Does Dayton need a “Combat zone”?

I first heard this idea from John Gower, who is now the director of planning. I thought it had merit then, and am thinking it has more merit now.

Zone an area that is extremely depressed as the X-rated area. Allow porn stores, strip clubs, all night bars, seedy motels that rent by the hour, to have a place to themselves. Charge high taxes, provide high police visibility, but don’t arrest the hookers, just the drunks and fighters.

Have a hooker rehab center and drug rehab programs in the area- supported by the higher taxes.

This way, the negative impact of these activities is limited to the designated area. Hookers caught plying their trade elsewhere- picked up and dropped off in the Combat Zone. Pimps who want to beat up girls – arrested, since the area will be well patrolled.

Boston had an area called the “combat zone” for years, and I saw the same kind of thing in Hamburg and Paris. There is no reason it couldn’t work here.

What brought this idea back to mind was a motorcycle ride last Friday night with a couple of buddies- I brought them back in down W. Third Street. Both buddies, Vietnam era Army Rangers, thought I was trying to give them flashbacks. Face it, there isn’t enough money available to bring back parts of W. Third Street- so maybe the answer is to let the wages of sin give it a shot. Moving the sex shops out of the Oregon District, N. Dixie, etc. might help give other areas a better chance- and also give some people in Dayton a reason to go over to the West Side.

Sounds harsh- but, the reality is, maybe this is one of the conversations we should be having?

Thoughts?

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