Among the cities and towns in Hokkaido that I have visited, I think Kushiro is probably the most critical in need for an overhaul.
The tourist activities in the city do need a serious review if they still want to attract any tourist. When I walk along the street, it is easy to spot shops with no shoppers or is already empty for rent/sale. Since Hokkaido is selected to be 1 of main areas for Solar Panel development, I would suggest that it can develop in Kushiro, so that the city would have fresh money/people/ideas to revive the city.
I would recommend the stalls in the Fisherman's Wharf and the make it yourself sushi on rice in the fish market.
The seafood is fresh and tasted great.
Very quiet city. Good food near entertainment street, which is very nar the Train stn. Good base to visit Lake Akan and the crane reserve.