Friday, March 24, 2017

Some of us don't have the sense to see Chicago's wonders; we're losing people

It seems not everybody shares the love I have for this magical land built along the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan – the Census Bureau reported this week the Chicago metropolitan area is nearly 20,000 residents smaller than it was a year ago.
Long-standing cultural institutions not enough to bring people to Chicago, ...
That would be the equivalent of an entire suburban community being suddenly obliterated from the map – although I’m sure urban development types would tell me it is people fleeing the city proper to go live in those suburbs.

FOR THE RECORD, the Census Bureau estimates that the Chicago-area population (including the portions that spill over the state lines into Indiana and Wisconsin) is 9.513 million.

Officially, the last Census count in 2010 showed the Chicago area at 9.461 million people. So we’re still bigger than we were a few years ago.

But the reality is that the estimated population count for this year is a 19,570 person drop compared to last year, which was an 11,324 person drop from the year before that.

It seems that when compared to other cities across the Great Lakes region and Midwest, we’re typical. Technically, the word out of Detroit, Cleveland and St. Louis is worse.

BUT WE IN Chicago have always thought of ourselves as worthy of being held to a higher standard. Hence, we notice that places like New York and Los Angeles experienced population hikes of 2-3 percent.
... nor are the newer novelties such as 'Cloud Gate'

Not huge, but not insignificant either.

Now I’m not about to claim that the Midwest is somehow dragging Chicago down, making the city that blue dot on a red sea as way too many politically-motivated maps depict these days. If anything, I always thought Chicago was the spiritual capital of this vast region that thinks the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have nothing on that great body of water known as the Great Lakes, and that one-time Chicago Tribune publisher Robert R. McCormick sort of had the right idea that “Chicagoland” was truly unique – even if his reasons why were a little half-cocked (or maybe were ahead of his time in predicting much of the region's political support for Donald J. Trump).
Corncobs along the Chicago River ...

I did notice the one demographer who told Crain’s Chicago Business that the Chicago area population is “flatlining,” as in we’ve dropped about as low as we can get and this is the bottom.

ALTHOUGH ANYBODY WITH sense knows we don’t bottom out until we literally become a ghost town – a place of long-abandoned structures just waiting for Mother Nature to whack the one-time site of the Second City with a massive tornado that causes everything to come tumbling down.
... and a gaudier structure located upstream

Now I’m sure some people are going to want to claim the politically partisan bickering that has occurred the past few years is somehow scaring people away.

I doubt it.

Largely because I think many people have enough sense to disregard the blowhard tendencies of the government officials they elect. Besides, most of the people who want to make that line of attack are more interested in blaming the “other side” for the population loss.
This shoreline of Lake Calumet is firmly located within the city limits
THEY WANT TO lambast somebody, rather than try to figure out the solution to our problems; which, admittedly, do include the fact that a significant number of people are willing to up and leave what I will always regard as the most wonderful city on Planet Earth.
Where else will you find streets named for Goethe?

Even if there are some people, particularly of African-American persuasion, who’d rather move back South to the lands their grandparents fled. Segregation isn’t what it once was down there, and our land of opportunity has fallen off as well.

Or there may be all those other individuals who push themselves out further and further away from Chicago’s downtown core to the point where they don’t want to think of themselves as being part of the metropolitan area.

Although I’m always inclined to think those people ultimately will be “punished” for their lack of faith by finding themselves so far out in the middle of “nowhere” that they’ll wind up longing for the days when they were a part of that wondrous urban area that gave us deep dish pizza, electrified blues music and a century’s worth of mediocre-to-bad baseball – both South and North sides!


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