City spends $95K after not doing anything with $200k of advice

Architects are by definition, part of the “creative class” that Dayton seems so desperate to attract. We’ve gone overboard buying into the touchy-feely snake oil peddled by Richard Florida, that hasn’t turned any city around yet.

So as part of the dreaming of what could be, the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects donated a ton of work re-imagining downtown- for FREE. The Downtown Dayton Partnership released this press release (in MS Word, with no ability to read directly online) singing their praises:

Downtown Dayton Partnership Unveils Strategic Building Reuse Project Designs

Ten Local Architectural Firms Donate Nearly $200,000 in Service

DAYTON, March 25, 2009 —Ten local architectural firms have created ten different reuse options for some of downtown’s most unique but underutilized spaces.

Last year the Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP) partnered with the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, ten local architectural firms, and the City of Dayton to develop a strategic reuse plan that would transform underutilized properties into spaces that are better suited for the future needs of our community. Bob Shiffler, owner of the Kuhns, McCrory and Schwind Buildings, chaired this initiative for the DDP.

via Downtown Dayton Partnership.

Yet, yesterday, the Dayton City Commission voted to hand over $95k on an RFP to 4 firms: LWC Inc. (the former Lorenz & Williams Clinton), Woolpert Inc, Lawhon & Associates and Al Neyer Inc. A few architects whom I know said they didn’t even see this RFP- which makes it sound like a no-bid contract.

Why we are spending money to come up with plans for 4 more buildings downtown- when we haven’t acted on any of the plans that were already donated? Why are the taxpayers paying to devise plans for buildings that the taxpayers don’t own?

$95K would pay for 2 cops on the street for a year, or maybe even cutting the grass more than 3x a year in our parks so we can play in them, Instead, we’re paying money for things we don’t need, to people who didn’t bid competitively, and have no way of actually implementing the suggestions.

Does any of this make sense to you? Or does it sound like paying back political donors?  (LWC managing partner, Bear Monita gave $1k to Rhine.

While the city is claiming poverty- what is the return on investment on this plan? Can we have it in writing from the City Manager? It’s time for some accountability.

ADDITION: Beautiful video (thanks to the Dayton Informer) of the Mayor asking the questions of Shelly “I can’t give a simple answer” Dickstein:

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