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Downtown’s finally getting bigger.

I’ve always said one of the problems in Dayton is our narrow definition of Downtown. I consider South Park, UD, Miami Valley Hospital, Grandview, the Dayton Art Institute, the Oregon District- all to be downtown- and have been laughed at for it.

Now, apparently the idea has caught on:

The effort is divided among three committees focused on the plan for downtown, a value proposition for the urban core and funding sources for implementing the plan. The group defines value proposition as the things that make Dayton an attractive place to locate and its competitive advantages.

Dr. Mike Ervin, a local philanthropist and co-chair of the planning effort, said the principles laid out on Jan. 27 are meant to act as a starting point for the discussion over downtown’s future.

The group hopes to have a draft plan completed by June, he said.

“The future belongs to those regions taking urban revitalization seriously,” Ervin said. “Those are the regions that are and will continue to attract high-value jobs, young professionals and those businesses and institutions that want to employ them.”

Also chairing the planning effort are Michael Greitzer, co-chair of the Downtown Dayton Partnership Greitzer, and Dayton City Manager Rashad Young.

During the press conference, the group issued what it calls guiding principles for planning. The list includes such issues as housing, sustainable development, training for green jobs and evaluating and recommending whether the city should have streetcars.

Ervin said the area under review will include not only the central business district, but also other neighborhoods and landmarks such as Miami Valley Hospital, the University of Dayton and the Dayton Art Institute.

Public Meetings:

Feb. 10: Noon at Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St.

Feb. 12 5 p.m. at c{space, 20 N. Jefferson St.

Feb. 17: 7 p.m. at Sinclair Community College, Charity Earley Auditorium, Ponitz Center.


Short surveys offered at www.downtowndayton.org. [1] Surveys also available at Dayton Metro Library branches.

[note- I got this error message at the end of the online survey: The system cannot find the file specified.]


Discussion threads have been set up at www.mostmetro.com [2].


Official Facebook name: A Greater Downtown Dayton Plan [3].

via Local leaders want input on revitalizing downtown [4].

While it’s great that Mike Ervin is pushing for yet another plan for the future, if he really wants to lead downtown back- he should consider running for mayor. We’ve had a lot of plans and projects for “fixing downtown:” Courthouse Square, The Arcade, The Arcade Tower and the Cit Fed Tower, the Schuster Center, Riverscape, and 5/3rd Field all come to mind.

What we haven’t fixed is putting someone in charge who can paint a big picture and get people on board.

Realizing Downtown is bigger than the 12 blocks between the river and the railroad tracks isn’t rocket science. Getting a real board of directors (City Commission) who can guide the CEO (the City Manager) on a path to prosperity- that’s the real plan.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed [5]! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating [6]. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!
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The issue is one of terminology.

Downtown, or the Central Business District, CBD for short, has a definite meaning in urban history,geography, and urban design.

What is being proposed, this greater downtown, could be labed the “Central Area”, meaning the traditional downtown and its enivrons. The Dayton Central Area Plan, New Developements in the Central Area, The Central Area a hub of lightlife, etc: a new coinage like this would better describe what is being attempted or how downtown and it’s surroundings operate as a system.

Greater Downtown is fine, too.

David Lauri

This is probably an area where terminology used by the public and that used by specialists (urban planners, etc.) will just have to differ. I can get that Central Business District would have the narrower definition, but when I lived in the Oregon District and now that I live in Grafton Hill, I considered and consider myself to be living downtown, whether or not urban planners agreed or not. And when asked where I live, I’m not going to say “greater downtown.”


Now if we could just start getting everyone to refer to the whole area as “Greater Dayton” instead of the “Miami Valley”….

Bill Pote

I’m not a fan of the term “Greater Downtown” because it makes me think that there is perhaps a “Lesser Downtown” or “Lesser Dayton”, not to mention that it is just boring. I’m glad that there is a real effort to redefine what “downtown” actually means, because I too think that downtown should include neighborhoods like OD, SP, McPherson Town, St. Anne’s Hill and Grafton Hill (Wright Dunbar too, though the river and I75 have done quite the job at isolating it from the rest of “downtown”).

At the same time that we’re looking at redefining downtown as a collection of these different urban core neighborhoods, I think it is just as important that each neighborhood still maintains its unique identity. It really wouldn’t do our historic neighborhoods justice to simply call it all “downtown”.

David – from a marketing perspective what would you suggest as a name for the greater downtown area?

Bill Pote

And you don’t think it is important for each neighborhood to maintain its own identity then? Just call it all “downtown” and leave it at that?

Bill Pote

I agree. Hell, I grew up in Hammond, IN and still identified with living in “Chicago” (though I did eventually live in the city). I suppose we all could go round and round about these semantics and it really doesn’t matter.

On the flip side, I think that some people elsewhere in the region think of the entire city of Dayton when they say “downtown” – especially when they see the daily crime reports on the “news” and then say they won’t come downtown because of all of the crime. Even though the CBD is by far the safest district in the city. The term “downtown” does seem to have a negative connotation with many folks outside of the city, which is unfortunate.


Ok, I could concede that maybe “Greater Dayton” isn’t the best option… and that just “Dayton” is obviously preferable… My point was that “Miami Valley” does nothing to associate Dayton at all, and that sucks… it’s kinda like the “Get Midwest” thing…


I just took the survey. Dayton has so much to offer that the suburbs do not. Since moving downtown I have felt a greater sense of community, maybe because there are more opportunities to interact with and meet people who have similar interests as myself. I have to say I never felt the same feeling of “community” when I was sitting at The Greene.
Take the short survey http://www.dayton.mostmetro.com/forum/

Ice Bandit

Many the time has the old Bandito indulged in dewy-eyed nostalgia about the glories that was once downtown Dayton. Gallaghers Drugs, Murdock Candies, Top of the Mall and Virginia Cafeteria were but a few of the places I praised to my children, along with anecdotes about the magic that was downtown even in their lifetime. And my kids react in a predictable way; with a rolling of the eyes and the look that begs “are you for real.” For my children (the youngest being 23) know that downtown has been an unsafe hellhole for the last quarter century and no appeal to history will reverse that fact. Ask any Daytonian if he personally knows anyone who has been victimized downtown and you’ll likely hear an emphatic “yes.” And thirty years of throwing cash at the center city has not slowed the tide The Greene seems to hit on a theme; bring a snapshot of an old-fashioned downtown to the burbs, and keep the criminals out. Seems to be working……….


Seems to be working . . . Yep, it’s working to continue the problems that beset the downtown. It takes tax revenue away from Dayton; it works to continue racist and socioeconomic stereotypes, it works to destroy public schools, it works to keep the impoverish in poverty, it works to take away the genuine and replace it with something as artificial as Disneyland. The homogenizing of America is sickening and places like The Greene are nearly as shameful as “white only” lunch counters.


Larkin, I agree. Another consideration is, who actually walks to The Greene, the “The Downtown” plan includes public transportation, and more greater goods.


As someone who used to go dowtown a lot, at night, over the past 20 years, I dont get the unsafe hellhole bit. Maybe I was just lucky.


“And the first thing that the city could do- is redefine the Priority boards- by adding all the ring neighborhoods to the Downtown Priority Board.”

This is a great idea.

Ice Bandit

Hey Larkin. I didn’t realize buying a pair of Reeboks at the Greene’s Foot Locker was a deliberate attempt to “continue racial and socioeconomic stereotypes.” I thought I was only buying a pair of sneaks. Heaven forbid someone would want to shop at a place that was clean, convenient and safe. Furthermore, the primary clothing sold downtown is hip-hop. I’m more than willing to bend the rules of fashion, but I guarantee that this balding, middle aged caucasian is gonna’ look pretty ridiculous wearing a Tupac t-shirt and Fubu shorts. Rather than villifying the suburbs, true lovers of downtown should emulate the burbs success. As an aside, an associate of mine went downtown today to pay a water bill and got a ticket because he failed to wipe the snow off his license plates. He is no wiser and no threat to society but he is $100 poorer. The downtown police have become ersatz tax collectors, and the deeper the city falls into the economic morass the greater the risk of the traffic ticket. And that will be the greatest detriment to folks coming back downtown. And I’ll repeat my original question: do you know anyone who has been victimized downtown………..?


“Furthermore, the primary clothing sold downtown is hip-hop. I’m more than willing to bend the rules of fashion, but I guarantee that this balding, middle aged caucasian is gonna’ look pretty ridiculous wearing a Tupac t-shirt and Fubu shorts.”

That’s a pretty good observation. The busiest retail part of downtown is the block of Main between 3rd & 4th because there is retail caterting to the black population (or at least a part of it), probably RTA riders since the shops are close to the bus stop. You could say the same for the convenience stuff inside the waiting hall.

I notice when the weather is better the vendors will have their wares displayed on the street.

It’s small, but a sign of life downtown.

The problem for white folk is that when you see all these black people in one place, particularly the poorer type that use RTA it spooks them because white folks associate “black” with “crime”. Plus different cultural style between the ghetto and white suburbia just in the way people talk and carry themselves.

The perception problem might improve somewhat when they put the bus waiting into that new mid-block waiting area. But you are still going to see black folk walking around downtown, so that is always going to be there.


First off, if you’re buying sneaks at the Greene, you’re paying too much, and second this is about revitalization of the downtown area. It’s a move in the right direction, be open to change and differences between cultural groups.