Dayton can’t make up mind: buy or sell property?

It’s really too bad the citizens of Dayton are asleep at the wheel, allowing the City Commission with their limited intellectual capacity, to sell off our assets, while at the same time, engaged in an utterly pointless property acquisition strategy.

Yep- we’re selling off the public’s investment in parks and recreation centers for the youth of our community, while at the same time, on a ridiculous quest to buy derelict properties and tear them down.

Here is what the no-vision commission plans, according to the Dayton Daily News:

Reducing property holdings is part of Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan’s 37-point proposal to cut more than $12 million from the city budget. Those cuts come in anticipation of about $9 million in lost revenue from state budget cuts annually, once fully implemented.

Other projected losses include $1 million in stimulus funds for police, $4 million in block grants and $1.5 million in property taxes from the drop in valuation.

Unlike some of these buildings that have outlived their usefulness, the Bomberger Teen Center is still open to youth.

Earley said the city hadn’t intended to sell Bomberger, but the teen center is entirely funded with Community Development Block Grants.“We’re looking at 40 percent cuts in block grant funding. That’s millions of dollars,” Earley said.

A review of recreation facilities in 2003 found Dayton had too many neighborhood centers, built when the city’s population was much higher than the 141,527 of today. The city closed several family recreation centers, including Burkhardt, Stuart-Patterson and the Linden Center, all of which are up for sale. In 2010, the city opened the Greater Dayton Recreation Center at Roosevelt Commons and poured $3 million into renovations at its Northwest and Lohrey recreation centers.

Priority board activities largely have been consolidated to City Hall downtown, resulting in the Fair River Oaks, Northeast, Southeast and Innerwest priority board office buildings being offered for sale, Dayton’s facility director Ramona Carver said.

The 25-story Lindsey Building, located at 25 S. Main St. next to McCrory’s is one of the largest on the list. It has been closed for about 20 years.

“Our eventual desire is to sell all of the buildings on the list. Even if we lease a property, the goal would be a lease-purchase agreement,” Carver said.

The average carrying cost to maintain a closed facility is about $7,000 a year, but others troubled by vandalism can cost upwards of $17,000 annually, Carver said.

For sale or lease

  • Burkhardt Recreation Center, 215 Burkhardt Ave.
  • Stuart Patterson Recreation Center, 238 Baltimore St.
  • Ellison Senior Center, 2412 W. Third St.
  • Naval Reserve, 410 N. Gettysburg Ave.
  • Linden Center, 334 Norwood Ave.
  • Claridge Center, 1404 Wesbster St.
  • Riverbend, Wegerzen, Playhouse Complex, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave.
  • Lindsey Building, 25 S. Main St.
  • FROC Priority Board, 903 W. Fairview Ave.
  • Northeast Priority Board, 359 Maryland Ave.
  • Sunrise Center, 1320 E. Fifth St.
  • Southeast Priority Board, 2160 E. Fifth St.
  • Innerwest Priority Board, 1024 W. Third St.
  • Bomberger Teen Center, 1306 E. Fifth St.

via City to OK sale of property.

It would be interesting to look at how much taxpayer money has been wasted on buying real estate over the years, and the complete property holdings of the City. At one point, around 15 years ago, a local developer named Duane Jack asked for a printout of city-owned parcels and was delivered a 5″ stack of green bar printout- one line per parcel.

How did we end up buying the abandoned Lindsey Building- what was the “public use?”

The Naval Center on Gettysburg is being abandoned by the Marine Corps. Apparently, due to our lack of police protection, even the Marines don’t want to be there.

We’ve poured millions into Riverbend, into the South East Priority Board building (a beautiful, former Carnegie Library building) in the past. The Bomberger Teen center has also received millions- and we’re going to sell them all for chump change.

In the meantime, Nan Whaley has a plan to buy even more property and tear it all down. The fact that she got huge donations from demolition contractors was widely ignored by voters. Of course, the excuse is that no one wants to live next to a run-down abandoned house.

Well, no one wants to live in a city that gives 30-year tax breaks to one of the richest corporations in America, GE, while not being able to have a parks and recs program for kids to be involved in- so they won’t join gangs, sell drugs, tag your building or drop out of school.

Had we invested in delivering top-notch city services and amenities, maybe we wouldn’t have so many abandoned homes. If we hadn’t wasted so many years with the failed attempt to “integrate” our community through school busing- and had instead made sure our schools were equal and great, we wouldn’t have lost 100,000 people.

Sell off every priority board office and vacant downtown tower you bought- and stop buying decrepit housing. Instead, start opening up community centers and building strong neighborhoods back in a partnership with the Dayton Public Schools and the Charter schools that are trying to provide worthwhile educations for our kids.

Stop giving tax abatements to GE and UD, and start hiring police officers from other departments and save us the expense and hassle of our “Police Academy” that only seems to turn out white officers.

It is not a city’s job to be a real estate speculator, investor, restorer or preservationist. It’s a city’s job to provide top-notch services and safe neighborhoods.

You can wake up now voters. Consider donating to the lawsuit to give you the ability to recall our commissioners and or change our charter.

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