It’s not “your money” to build Huber Heights Music Center, Councilman Campbell

What happened to Memorial Hall once the Victoria reopened, and then what happened to the Victoria once the Schuster opened? Or what has happened to Hara Arena since UD Arena, the Dayton Convention Center and then the Nutter Center opened? What is the utilization rates of all these venues? Hint: our population hasn’t grown at near the rate of the seats and spaces for events.

Now Huber Heights is being run by? Concert Promoters? Really? I’ve known Mick Montgomery (Canal Street Tavern) and Jerry Gilloti (Gillys) for years and I doubt there is anyone who knows the vagaries of booking music acts better than these two men, and I’ll place a bet neither of them would say Dayton can support a “Fraze 2” in Huber Heights without cannibalizing the track record of the Fraze.

(Huber Heights Councilman Mark) Campbell said Huber Heights hasn’t identified how the music center would be funded, but didn’t rule out potential sources such as federal grant money, sponsors and selling the venue’s naming rights. That could generate about $6 million to help offset the cost, Campbell said. TIF money also could be used to build it and once the music center is fully operational, Campbell projects it would generate about $500,000 in profit per year.

City officials said the music center would not compete with the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, a popular 4,300-seat venue that opened in 1991. The $2.6 million venue was funded 100 percent by community donations, according to Amy Berlean, Kettering’s community information manager.

Campbell hopes the city can work with Kettering to “enhance the region.”

“The Fraze doesn’t have the same type of location we do,” Campbell said. “They have longevity. The buzz in government is cooperation and working together. It’s a really good opportunity to put our money where our mouth is. What’s good for us is what’s good for the region, and vice versa.”

via Huber music center creates high hopes.

There used to be a lot more ice rinks in town before Kettering built one with tax dollars. Dayton had a Moore’s Nautilus downtown until they sunk millions of tax dollars into Joe Moores competition- the downtown YMCA and Joe closed his gym and said goodbye to Dayton. There is a reason you don’t see private libraries- who could charge for entry and renting books when there is a tax supported library that doesn’t charge? Private swimming pools also have struggled as have private golf courses that are priced for the “common man.” The list goes on.

The sad truth is that The Fraze didn’t make money for a good number of years. Finding and retaining the right mix of a successful promoter/booking agent, advertising, good weather and the right acts on the right days is almost a black magic art. Big names won’t even stop at a venue in a small market on prime weekend nights, and only if they are on the way between other gigs. This isn’t as easy as build it and they will come. Some idiot has even thought that Dayton could support two professional hockey teams at once which was a joke. UD and WSU won’t even play each other in basketball- and WSU has never been able to come close to filling the Nutter the way UD does for hoops. There are many factors at play and no guarantees.

If we had regional government, this wouldn’t even be on the horizon, but we don’t. Last I checked, Huber Heights citizens wouldn’t vote to increase their taxes for a needed school levy, yet the city council seems to think that they should speculate $18 million on a concert hall? Mr. Campbell talks about “putting our money where our mouth is” and misses the point- it’s the people’s money and they would prefer to use it to put food in their mouths, than support a concert venue that may or may not make money, but will most definitely cost them premium dollar to go to.

Kettering has evolved over the years into a model for a balanced and effective community that seems to put the needs of its citizens first. Good schools, good neighborhoods, good parks and recreation. If Huber Heights thinks it’s ready to be Kettering 2, that’s fine, but the problem is, very few followers ever manage to move to number one by doing the same thing. And, people willing and able to plop down $50 or more per ticket to concerts are a shrinking market as those in the know will tell you.

All this “development” is just sprawl being mislabeled, just like “our money” is. Huber Heights doesn’t exactly have a track record of developmental success with “The Heights” a multimillion dollar housing boondoggle in the same area as this mythical music venue. This concert venue is unneeded and unnecessary and unrealistic. Find other ways to spend tax dollars to improve the city, without killing one of our region’s true gems- The Fraze.

Taxation without representation: Township should be folded

Apparently, you can have it both ways in Ohio. Selective income taxes are apparently OK if your township can’t pay the bills. Taxes that are being passed without a vote by the public.

The concept of urban townships is a farce that has been allowed to continue so we can supply income tax havens for the wealthy. There is absolutely no legitimate reasons for this form of government in urban areas – where the services are a hodge-podge between the county and the township. The cutoff in Ohio is 5,000 residents- with the main difference (until now) is that only cities can levy income taxes.

From today’s Dayton Daily News:

Walmart and Sam’s Club on Miller Lane agreed to an employee income tax that will help pay for police services, township trustees said Tuesday night.

The sister retailers called the township Friday and said they would become part of a Joint Economic Development District with Vandalia, paying income taxes estimated to be about $258,000.

Townships, which can not collect taxes, enter into these agreements with cities. Butler will collect 85 percent of the tax revenue, while Vandalia keeps 15 percent as fees.

“Nobody wants to put a levy on the ballot,” said Trustee President Michael Lang. “To me, this is a complete game-changer. We hope in a short amount of time to get the other businesses in the JEDD.

“We may still need a levy in the spring, but we have time to see where this puts us.”

Butler Twp. has been operating its 14-member police force on $1.1 million budget generated from a previous 4.9 mills levy, while also supplementing that money with an average of $350,000 yearly from its general fund. A 3.0 mills levy was estimated to generate $695,303 in new money, but that was before home values tied to the levy were downgraded last week. The extra revenue was going to go into the township’s general fund.

Trustees said they were looking to Miller Lane businesses for help since those businesses account for more than half the township’s police calls. The township has already laid off one officer, and Chief Danny Hobbs retires at the end of the month, further reducing the staff to 13.

It was feared without a levy or a JEDD, the police force would have to be further reduced next year.

“They (Walmart and Sam’s) understand the importance of this,” Trustee Martin Russell said. “They don’t want services reduced.”

via Butler Twp. cancels police levy after 2 retailers agree to JEDD.

The real question is how many property tax abatements were granted along Miller Lane to “lure” jobs in the name of “economic development.” The Benchwood Road exit was an earlier version of the Austin Road exchange, adding more sprawl and unneeded retail space to an already overbuilt market. We will soon see the same problems for Miami Township thanks to their manipulations at Austin Road.

This “agreement” to collect income taxes for the Township made by members of the Township and Walmart- should be questioned in the courts. The trustees should be tossed from office- and ultimately, the township should be disbanded and merged into Vandalia (the taxing authority) immediately.

How the citizens of this community can stand idle while this kind of back room shenanigans take place is one of the reasons “Greater” Dayton is such a dysfunctional mess. If we moved to a “One Dayton” regional government, we wouldn’t be having this kind of BS going on.

Government is meaningless, except as a sucker in my Ponzi scheme…

If you or I wanted to build a house, out in the middle of nowhere, and asked the local government to build us a road, or garage, and then give you the ability to set and collect your own taxes- we’d be laughed at.

However, when Randy Gunlock, of RG Properties, wants to build, the local governments all fall all over themselves to give poor Mr. Gunlock all the help and support he needs. You want an intersection- here you go, you need roads, of course, retaining ponds for runoff, don’t worry Mr. G we’ve got you covered, a parking garage- we’ll build it- and let you run it, and pay us with “payments in lieu of taxes” and when you’ve paid it off- it’s yours.

Oh, and what does Mr. Gunlock have to promise in return? Well, it’s really not spelled out. It’s all one directional. Tax dollar amounts are clear- rights to Mr. Gunlock are clear- responsibilities of Mr. Gunlock? Penalties for non-performance- Hah!

If I were a full-time reporter for a real newspaper, I’d not only have all these documents provided to my readers to analyze- I’d also have a complete timeline of all the real estate transactions in the area of the Austin Road interchange going back over the last twenty years. It’s a large undertaking- but when we look at the tens of millions of dollars that have been funneled that way- and how most of it has gone into the pockets of a select few- but mostly Mr. Gunlock’s pocket- it should be a cause for a major investigation. However, I’m just the local alternative news source- very part time, not making a dime for crawling under the veil of bull crap that’s fed the community- so you only get what I can stumble across and work with what is fed to me.
Like the “memorandum of understanding” between RG Properties and Miami Township and the TID that arrived Thursday in an unmarked envelope.

But before I try to dissect that lopsided deal with the devil, we’ve got to look at the propaganda coming out of the local “economic development” cartel- from the Dayton Daily News- and just remember, propaganda always works best when it’s based on fear:

Joe Tuss, the county’s assistant administrator, said the presence of any jobs at the Austin Interchange adds up to economic development because many of the companies moving there were considering leaving the area altogether. He said businesses have invested close to $90 million for buildings near the interchange in addition to the $75 million in public funds that paid to build the interchange and relocate and widen nearby roads and utilities.

Local companies, including Moto-man Robotics and Teradata have moved to the Austin Boulevard Interchange area. A law firm, Thompson Hine LLC, recently announced plans to move more than 100 workers from downtown Dayton to new office space near the interchange.

A development agreement between Montgomery County, Miami Twp., Miamisburg, Springboro, the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District and developer R.G. Properties Inc. to develop 1,200 acres around the new highway interchange calls for the work to create 20,000 jobs there by 2029. The agreement does not stipulate that the jobs must be new to the region. Nearly 70 percent of the 1,200-acre development is in Miami Twp. and the rest is in Springboro and Miamisburg.

Jobs were just one of the goals for building the interchange. Proponents sought an I-75 interchange at Austin Pike for more than two decades as a way to ease traffic congestion on Ohio 725 and Ohio 741 near the Dayton Mall and to open up development opportunities in southern Montgomery County from Miamisburg to the Warren County line. One of the primary goals was to make southern Montgomery County more competitive in attracting businesses.

“What we’re trying to do is provide the best alternative for people to be in Montgomery County,” said R.G. Properties’ CEO Randy Gunlock. “Whether that alternative is used by existing businesses or new businesses is somewhat irrelevant.”

This week Miamisburg’s city council approved $4 million in financing to buy 81 acres of land along Byers Road near the intersection. City officials say they hope to sell the land this year to an unnamed developer….

Gunlock said governmental boundaries are meaningless to business owners and retaining companies is as important as creating new jobs. Gunlock said the Austin Interchange is doing both.

“Of course this is economic development,” he said. “Our job as a developer is to provide the best opportunity for businesses to flourish and that’s what we’re doing. How would you feel if we could have retained the jobs from NCR that moved to Atlanta?”

via Dayton Daily News Archive of Past Articles | Austin project better at keeping jobs in area.

One must ask how a city council can legally buy 81 acres of land, without clearly expressing what the public need is for this purchase- and how it can be based on a “hope to sell” to an “unnamed developer.” If that doesn’t set off immediate questions of legality and integrity of public officials, I don’t know what else does. Since when did your tax dollars become fair game for real estate speculation?

Gunlock’s quote about governmental boundaries being meaningless – right before talking about retaining NCR-  is laughable. Gunlock is the master of playing one governmental boundary against another in the location of his developments. If governmental boundaries truly didn’t matter, he should be the first on the bandwagon for regional government and reduction of governmental overhead.

But feudal warfare is great for the king of the tax abatement, and Mr. Gunlock has plenty of experience from dangling super WalMarts to communities across the Midwest- he’s now perfecting his art on the misguided local Podunk authorities, while recreating in his indoor ice rink in his back yard.

Looking over the “Memorandum of Understanding” between RG, the TID and Miami Township Trustees– due to be voted on this Tuesday, one has to wonder what are we getting in return for this massive tax dollar donation to RG?

Section B:

Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding dated November 26, 2008 among Developer, the TID, the Township, the Board of County Commissioners of Montgomery County, Ohio (the “County”), the City of Miamisburg and the City of Springboro, the parties have proceeded with the implementation of a master plan based on a preliminary conceptual plan prepared by the Developer for the Property and other land owned by Developer in the area of the Austin Road interchange, and Developer has obtained from the Township appropriate zoning of the Property supporting a mixed use development as contemplated by the master plan.

So despite having zoning and planning authorities- we’ve let RG do the plan for us. No leadership at all on what is best for the region that already has an abundance of vacant commercial and residential space due to population stagnation and sprawl.

F. The Township and the TID believe that the Phase II improvements will promote the highest and best use of the land through the development of amenities and employment opportunities that will encourage knowledge workers to live, work and recreate in the Township and benefit the entire region. To that end, the TID and the Township are willing to pursue and provide financial support for the public infrastructure improvements supporting the development of the Property which will, in turn, support the entire Austin interchange area.

Two things should set alarms off: “highest and best use” is a purely subjective statement- lacking any proof of need. If in fact all these people do come to the “Township” – it will break the threshold of population and should be converted into yet another city. Secondly- “encouraging knowledge workers” is a total flight of fancy, with no substantive description of what a “knowledge worker” is- or what they bring to the table. Because of these two clauses- we’re opening up our wallets to give money to RG Properties.

H. Developer recognizes that the obligation of the public parties to commit to finance the Phase II public improvements is based on Developer’s commitment to develop and construct the Phase II private improvements set forth in this Memorandum.

The public parties have an obligation- the developer only has a commitment. No contract. The difference in words is vast in a court of law- one must perform, the other only says he will.

Then comes the escape clause:

I. The Parties desire to enter into this Memorandum to memorialize certain understandings relating to the scope of Phase II and the Parties’ respective obligations relating to the Phase II development. The Parties recognize, however, that certain sources of funding have not yet been fully developed, and a more detailed agreement will need to be entered into when the funding sources are fully identified and the requirements relating to that funding can be addressed in greater detail.

What are the “certain understandings”- and why aren’t they spelled out? In other words, Gunlock can’t and won’t swing this deal until he’s shown that the government is going to back his project with a bunch of money down. When was the last time the government financed 20% or more of your business- with only promises of future performance?

So what is RG to build in phase two for these “knowledge workers”

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual benefits and obligations contained in this Memorandum, the Parties agree as follows:
1. Developer’s Phase II Obligations. Subject to the terms of this Memorandum, Developer agrees to proceed with the construction and completion of the following private improvements on the Property (the “Phase II Private Improvements”):
(a) The “Village Area” and adjacent retail area consisting of approximately 70,000 square feet of retail building area on the first floor and approximately 186 residential apartment units on floors 2 through 4 above part or all of the retail buildings;
(b) A 14 screen cinema adjacent to the Village Area; and
(c) An office building with a minimum of 120,000 square feet.
The Phase II Private Improvements, together with an approximately 520 space parking structure that will be subject to real estate taxation, will have a minimum value of $50,000,000.00.

So- 70,000 additional square feet of retail area- because we don’t have enough at the Dayton Mall?

14 more movie screens- because the Rave Cinemas at the Dayton Mall plus the Danbury- aren’t enough movie screens? Remember how we used to have movies in the Dayton Mall, but they were forced out by Shocase Crosspointe, which was then closed because of the Rave Cinema complex? How many movie screens do we need- especially since movie attendance has been dropping? So a 120,000 square foot office building is really the only thing that provides “knowledge worker” amenities- and – don’t worry- that garage, we’ll come back to it…

Because- the taxpayers are really paying $10 mill to build the garage and roads and parks:

2. Phase II Public Improvements. Subject to the terms of this Memorandum, the Township (with the cooperation of the TID) agrees to undertake $10,000,000.00 of public improvements on or supporting the Property, to consist of the following (the “Phase II Public Improvements”):
(a) Public street and utility improvements in the areas shown on Exhibit B attached to this Memorandum (the “Roadway Infrastructure”);
(b) One parking structure adjacent to the Village Area (the “Parking Structure”) as shown on Exhibit B; and
(c) Park improvements in the Village Area (the “Park Improvements”).
The Phase II Public Improvements also may include other related amenities and costs

Because, no matter what the developer does- the Twp. is going to build the garage gratis:

The Parties agree that it is impossible at the execution of this Memorandum to predict all of the factors that will impact the timing and development of the Phase II Private Improvements and the Phase II Public Improvements. The parties agree to be flexible and work cooperatively as the project moves through the stages in order to maximize the development potential of the Property. For example, the parties may agree to delay or accelerate the timing of certain Phase II Private Improvements to correspond with the Phase II Public Improvements. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Township agrees to commence construction of the Parking Structure no later than August 1, 2011.

Yep- we build- RG does what they please- because it is “impossible to predict all of the factors.” Hmm- I always thought contracts were contracts and laid out specific duties and obligations- but this is a memo- for the developer only.

In section 4:

(b) The Parking Structure will be financed through the TID’s issuance of bonds pursuant to an agreement (“Cooperative Agreement”) among the Developer, the TID and the Township. Under the Cooperative Agreement, the Township will commit to make all payments of principal and interest on the bonds issued by the TID, and will pledge its available non-tax revenues to the funding of such payments, such non-tax revenues consisting of payments in lieu of taxes received by the Township under the applicable TIF arrangements that include the Property.

I will skip another section that is critical- to finish off the garage deal:

7. Parking Structure. The Parties intend that the Parking Structure funded by public funding, as part of the Phase II Public Improvements, will be owned by a public authority during the useful life of the structure (or, if permitted by law, the term of the bonds), with management obligations delegated to Developer pursuant to a management agreement. Under the management agreement, Developer will have the ability to establish rules that limit the use of the Parking Structure to specific users in the development during business hours, but be open to the public after business hours. If necessary in order to permit this arrangement, the Parking Structure funding shall be handled through taxable bonds rather than tax exempt bonds. The management agreement will place all costs of operation, maintenance, repair and other costs and expenses of the Parking Structure upon the Developer. At the end of the term of the management agreement, title to the Parking Structure shall be transferred to Developer.

Translation: Tax dollars build it. Payments in lieu of taxes pay the taxpayers back, and when it’s paid off, RG Properties owns it free and clear. And, by the way, all parking revenue- goes to RG Properties as well.

So, you build your house, pay for it money that should have been paid as taxes and at the end you own it free and clear? Am I missing something?

And the last- OMFG moment- RG Properties gets to create their own city- and levy their own taxes to maintain this property:

6. Establishment of New Community. Subject to the adoption of certain modifications to the Ohio law governing new communities, and subject to the approval of the affected retailers on the Property, Developer agrees to submit the retail and hospitality portions of the Property to a new community, the terms of which shall be mutually acceptable to Developer and the Township. The new community authority established for the new community shall have the right to levy a service charge in an amount up to one-half of one percent of the sales generated from the new community area up to a maximum of $500,000.00. The sales to which the service charge would apply would include all sales that are subject to state sales tax, specifically excluding food sales for off-premises consumption, but specifically including hotel room receipts and theater admissions and concession sales. Any such revenue shall be made available to Developer to apply toward the costs of operating and maintaining the Phase II Public Improvements, with any balance to be applied to the repayment of the Township’s obligations as described in Section 4.

A population of voters that allows this kind of transference of wealth from the taxpayer to the wealthy, without protest, deserves a country with a junk bond credit rating. There is zero reason for this deal to be approved, nor is there ANY guaranteed payback to the taxpayers.

There are no clauses to hold the developer liable or responsible for anything, other than to build buildings. No guarantees of tax revenues, or jobs or even payback for investments made by the taxpayer if the developer doesn’t go through.

Just like handing Bernie Madoff money with promises of a return, this deal has no guarantees. We know where Madoff’s victims ended up- in the very same poorhouse our local governments are headed to. RG Properties has nothing on the line, we have it all.

I’m sure there are other aspects to this deal my readers know more about- please feel free to comment freely, your personal information will be protected. Feel free to email or mail me any more supporting documents.
Thank you to my confidential source for forwarding this memo.

 

I want to make money- taxpayers should help pay: Sprawl at the Dille estate

Because a developer wants to build something, does that automatically mean you should pay for it with your tax dollars? George Oberer Jr. has a dream- but he wants the taxpayers to pay for a large part of it:

Wilmington Pike could expand to up to 10 lanes and the bridge at Interstate 675 above the busy street could undergo reconstruction if preliminary plans from Cornerstone Development Inc. advance to the construction phase.

The street expansion would accommodate Cornerstone of Centerville, a 225-acre mixed-use development, which is planned for property formerly owned by the Dille family…

Centerville City Manager Greg Horn said city officials believe the developer’s plan for 10 lanes may be ambitious.

“Long term, we agree there will be interchange improvements as Miami Valley Hospital South (and other local businesses) continue to grow out,” Horn said. “We think there are errors in their (projected traffic) numbers, and we as a staff will continue to work with them.”

George Oberer Jr. of Cornerstone Development said the village center would be a cluster of restaurants, entertainment establishments and boutiques within the complex.

“(The village center) certainly is nothing to compete with The Greene, just a little village of shops,” Oberer said.

Cornerstone Development is in the process of conducting a traffic impact study; the city is conducting an independent review of that study.

The city and developer are hammering out details in preparation for a public presentation Aug. 15 at the Centerville City Council meeting.

Some of the proposed elements include:

  • Expanding Wilmington up to 10 lanes between Whipp Road and I-675.
  • Reconstructing the bridge at Wilmington and I-675 to accommodate those lanes.
  • Widening Feedwire Road.
  • Preserving the north parcel’s perimeter of trees, which City Planner Steve Feverston called an “iconic portion of the site,” and/or various stands of trees throughout the project.
  • Adding two new traffic signals; one on Wilmington and one on Feedwire.
  • Constructing medians on Wilmington and Feedwire, both as a safety measure and to align them aesthetically with the city’s boulevard look.
  • Expanding Clyo Road to five lanes where it borders the south parcel.

via Centerville development could lead to major street expansion.

Without having to prove to the public that this complex is needed (we have 30+% retail space vacancy rate in the Dayton Metropolitan area)- the developer is forcing roadway improvements that you and I have to pay for – and continue to pay for for years. Whom does this benefit?

Let’s create an example: If my neighbor wants to upgrade his home- I’m happy. If my neighbor only will upgrade his home if I agree to upgrade mine, and all my neighbors to upgrade theirs, I don’t think it will fly. Why do developers get to have this kind of sway with politicians- because politicians aren’t spending their money- they are spending ours (and we see how that works out). Also, since politicians depend on donations for their re-election campaigns- they get mighty friendly. Local records aren’t recorded in a unified data base like national donations, but if you want to see what kind of money the Oberer family “invests” in politicians, take a look here at OpenSecrets (the FEC database isn’t connecting right now) http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?name=oberer&state=OH&zip=&employ=&cand=&all=Y&sort=N&capcode=cp5rc&submit=Submit

So if you are wondering why Oberer is able to ask for the taxpayers to prop us his “development” with millions of your dollars- you quickly realize it’s just payback for his investment in politicians.

It’s time to end this pay-to-play system of “economic development” – we need to fund elections out of taxpayer dollars to stop this kind of influence peddling and payback.

We don’t need wider roads, more roads or more retail space- even if it will create construction jobs for a few years. After this boondoggle is built- we’ll see more vacancies at the Mall at Fairfield Commons and the Dayton Mall, then we will see those businesses ask for tax breaks- and the cycle continues.

Economic development isn’t created by construction- investment follows quality of life. Good schools, safe neighborhoods, and a level playing field do wonders to lure people to invest. Adding taxes to support political supporters is a losing strategy. We should know, we’ve been doing it for years in Dayton.

Why Nan Whaley is dangerous – the shrinking cities fallacy

The check Nan Whaley got for $5,000 from a Westerville demolition contractor should have been the first indication. The rush to spend money tearing down houses and create “land banks” makes the rich happy- while screwing the poor. The free market economy doesn’t work- as long as you have the government stepping in, and taking the low-cost housing options off the market- and replacing them with fantasy homes for the “New Urbanist – Creative Class” while forgetting about those who want to work, and live in the homes they own.

First I highly recommend reading the entire article from the Huffington Post- sent to me by a reader- Terri L.:

To understand the crisis, we must embrace the fact that the “experts” behind Shrinking Cities never offered a roadmap to prosperity; what they designed was a plan for development’s opposite.

Rust-belt politicians funded short-term city tax revenues at the cost of long-term regional development. They expropriated the resources of ordinary people, permanently setting back decades of national investment in education and housing.

Across the Rust Belt, Americans with money misunderstood the nature of development. Dystopian city planners believed that in economic collapse, only the elite would survive. They betted (sic) on an economy in which their best possible strategy was to convince working-class people to move away. Their vision was short-sighted and their sense of justice clouded.

Economic policy is not only a matter of the developer and the dollar. It is also a matter of participation in a market where ordinary people have a chance at employment.

The culprits for the current depression are more numerous than the mortgage vendors and Wall Street bankers who profited from it. The deeper culprits are the economists and politicians who sold a plan for fake development to city governments across the nation.

via Jo Guldi: The Anti-Development Crisis: Who’s Really to Blame for Lost Jobs This Christmas.

While I may not have the answers on how to fix up every home in Dayton- I don’t believe that spending our tax dollars to tear things down is as good as spending them to build things up- for all of us- not just the developers who gave to the campaign:

City commissioners gave a local developer approval to build 18 condominiums near Fifth Third Field, a $3 million project that could be a tipping point to ease the lack of downtown housing.

Commissioners approved a $300,000 grant Wednesday to Charles Simms Development, which will pay for soil remediation on the planned site at First Street and Patterson Boulevard.

Charles Simms, president of the company, said he hopes to have nine single-family condos priced from $140,000 to $160,000 available for purchase by the end of the year.

Construction on the condos, each featuring 1,400 square feet of space, will likely begin in June, he said.

There are no environmental concerns with the soil, but Simms said he wants to bring in new dirt.

He expects to have another nine units built in 2012 on the one-acre site known as Patterson Square.

Mayor Gary Leitzell said downtown’s occupancy rate is about 93 percent and the Simms development is a “great thing for Dayton.”…

Citywide, the city’s quasi-public economic development arm, also agreed to lend Simms $100,000 for the project.

via Condo project near Fifth Third Field wins City Commission OK.

To do the simple math- that’s $33,333 for each of the 9 homes. Even if he builds the other 9 as promised- that’s still $16,666 per home.  In a city where we are spending somewhere around $12,000 each to tear down old homes. That’s not even including the extra $100,000 that Citywide (our quasi-governmental slush fund) is throwing Mr. Simms’ way.

If we had spent the money on good neighborhood schools, adequate police protection, good parks- maybe we’d have people still living in the neighborhoods we are tearing down. We have no plan. We have no respect for the hard-working people who paid their taxes for schools and services- and instead, fund the dreams of kings.

Never mind- this property was part of the botched Deb Feldman fiasco where we overpaid for the old Sears property from a group that included her husband and father-in-law- so we could put one of the Riverscape Fountains on a remote parking lot. Bad investment on top of bad investment- making the rich richer.

That’s what “economic development” means today.

When we stop handing tax dollars over to political donors- we may start getting somewhere.

Let’s also hope there is a non-performance clause attached to this grant- if 18 homes aren’t built- the money comes back (so we don’t have another “Kroger deal.”)