I’m doing my Jack Kerouac impersonation this week as I crisscross the Rust Belt of America to visit a client. In doing so, I’ve had to zoom past Gary and Hammond, Indiana, respectively.
I know that each was once a Mecca of steel and heavy manufacturing. But, today, each seems littered with empty, rundown buildings sprinkled in between a few factories spewing out god knows what toxins. Dante’s Inferno comes to mind.
The bleak landscape got me thinking: how does a Gary or Hammond attract new, service-sector businesses? Do they offer a plethora of tax incentives so appealing that a technology company would actually consider relocating next to a row of burnt-out shells? Are the advertising campaigns all print? I’d think any photos would be a non-starter.
I may be unaware of some major revitalization stories that are helping each city rebuild. But, I doubt it. Even on Gary’s sunniest days, it’s dark and gloomy. And, I can’t see any package of incentives or publicity programs changing that view anytime soon.