Friday, May 31, 2013

Greensburg, PA to bolster economy through education and medicine

In a Pittsburgh Business Times article, Greensburg, a large suburb east of Pittsburgh, will attempt to build its economy around its current education and medical institutions. Like Pittsburgh, Greensburg's economy was based almost entirely on manufacturing. When the steel industry collapsed in the 1970s, it sent a ripple effect through the entire region; jobs left and the population began to dwindle. Now with the region showing some growth for the first time in decades, Greensburg will attempt to capitalize on some of the driving factors stimulating this growth.

The article referenced the relocation of UPMC's Children's Hospital to Lawrenceville stimulating growth in that neighborhood. The fact is that Lawrenceville was growing even before the hospital moved there. The Strip District has been experiencing growth and redevelopment for years, and it eventually spilled over into Lawrenceville. Both of these neighborhoods were primarily commercial and industrial centers, but have since given way to residential and mixed use development.

Given that, it would be wise for Greensburg to follow suit with this. The city should not focus solely on bolstering its campus of educational and medical institutions, but they should consider redevelopment and revitalization of some parts of the city through mixed use and residential development. I know there is some talk taking place about bringing a commuter rail line to Greensburg. Even though the heavy freight traffic would make such a venture almost impossible, I think this should be pursued. The train station could be transformed into an intermodal facility, bolstering demand for transit-oriented development. If Greensburg doesn't have any established yet, historic districts could bolster demand and reinvestment interest. Another thing to consider would be to modify its transit system.

Greensburg may have the educational and medical centers to base its economy on, but it doesn't necessarily have to be built entirely around these establishments. My ideas above represent only a few ideas of how this city can capitalize on its growth opportunities.

Here is the Business Times article: New Greensburg Economy: Meds and Eds