Ohio State coach Urban Meyer co-hosted a free football camp for 225 area children at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, on July 5 and gave a publicity boon to his hometown county that it sorely needs.
Meyer grew up in neighboring Ashtabula, Ohio—my own hometown as well. He hosted the camp alongside Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood.
This story is heartening for a number of reasons. Ashtabula County is an area that can use this type of attention from a high-profile hometown guy like Meyer. The city of Ashtabula itself has been featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as “a city that cries despair.”
Ashtabula was a booming city in the 1950s and has been ravaged for decades by the downfall of industry, fitting neatly into that mid-western “rust belt” narrative.
The county experienced a huge loss of manufacturing jobs between 1954 and 2002, upwards of 50 percent. Between 2005 and 2010, the total number of jobs across all industries in Ashtabula County decreased by 4,277.
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