South Park wins Neighborhood of the Year! Nationally!

It’s official, South Park is the Neighborhoods, USA winner of 2008 Neighborhood of the Year.

The party is tonight- at the South Park Tavern, 1301 Wayne Ave.

It took a lot of people, working together, to pull this off. Kudo’s to all. I’m sure there will be some official type releases coming out soon. But for now, let’s party! And the rest of you- it’s not too late to buy a home in South Park- we’ve got a few available right now.

See this post for the original announcement that we were in the running:


Dayton’?s Historic South Park Wins National Award
First Prize for NUSA’s Neighborhood of the Year-Physical
Release Date: Friday, May 23, 2008
Contact:  Karin Manovich, Historic South Park, Inc.,
[email protected]
* *

The work of community leaders, residents and volunteers in Dayton’s South Park neighborhood has been recognized by Neighborhoods, USA (NUSA) with a first prize award for Neighborhood of the Year – Physical

Historic South Park, Inc., the non-profit neighborhood association supporting revitalization of the 700-structure historic district just southeast of downtown Dayton, earned the award following a presentation on May 22, 2008, at NUSA’s national conference in Hampton, Virginia.

The annual award recognizes projects that are initiated by one neighborhood organization and focused on the physical aspects of a neighborhood such as parks, green spaces, housing improvement, lighting,
litter control, traffic management, signage and business district enhancement. Historic South Park was one of five finalists competing for the honor.

Two major projects helped Historic South Park earn the award: the development of an ambitious neighborhood master plan in 2007 in cooperation with American Institute of Architects volunteers; and the
October 2007 Rehabarama, which restored 10 historic homes for public tours and subsequent sale.

South Park’s community spirit and the creativity of our residents led to this honor, said Karin Manovich, president of Historic South Park. More than 7,000 volunteer hours were dedicated to the improvement of South Park in 2007.

The historic district’s momentum during the last 18 months has generated unprecedented demand for housing, according to Manovich.

NUSA, founded in 1975, is a national organization committed to strengthening neighborhood organizations and communities. For more information, go to or

Ohio priorities- all mixed up.

Rich people need tax breaks; poor people don’t need mental health facilities.

Because “airplanes are mobile” and people can fly them anywhere to get them fixed, the State of Ohio has decided to give their owners a tax break

Ohio House passes capital improvements budget
The spending plan, approved 94-2 just after 10 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, also includes a provision aimed at stimulating the growth of Ohio’s aviation industry, including aircraft repair that drew praise from

State Reps. Diana Fessler, R-New Carlisle, and Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, cast the only “no” votes.

House Bill 562 would exempt aircraft, parts, equipment and related material from the sales tax.

“This will help any Ohio company involved in aviation or aviation repair,” said John Bosch, president and chief executive officer of Commander Aero Inc, based at Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport.

Yet, the poor people, who need nearby mental health facilities (remember, gas is at $4 a gallon) are ignored- with the closing of Twin Valley in Dayton.

Strickland, legislature clash on Twin Valley closing
Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and the Republican-controlled legislature appear headed for a showdown over his plan to close Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare in Dayton by June 30.

Despite a line-item veto threat from Strickland, the Ohio House included a six-month moratorium on the closing in the capital improvements budget that was approved 94-2 on Thursday night, May 22.

Strickland also expressed “concerns” about a second budget provision earmarking $6.3 million for a Dayton-area crisis care center to ease anticipated pressure when the 110-bed Twin Valley on Wayne Avenue closes.

“I have a constitutional obligation to maintain a balanced budget and that requires me to make some very difficult decisions,” Strickland said.

The budget includes nearly $84 million for a new Cleveland-area psychiatric hospital.

Strickland said the situations are different.

Of course they are different situations, Governor, the rich have lobbyists, the poor people only have the people we elect to represent us- and they are more interested in how much can you stick in their campaign funds.

It’s interesting how the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association- is against the closing of Twin Valley- but already has a plan to ask for State money to support their efforts to provide psychiatric beds in-house if they get the funds. Most hospital bailed out of in-house psych units over 30 years ago when they realized it wasn’t a profit center when President Reagan closed psych hospitals across the country. Both Premier Health Partners and Kettering Health Network are sitting on huge hordes of cash- and busy sprawling away from the urban core.

Also in the mix is a $2 million earmark for Ballpark Village- even though a developer isn’t on board. City Manager Rashad Young is talking about building a new “Greenwich Village” near the ballpark- when the allure of the real thing is more like the Oregon District, which could be put on steroids with a $2 million dollar infusion, but, that might make too much sense.

The reality is- our tax dollars are no longer ours. We’re getting to foot the bill to subsidize the ideas and dreams of the wealthy, while forgetting the basic purposes of government and society: to provide a safe and stable environment and infrastructure, so that we can all reach our potential.

Any thoughts?

Hit the road, Mack, and won’tcha go home

When the going gets rough, Percy Mack gets going. With no real plan on how to inspire the voters of Dayton to reach into their pockets for more money- Dr. Mack took the easy route out- heading for Columbia SC and more money.

The school board had no plan in place, and doesn’t seem to realize the most important thing a good leader does is prepare a number 2 person to step in and takeover.

If Deputy Superintendent Debra Brathwaite isn’t the right person to step right in, the board should consider resigning as well. We don’t have time to bring in someone new, and get a new levy passed.

Percy Mack leaves; board to start search process | Get on the Bus | Observations on schools, kids, teachers, teaching and education by Scott Elliott, Dayton Daily News
Mack on Friday accepted a job as superintendent in Columbia, S.C., a slightly larger school district of 23,000 students compared to 16,000 here.

Mack, who could not be immediately reached for comment, said earlier this month he was interested in the job primarily because it was closer to his native Georgia. He interviewed but was not selected for the superintendent job in Mobile, Ala., in September.

The school board in Columbia interviewed Mack and two other candidates last week. After a meeting this morning, they offered him the job and he accepted, according to The State newspaper.

School officials there did not disclose contract terms but have said they wanted to pay their next superintendent between $195,000 and $230,000. Mack makes about $140,000 in Dayton.

Dayton school board President Yvonne Isaacs said she was happy for Mack but sad for herself and for Dayton.

“This gets him as close to home as he can be without going home,” she said. “That’s good for his family.”

As for the district’s immediate future with a levy expected in November and no superintendent after July 1, Isaacs said the board would meet quickly to begin developing an action plan.

“It’s going to present a challenge for us,” she said.

If it takes the board more than one week to fill this spot, they may as well admit to the public that they don’t have an organization that deserves our support.

Things to do this weekend in Dayton Ohio

Well, there is really only one that’s important- head down to downtown tonight for Urban Nights. Check out the restaurants, bars, art galleries, urban living spaces and watch the people.

There will be cool stuff happening all over- but the new green modular home on Patterson and whatever the Dayton Circus is up to in the Cannery on Wayne are my picks.

I’m sure there are lots of other festivals, activities, and things going on- anyone care to pimp their faves in the comments? What are you planning to do this weekend?

How to build a Kroger on Wayne Avenue- without a fuss

In high-rent districts, grocers find a way to shoe horn a store in at any cost. When it’s not a high-rent district, they scream poverty and ask for city support.

What kind of Kroger store could be built- on the current site? Huge, when you build the store at grade and put the parking on the roof, or vice-versa. Here’s an article from the Tampa Tribune on how Publix is rising to the challenge:

Grocer Rises To The Occasion
TREASURE ISLAND – The problem: providing a full-service supermarket on a postage-stamp lot.

The solution, at least for Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets: an unorthodox store design rising in the Gulf beach community of Treasure Island, where the company aims to serve the shorts-and-flip-flops crowd that would most likely have to drive off the barrier island to pick up groceries.

To meet flood codes and to take advantage of the snug 2-acre footprint on the Intracoastal Waterway, the store will sit on the second floor of a 40-foot-tall structure, above a covered, street-level parking garage. A large staircase and four oversized elevators will guide shoppers into the store.

At 28,000 square feet, it’s just over half the size of the typical Publix supermarket. That doesn’t mean less grocery variety, though, said spokeswoman Shannon Patten.

“We will have every single product that a 45,000 square-foot store would have. For the most part, our customers love the 28,000 square-foot stores, because it’s everything you could need, but it’s just packed into a smaller area.”

There are some concessions. For example, the store will have fresh flowers, but not a full-service floral department. It also will not have a pharmacy.

The interior will resemble those of smaller stores that Publix has built in downtown St. Petersburg and downtown Tampa, although those stores are not elevated. A similar elevated structure has been built in the South Florida beach town of Surfside.

An industry observer says to expect more.

“I definitely think it’s a trend,” said Christina Veiders, managing editor of trade publication Supermarket News. “Especially where you have either limited or expensive real estate. They have to kind of refigure the store design to go by those specifications.”

She said supermarkets are turning to unusual sites such as the retail sections of high-rise condo or apartment buildings in Chicago, Toronto and Manhattan.

“Publix is an upscale operator, and you must have an upscale market there” in Treasure Island, she said. “They can tap into that and help grow market share in an area they haven’t been able to before.

Publix wouldn’t divulge the price of the land or construction costs. The parcel previously held a standard Topps supermarket and the Treasure Island Fun Center arcade.

A Subway sandwich shop will take over one of two retail outlets built into the store. The second is not yet leased.

If Dayton wasn’t an easy mark for handouts to developers, Kroger might have considered buying the leased location and just a few more houses- and approached this new store in a totally different manner.

What do you think? launches- yawn.

Well, almost 5 months after the campaign hit the fan, the website finally launched- and Lori Turner didn’t get to overbill for Real Art’s services, like she had on everything else. The Dayton Development Coalition spent a million dollars- and this is what we have: – Dayton Region
The Dayton Region in Southwest Ohio is a diverse mixture of cultures, experience, people and places. We have something for everyone.

The site isn’t one I’d want to go to twice- but, then again, I prefer substance over sugar coating.

What do you think?

Dayton Land Bank: what’s the exit strategy?

Back in the early nineties, the City was in possession of thousands of real estate parcels. A client of mine asked for a list, and was given a stack of pin-feed greenbar paper about 3″ thick.

All that real estate wasn’t generating property taxes, and it’s about to get worse with the city’s new plan to “landbank” property according to today’s paper

Dayton plans to acquire 1,000 properties this year

By Joanne Huist Smith Staff Writer Sunday, May 11, 2008

DAYTON — The city of Dayton plans to aggressively snatch up properties for land banking, with a goal of acquiring up to 1,000 properties this year.

The eventual goal: reduce the supply of excess housing in the city, identify potential areas for new development while creating parks, neighborhood squares even nature preserves.

For Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley, its a tool to improve quality of life here.

“I look at land banking as the city controlling its destiny,” she said. “We need to talk about where we are going. We have wonderful opportunities.”

Targeted properties have been abandoned by owners, who do not pay their property taxes. In many cases, the city has had to board up the structures and mow.

“Were already maintaining these properties,” Whaley said. “We might as well control them.”

The city currently has more than 10,000 vacant housing units in more than 3,800 structures. It would cost an estimated $6 million for the city to demolish its current 800 nuisance structures and an additional $25 million to bring down the entire inventory of vacant structures.

“We cant sit around and do nothing,” Whaley said. “I think, for all neighborhoods, this is a win.”

Typically, Dayton has only used land banking to acquire properties for specific developments or as part of the citys Adopt-a-Lot program, which enables homeowners to buy land next to theirs.

That practice has now changed.

“Were really talking about being aggressive in acquiring vacant properties,” Deputy City Manager Stan Early said, in a presentation to the City Commission on Wednesday, May 7.

On April 17, the city bought 125 state, forfeited properties for land banking at a total cost of $4,000. Most of the properties were bought for $25 each, said Whaley, adding that the lots are scattered around the city.

A quasi-government authority, composed of city staff and volunteers, would hold the properties, but input from the citizens of Dayton would determine future reuse. There is no time frame set to establish this authority, but Whaley said she expects it to happen quickly.

The city plans to put the properties in the Real Estate Acquisition Program, enabling Dayton to hold on to them up to 15 years, tax free. To qualify for REAP under Ohio Revised Code, property taxes must be certified by the county as being at least two years delinquent, said Aaron Sorrell, Daytons manager of housing and neighborhood development.

Thirty properties went through REAP in 2007 and an additional 150 to date this year. Those numbers represent just the tip of the citys overall plan.

For now, the city is merely acquiring the properties. The second step, according to Whaley, is creating a vision for what the city will look like in the future.

“The city in front of us is probably going to look different from the city behind us,” John Gower, the citys director of planning and community development said. “We can take the best in the community and move those forward with us.”

While “vacant” homes may be an eyesore or a contributing factor to devaluating neighborhoods- the problem is that without a plan, just buying them up, and then tearing them down, doesn’t solve the big problem: why don’t people want to live here anymore?

Loss of fundamental services, perceived safety, quality of schools, confidence that the home will retain it’s value- those are the reasons properties aren’t valued anymore- and what needs to be addressed.

There are very few “Bad Buildings”- there are bad locations. If we could uproot the homes from Dayton View and put them in Oakwood- they’d be worth millions. That’s the problem- not the homes themselves, and tearing them down isn’t the answer.

Finding ways to consolidate our shrinking population into healthy neighborhoods might be a better plan- finding alternative uses for large areas of declining value real estate. Could we be raising corn and cattle on the West Side? Sure, but, it would require a real plan to transition people from “war zone” areas to stable ones. That’s a real plan, not just picking up the pieces willy-nilly like the city is proposing to do now.

What are your ideas? How do we find ways to either repopulate or consolidate so that we maximize the value of our urban real estate?

Build a house before noon?

A home can be built in a day.Barry Buckman was standing across the street, watching like a proud father watches his kid hit a home run in little league, as the crane deposited the third floor of his new prototype home on Patterson just South of First Street. It won’t be finished for another 30 days, as bricklayers still have to build the outer skin, but by Urban Nights next Friday, the interior should be finished out and ready to show.

Built in a factory, to the new “Green Building” specifications, the house was trucked in from UniBuilt’s Vandalia plant and assembled on the foundation well before noon. This house is nothing like the typical factory built homes we’ve been used to seeing in the area, with modern lines and hip details, which come with vision from an architect- as opposed to a “builder.” Buckman’s firm, Rogero Buckman Architects has been a force in urban modernism in Dayton for the last 15 or so years (full disclosure- my firm, The Next Wave, has done some work for them in the past and hosts their website).

These homes are catty-corner to one of their other projects- the Cooper Lofts, a juxtaposition of an old warehouse with a new modern condo block with shared amenities, across the street from Miami Jacobs college where they did interior work and blocks away from the Firefly building on Webster which is the budget, urban hip live work space that houses their offices. They’ve got their fingerprints on everything from housing in the Genesis project in the shade of Miami Valley Hospital to the sculptures and playful kiosks at Riverscape.

If you are looking for true “Creative Class Catalysts” RBA has been walking the talk since before Richard Florida stepped into the limelight with his book. Be sure to check out the model home on May 16th 2008 and report back in the comments.

Chinese Shar Pei puppies in Dayton for sale (NO MORE)

Male Shar Pei with standard wrinkles

My neighbor breeds Chinese Shar Pei’s. Not my kind of dog, but, if they are yours, he has 6 4 females and 2 males (all gone) ready to sell with AKC papers.

I’m just trying to help him out since he doesn’t have a computer. If you are interested leave a comment, and I’ll get you his phone number 937-938-5917. These two are black, but he has other colors. He’s asking $500 $250 each, but, I’ll leave the negotiating up to you.

Female Shar Pei for sale- long fluffy hair.I’m posting 2 pictures that I snapped upstairs, but, these are hard dogs to shoot- since you can barely see their eyes. If you like Shar Pei’s you’ll like these.

Updated 26 May 08

Update May 27- there is one more “style” of pup available- so I shot one more picture.Chinese shar pei puppy in Dayton