Dayton Daily finally weighs in on RecPlex

The answer isn’t to build a RecPlex at Roosevelt- or enhance any existing facilities.

The only answer that makes sense is to build one mega-rec facility on the Parkside Homes site- tying in to Kettering fields, Riverscape, Island Park, and the new Kroc center.

If you wonder how kids will get to this facility- it’s simple- this is where the school buses will drop them after school. And- build the proposed light rail system- that would stop nearby.

Dayton doesn’t need any more distibuted mediocre services- it needs points of pride to drive the perception that we are striving for greatness- in a highly visible location.

I outlined the single recplex idea to anyone who would listen over 4 years ago. You can read about it on this site here.

In the meantime- here is part of the DDN whine from today’s paper:
Our View: ‘RecPlex’ requires serious rethinking
Switch in plans costs city project at Wright-Dunbar

The Dayton City Commission recently announced plans to build a $10 million recreational center in West Dayton. The complex — with two gymnasiums, an indoor aquatic center, community meeting space and fitness equipment galore — would be built at the old Roosevelt High School site. That historic structure is slated for demolition, and a new Dayton public school is being planned.

Graded on good intentions, the Roosevelt “rec-plex” thus deserves an A-plus. But the proposal flunks when planning, public input and thoughtful use of public funds are made part of the report card.

Just two years ago, Dayton rolled out a “10-year master plan” for recreational facilities, boasting that it was “citizen-driven.” That proposal carried a $41.9 million price tag and called for construction of three recreation complexes — one east, one north and one west — as well as two “family aquatic centers.”

Conspicuously absent in the master plan, though, was any funding strategy. Nor was there any reference to a rec center at the Roosevelt site.

Fast forward two years. With no evident community input, the “citizen-driven” plan was radically altered. Suddenly only one “RecPlex” would be built, and it would be located at the Roosevelt site.

Dayton’s future also depends on making smart, timely capital investments — for streets, sidewalks, bridges, sewers, emergency vehicles, demolition of abandoned buildings and more. Recently, millions of dollars in municipal debt were paid off, giving the city new borrowing authority.Cynics suggest the money is burning a hole in the city commission’s pocket, which accounts for the sudden announcement of the Roosevelt rec-plex. Surely, commissioners and the administration have a better explanation.

What capital investments would have the biggest, most positive and lasting impact on Dayton? How can those investments be best leveraged with outside funds?

Maybe recreational facilities are part of the answer. The kids could sure use them.

But have city officials looked into seeking regional financial support to meet what is a regional responsibility and problem: recreational opportunities for kids from lower-income families. Could it collaborate, for instance, with Five Rivers MetroParks, as it did at Island Park and RiverScape?

The city commission has to demonstrate more discipline and imagination with its scarce resources, and then inform citizens and get their opinions on all the options.

Dayton’s revised recreation plans

Construct a new 50,000-square-foot recreation center at the Roosevelt High School site, including two gymnasiums, an indoor aquatic center, cardio equipment, walking/running track, senior center, fitness facility and teen room.

Close six facilities (Linden, Burkhardt, Stuart Patterson, Ellison, Parkside and Westwood).

Renovate and expand Lohrey and Northwest centers to include 4,000 square feet of new fitness and enhanced aquatic facilities, such as whirlpool, saunas, lockers and larger space for cardio equipment, aerobic and strength training and conditioning.

Maintain operations at Bomberger Teen Center, Riverbend Arts Center and the Dayton Cultural and RTA Transit Center.

Provide various outdoor pool and spray-park options.

Enhance the Fairview Pool, converting it to an outdoor family aquatic center.

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2 Responses

  1. dfly September 8, 2006 / 9:41 pm
    I have been a supporter for neighborhood centers, but you definitely make some good points for one megacenter. I think the idea of making something that is really a point of pride for the city is really important and something that I hadn’t really thought about. I also like the idea of linking the Kettering Fields, Island MetroPark, and Kroc Center. Going even further, I would like it if the city, the YMCA, and the Salvation Army Kroc Center would make a collaborative effort. Although they each have different missions, it seams each offer/will offer similar services. If we could reduce the duplicated services and apply that to new amenities and services, we could have even greater things.

    I also question what exactly the city plans on building for $10 million. UD’s new RecPlex is a phenomenal new facility and came with a $25.3 million price tag. If the city builds this thing, no matter where it is, they need to spend the money and do it right.

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  2. David Esrati September 9, 2006 / 12:33 am

    Dfly-
    As you said- UD spent 25.3 million- and that’s just serving an audience of 10K tops-
    the city needs to provide something that serves 160,000 people- or at least make them feel good about their city.
    The Parkside location is highly visible to the millions of drivers going through our city on I-75, so why not put our best face forward?
    Plus- with a high visibility location- naming rights could help support it- The Big Daddy Football Fields, The Mike Schmidt Diamonds, the Jim Paxson Hoops Center etc.
    Building at Roosevelt is a no-win situation. People on the East side won’t go over, people on the West side will look at everything around it and say- why did they spend all this money on a half-assed 10 mill center- while we can’t get _________ fixed.
    The only answer is to shoot for the moon- on the highest visibility, central location- and at least let it help change more minds.

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