Today’s headline “Downtown faces more closings” is an example of why the community might do better without the paper.
Let’s dissect the story.
Two Cannery tenants (Go Home and Ashley & Hillary) are leaving for their stores in Centerville. Net loss, maybe 10 part time, slightly above minimum wage jobs.
Citilites is changing formats and losing 4 server positions- and the chef is out.
The Dayton Women’s Club may close after 90 years of being an organization that excludes half the population.
Bill Rain got a great job in Tampa with the DeBartolo (note correct spelling here) Corporation.
- First- the Cannery isn’t located in “Downtown” according to the “Downtown Dayton Partnership”- so it doesn’t count.
- Second- when restaurants are subsidized by landlords, sooner or later, they fail. Kitty’s, Thomato’s, Mediterra, Olivias- case closed. Note, there are still fine dining establishments in the Oregon District (which is Downtown).
- Third- The Women’s Club never changed with the times.
And as to Bill Rain- who also got skewered on the front page of the business section “ if Bill ever got front page stories for his successes, maybe he wouldn’t have been the lone ranger downtown for so long. The Dayton Daily News still hasn’t told the public that they have bought one of the NCR buildings on S. Main and are “bailing out” of “Downtown” as well. Their building is right next to Bill’s last project “ the Schwind building, and the uncertainty of their plans make it hard for a developer to move forward on a project when the city is discussing consolidating the block for a different development.
That aside- this site is supposed to be about big ideas– so here is what needs to happen (or at least what could have stopped these things from happening).
- End in parking in front of the Cannery. If anyone thinks E. Third Street really needs 6 lanes- they are nuts. If the City had changed the parking on both sides of E. Third Street around the Cannery to end in parking, they would have doubled the number of available meters for shoppers. Cost- minimal- impact for retail- priceless.
- Worked with Montgomery Paper to allow a surface parking lot at the East end of the Cannery for shoppers and visitors to residents. The developers personalities got in the way of doing this reasonably- and the City leadership should have stepped in.
- Told HUD that they need to get with the times. HUD stopped the Cannery from having commercial office space on the 2nd floor of the Cannery- which would have generated critical day-time traffic for the retail- and actually helped balance parking needs. HUD was also part of the problem on the Schwind project. HUD restrictions are almost as problematic for forward thinking developers as our City zoning and State building codes.
- Eliminate the Downtown Dayton Partnership and its overpaid staff. Economic development has to be consolidated and coordinated in one place at no less than the County level. Charging additional property taxes to pay bureaucrats isn’t how to make downtown more attractive.
- Redefine the boundaries of “Downtown” to include the Historic District and ring neighborhoods (Oregon, McPherson Town, St. Annes Hill, South Park, Wright Dunbar, Lower Dayton View, Fairgrounds). This would also include NCR, UD, Miami Valley Hospital, 5/3rd Field, The Cannery, the Dayton Art Institute, Grandview Hospital. The microscopic and myopic idea of downtown needs to be blown up.
Last but not least, everyone needs to read the Letter to the Editor in the same issue by Elizabeth Wardle-“ suggesting the region has too many “cities” and we should consolidate like Louisville KY. Amen!
Stop looking at the city as an iceberg and start looking at the region as water- how things flow within the region is much more important than what floats to the top. If we want to strengthen our position it’s going to require new thinking, new, brave leadership and everyone working together. It’s called teamwork and it’s just given lip service around here.
One national retail store in the Dayton Mall closing has more economic impact than this entire slew of”bad news” for Dayton in the paper- but would never get front page coverage. Was it the end of our region when Wolohans Lumber or Furrow closed their doors? No. But each had a much larger effect on the area in terms of vacant real estate, job losses etc. by an order of magnitude larger than what was covered in these articles.
If you agree with what is said here- I highly recommend you write a letter to the editor of the Dayton Daily News, email@example.com and tell them what you think.
What do you think?