07/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

GM Grows Towns, Then Leaves

General Motors was once viewed as Miracle-Gro for small towns, taking places like Ontario, Ohio from a village of 700 people in 1956 to what is now a bustling town of nearly 5,500 with the best school district in the state.

Massena. Wilmington. Mansfield. Orion Township.

The GM factories that drove these towns to prosper for decades are now closing their doors in the wake of the company's collapse into bankruptcy. The financial spine for these cities will be ripped out with the shuttering of GM factories, starting a chain reaction of lost revenue for local business and public institutions.

This ripple effect will eventually spread to the entire country, but the Rust Belt will certainly be hit hardest.

[Do you live in a town bracing itself due to GM downsizing or do you run a business that will suffer directly? Tell us about the effect that shuttered GM factories will have on your community. Email with your story or fill out the form below. While other news outlets create maps of GM factories going out of business (WSJ has a great one), we will be creating interactive maps of the secondary affects of GM layoffs -- the mom and pop shops that will be forced to close and the city officials forced to cut local services.]

One of the towns that will be hit hardest is Pontiac, MI, where the assembly factory for Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra will soon close, putting over 2,800 out of work. The AP reports that Pontiac's state-appointed emergency financial manager, Fred Leeb, believes that closing the East Assembly Plant will cost Pontiac about one-fifth of its $50 million general fund. That means less funding for schools, police, and social services.

Factories closing soon in other towns:

Orion, MI: faces the loss of nearly 4,000 employees at its Pontiac G6 and Chevrolet Malibu assembly plant.

Wilmington, DE: 62-year-old operation with 1,060 workers to close next month.

Mansfield, OH: 721 workers to be laid off with the closure of the town's stamping plant.