Chamber Breakfast, Bob Shiffler, the Arcade and our stinkin thinkin

Bob Shiffler spoke at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast briefing today about his ideas and plans for the Arcade. What he’s done at the Kuhn’s building at 4th and Main has been absolute alchemy. It serves as a shining example of what happens when someone with a vision doesn’t let the glare of the status quo blind him from accomplishing something amazing in Dayton.

The thing that made me grin, was he started suggesting some simple solutions to change perception and add vibrancy to Downtown. His first was murals- he showed some supersized art and ads. Sorry, Bob, not in Dayton- or even Ohio. We don’t believe ads can be good. See this post about the Lebron James monster ad in Cleveland.

We took the ads off the RTA buses– even though they generated money.

He talked about Urban Nights being a great thing- but twice a year isn’t enough.

He showed how store windows can be art, how public art can create interest, how parking issues need to be solved. He even mentioned the “Dead Grandpa” syndrome- where we feel lost without the captains of industry solving our problems for us (often times in back rooms).

And then he got to his plans for the arcade and tying it together with the old Dayton Daily News building and the Schwind/Moraine Apartments. Great.

After he was done, I stood up and gave my nickels worth: parking could double with end in parking, we passed laws making motorcycles park 1 per car space – chasing the bikers off to Fairborn, that it’s our conventional thinking and our unwillingness to accept strong individuals (unless they are loaded like Bob) and their “radical ideas.”

I mentioned how we refuse to accept new ideas, new people- unless you have a herd on your side. How deals are still being done in back rooms (something he didn’t agree with me on- I say, go read what the Dayton Development Coalition has been up to).

It’s not the buildings, it’s the people and our inability to think our way through the problems.

I’ve been wrestling with this for over 20 years now, and I still feel like I’m getting a flat spot on my head from banging it against the walls we insist on building for no apparent reason.

Of course, I said something that rubbed some the wrong way: mentioning how many of the men in the room were still wearing white shirts and dark suits.  It got a chuckle, but brought comments about my rough edges.

Sorry folks, at some point you have to stop valuing style over substance. If we don’t, we’ll never get to the big ideas.

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12 Responses

  1. Jeff March 14, 2008 / 2:30 pm
    Schiffler is right on target about the company town mentality in Dayton.

    As for public art and murals stay tuned to Daytonology, as I will posting on this ether tonight or by Sunday.

  2. Jim Crotty March 14, 2008 / 3:50 pm
    Lancaster has Gen. W.T. Sherman on the side of one their buildings, and I think it looks great ! Great points and great suggestions. I love the term “dead grandpa.”

    This audience must have been the same type of crowd one sees at Dayton Rotary Club meetings – all “uptight and white” from the south suburbs. No drawing outside the lines, no deviating from the daily schedule, no rocking the boat, no change, no growth. Bow down to the “power brokers.” Secure and stagnant, that’s the way of Dayton !

  3. Gene March 14, 2008 / 4:46 pm
    since when is it a crime to be white?

    I guess if you rock the boat, change and grow you must be a different color. I think people need to look at the statistics to see who and how this is all done, but that might be too much for you folks when you find out the truth about other races…..point is people are people and not much change occurs in any culture. It does take time, and I don’t know why most of you consider whites as non-progressive and consider other people as progressive – crime rates continue to rise and certain communities, how is that for progress.

  4. Jeff March 14, 2008 / 7:22 pm
    Lancaster has Gen. W.T. Sherman on the side of one their buildings, and I think it looks great !

    Best murals in Ohio are in Portsmouth. Best murals in the Midwest are in Chciago. Easy roadtrips if anyone wants to see what Schiffler is talking about.

    And the theres’ Andre the Giant for a more street-art approach.

  5. Pam March 14, 2008 / 8:06 pm
    Michelangelo himself could put a fresco on every outhouse in Portsmouth and that town would still be a big ugly boil on Ohio’s butt.
  6. J.R. Locke March 15, 2008 / 1:22 am
    I don’t think people are scared of radical ideas or dislike “leaders” who propose them, the fact is most people don’t really care about these issues. Sad but true. I think most people are fat and happy….why change?

    Plus downtown is dead until white folk are not scared to death to be there. Will murals help? It can’t hurt but most of the folk I know once they get past Smithsville going West on Third think they are in another world.

    gene there is recent research on the discrepancy on how crime statistics and race are presented by the media (example: instead of calculating crime likelihood with population proportions they use a crimes per 100,000 statistic which distorts crime rates when races are compared since there are anywhere from 4-6 times the number of people who are considered white than those who are considered black). Might want to check it out before you say stuff like that about those “other’ races.

    And it’s never been a crime to be white in America but it sure has been a crime to be black, from the words of the U.S. constitution through Jim Crow to the modern day judicial system.

  7. Greg Hunter March 15, 2008 / 8:04 am
    I am guessing that gene is white and does not understand what a blessing that is for an idiot like him. I will admit that the Great Society was a mistake at least for a racist town like Dayton, but man, gene could fathom what is like to be born black? I am not against saying what the problems are with current black society and attitude, but I also know white society has and continues to keep the boys down, whether it be covert or overt. My God the last 3 days of Fox, Limbaugh and Hannity tar and feathering Obama with illogic references to his pastor is a gene special. Cue Gene
  8. Jim Crotty March 15, 2008 / 10:18 am
    I should clarify and say the emphasis is on the word “uptight.” It’s just my personal observation, from growing up here, subsequently living in several other states and then returning, that there is certain degree of coldness, keeping everything close to the chest and overall cliqueness about those in Dayton who circulate amongst various “power circles.” The assumption is that Dayton is midwest and midwest means friendliness and hospitality, but I think Dayton actually has a demographic that is more of the opposite. Compare this atmosphere to any other city that experiences positive growth and an influx of new residents on a regular basis. I’ve discovering more and more that I’m not alone in this observation. How many people grow up here, move away, have kids, come back “due to family,” and then move away again. It happens far more often than we care to admit.
  9. Gene March 15, 2008 / 11:08 am
    So Greg just said “being born black sucks” more or less.

    Keep changing you stories guys, keep defending both sides of every fence. Yeah, JR, you are right, the West Side is sooooo much safer than Patterson and Shroyer park. YOU go down there at midnight and see for yourself, like I have done.

    You guys blame the rich white man but last time I checked he is the only one who has ever got anything done………..So what if HE has all the power, better HE than YOU free loaders.

    ALL races ALL people are a PAIN IN THE ASS to change…… but somehow the libby lib libs think they are soooo much smarter than those with the cash….like me!!!!!! I am great, thank you. Keep collecting your SS checks and food stamps and keep burdening everyone else. I grew up poor unlike some on this blog and I did eveything on my own, but of course you losers know me better than myself. Thanks for again judging someone you don’t know, the super duper libbby lib libs love to tell people who they are and what they deserve. if I had listened I might be one of you jokers, but thank God I did not listen to people like you and decided I could do it on my own.

  10. Greg Hunter March 15, 2008 / 3:20 pm
    So Greg just said “being born black sucks” more or less.

    Clap, Clap. Gene finally got something.

    Clutch that cash Gene, but we will see how far it takes you. Community will become more important and you are not building any. As for telling you what to do, and how to do it, the Rethuglicans are equal to your libby libs. Free market dickwads until the bankers get caught screwing everyone. Gene’s idols I am sure.

    Gene did it on his own…..

  11. Gene March 15, 2008 / 11:54 pm
    I am fine thanks – My house is in order – worry about your house

    Being born black does not suck, reminding people they are black does suck.

    Greg, I will cash your check for cash at any of my loan places……
    see you in Mexico

    And I am not a rebupubby pub or a libby lib….. i actually take the best of both sides, like a normal guy

    Greg is a big boy, and most likely loves the same. Thank God I am my own man, and not a party line loser/drug user

  12. Greg Hunter March 16, 2008 / 12:25 pm
    Gene you tee them up but I will let it be. Much Love and you are missing out. :)

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