Why are Clevelanders so negative about our city? Time and time again I hear native Clevelanders sending a negative message about Cleveland. The message is often inaccurate to boot. As an outsider, Cleveland is a great place to live because it has all the amenities of a big city, but things are less expensive and everything and everyone is more approachable. I’m not saying the City has nothing to work on, but it is improving and that is the important headline. It ought to be and needs to be positive.

Last Saturday Cleveland hosted half a million people for the St. Patrick’s day parade, the Cleveland International Film Festival begins tomorrow and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions occur next month. People are interested in Cleveland for what it is and what it can become. For profit, nonprofit and government entities are working hard to improve Cleveland and progress is being made. Despite all the positive news to report, articles like this one are published: “Company's coming for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions, Cleveland film fest, and Cleveland has a lot of cleaning up to do,” highlighting what’s wrong and not what’s right. 

This article describes a tour of Cleveland via the Rapid from Cleveland Hopkins airport to downtown. It points out graffiti and tires along the way. Along with the blight-indicating graffiti, the article points out trash that’s viewable from the train. Apparently RTA (Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority) does an annual clean-up but that hasn’t been scheduled yet, and their funding is tight so clean-up is limited regardless. The article ends with “So c’mon, Cleveland, clean it up!” The last I checked Cleveland was like many cities, sometimes it is dirty and some areas are dirtier than others. Train tracks are reliable culprits. 

My point is not to refute the “facts” of the article, but rather to challenge the basis of it. On the same newspaper page that this article was published there was an article celebrating filmmakers coming to Cleveland. Filmmakers, some of those who are here for the Film Festival, want to use the City in more films because it is cost effective and Cleveland is the right community to host production. Not all news is positive, but making negative news is not what Cleveland needs. Cleveland is doing better, and it is time for Clevelanders to understand that the “company” sees value in this city and everyone needs to start believing that it can be great!

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Copyright © 2012 Taryn Gress; available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

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