Springfield, Ohio: A Shrinking City Faces A Tough Economic Future

Springfield, Ohio: A Shrinking City Faces A Tough Economic Future

As it transitions away from manufacturing, the city relies more on service jobs, like in call centers or nursing homes. But they don’t pay well. So local officials are looking for something — anything — that gives the city an identity, a way to distinguish itself.

One of them, quite modestly, is geography. Some trucking distribution companies have come to Springfield because it’s convenient to two big interstates. And incomes did tick up last year. But that doesn’t get Springfield closer to the knowledge economy of tech or finance or design.

Via Uri Berliner/NPR.

A Piece Of The Past, A Price In The Present: Paying For The Erie Canal

A Piece Of The Past, A Price In The Present: Paying For The Erie Canal

Business is growing for the New York State Marine Highway Transportation Company, according to co-founder Rob Goldman. His crew has found steady work towing barges of stone and sometimes oversized cargo like fighter planes along an expanded Erie Canal, also known as the New York State Barge Canal, that was completed in 1918.

“Let’s face it: a barge can’t deliver to your front door. A truck can,” Goldman admits. “But if we work with the trucks and we work with the rail, we can each be as efficient as possible and use as little fuel as possible because we’re efficient.”

New York’s entire canal system, including the Erie Canal, had revenues of $1.5 million in 2014 against $55 million to operate and maintain itself.

From Hansi Lo Wang/NPR.

With Citizens’ Help, Cities Can Build A Better Bike Lane — And More

With Citizens’ Help, Cities Can Build A Better Bike Lane — And More

As Burlington and other cities adopt the scrappy tactics of their citizens, they’ll need to show that they can make good on tactical urbanism’s original principles — to move faster, try new things, and not be afraid to fail.

Tactical urbanism. So it has a name.

From Laurel Wamsley/NPR.

New National Monument Created in Maine’s North Woods

New National Monument Created in Maine’s North Woods

The new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is the 413th preserved area in the Park Service and the second national monument to have been designated in the state (after Acadia National Park’s precursor). It sits east of Baxter State Park in north-central Maine, more than 200 miles north of Portland.

The land was donated to the federal government this week by Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., a nonprofit foundation started by Roxanne Quimby, the co-founder of the Burt’s Bees line of natural products. The foundation also says it is creating an endowment to help cover maintenance expenses in the monument.

By Brian Clark Howard/National Geographic