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Rusk Report, published in York Daily Record, nearing 20 years old


The cover of the original Rusk Report of 1996, circulated to readers of the York, Pa., Daily Record. 

The Rusk Report is an often-cited document when discussions in York County turn to York City’s financial woes.

The 1996 report, and a followup document 6 years later, covered a lot of ground, and the two reports’ recommendations were widely distributed in special sections to readers of the York Daily Record and beyond.

Here’s a summary of report author David Rusk’s thinking about York County, excerpted from the second report:


“I praised York County’s ‘prosperous farms still covering many gently rolling slopes and valley bottoms,’ its ‘country crossroads villages embodying small town America,’ the ‘many factories around York City, Hanover, or Red Lion testifying to a strong local economy,’ and the visual delights of historic York City.

“But I concluded that ‘suburban sprawl, concentrated poverty, and fiscal disparities are eroding York County’s quality of life. They aren’t just York City’s problems. They are county-wide problems. They must be addressed through county-wide strategies.’

“And I recommended specific actions to manage the county’s growth, create mixed-income communities, share local revenues equitably, and revive historic York City, potentially the county’s most valuable asset.”

One of those often quoting the report nowadays is the York Daily Record. This from a  recent editorial gives an assessment about the state of things in the past 20 years:

“In the end, this all comes back to the Rusk Report. We know, those words make your eyes glaze over. But nearly 20 years ago urban expert David Rusk accurately assessed the problem, presciently predicted what would happen here if nothing changed — and offered solutions.

“Well, almost none of his solutions have been implemented.”

Rusk Report No. 3, anyone? Or too much talk, and not enough action?

Here they are:

Rusk Report I, 1996.

Rusk Report II, 2002.

 Also of interest:

– Dennis Hetzel, editor of the York Daily Record, when the Rusk Reports were issued writes a bit about these important documents on Facebook.

– Here’s a report about one return visit David Rusk made to York, Pa.