and renew the old places," Bier says. "If it doesn’t do that then we can look to the next 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years of steady decline.”

Bier acknowledges that the loss of manufacturing jobs has contributed to the economic decline of Cleveland. But he argues that state government is also to blame because it expects old communities to solve problems for themselves when a regional and statewide approach is needed.

He says lawmakers should consider incentives such as income-tax breaks to keep people from moving out of cities. 

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