Is Yellow Springs Becoming A Bedroom Community? WYSO’s Lewis Wallace Talks To Karen Wintrow
The village of Yellow Springs, on the surface, is hopping economically. Property values are headed up, and downtown vacancies are low. Antioch College is growing and just opened a renovated fitness and wellness center. But just below the surface, the village has a lot of the same issues as other parts of the region. A lack of well-paying jobs means it’s becoming more of a bedroom community. The Yellow Springs News has reported that most people who work in town live out of town, while most residents are commuters.
Karen Wintrow with the Yellow Springs Village Council and Chamber of Commerce says Yellow Springs is a local and regional destination, but that means jobs are concentrated in the service industry.
“There is some stagnation,” she says, for low-wage workers in the village. “It’s tough for them to get ahead."
Wintrow thinks wellness and creative work are also growing industries in Yellow Springs, but a revitalized industrial base would be the best way to bring a wider range of job opportunities to the village. Meanwhile, the local government’s expenses are going up as its income has flatlined—most of the local government funding comes from income tax, and state support has been cut significantly in recent years.
“Utility costs are spread under a much smaller group of people,” she says. Again, industrial growth could be a way to combat that, particularly as Yellow Springs prepares to upgrade its water plant to the tune of $3 million.
Finally, the cost of housing can be prohibitive: Yellow Springs’ property values are high, and rentals are few and far between.
“Anything we can do to reduce the cost of living helps to balance that out,” she says.
Under Construction is WYSO’s series on growth in the greater Dayton area. We dig underneath the physical and economic markers of growth to look at the human consequences. Check back Thursdays for new installments. Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, economics reporter and substitute morning host. Follow him @lewispants.