How the rich get richer in Dayton Ohio: Austin Road sprawl and your tax dollars.

Yes, I know gas is at $2 a gallon right now, and we all feel a sigh of relief- but, instead of looking forward using the lesson we just learned with $4 a gallon gas, we’re still planning a $50 million interchange- and now adding yet another “events center” which will compete with the Dayton Convention Center, Hara Arena, The Nutter Center, the Mandalay etc.

All while people are driving less.

We could be putting the money into improving what we have- including our public transportation system, instead of encouraging a whole new ring neighborhood- outside of the current ring neighborhoods.

As usual, the people in government have no clue at the long tern impact of a facility being built in a cornfield- without other amenities nearby:

Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, raised the possibility of shifting $2 million in state capital budget funding now allocated for Dayton’s Ballpark District to Austin Pike. Husted, who becomes an Ohio senator in January, said if Dayton’s project can’t use the money in the near term, “we probably would be better off transferring that money to Austin Road.” He said a decision to shift that money would be made in conjunction with the city, Montgomery County, Gov. Ted Strickland and area legislators.

Dayton City Manager Rashad Young said he was surprised to hear talk of shifting the money away from downtown Dayton.

“I would hate to see us lose that capital bill allocation to any other project, because that remains a priority for us,” said Young. He said the city supports Austin Pike development, but downtown must remain a Dayton priority.

Funding is in place for construction of the $48.8 million interchange at Austin Pike starting next year. A single developer, RG Properties, owns or controls all four corners, said Steve Stanley, executive director of the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District.

The events center would anchor a high-tech mixed-use development that officials say could bring 21,000 jobs.

“This is definitely not a pipe dream. This is a very, very strong and solid concept,” said Montgomery County Assistant Administrator Joe Tuss. “Do we have a significant amount of work to do? And are there a lot of hurdles to overcome? Certainly.”

He anticipates funding would come from RG Properties and private sources along with some public money. With local, state and federal governments all struggling with financial issues, Tuss and Husted acknowledge that finding public funding will be tough.

Tuss said a 7,000-seat events center would fill a need for a mid-sized venue on the southern portion of Ohio’s stretch of I-75. Officials and developers are discussing trying to attract an American Hockey League team to the arena, and making it available to youth hockey leagues in communities stretching to Cincinnati. Fees for use of the center and arena would be used to cover operating costs.

“Ice time is a premium and quality ice time is even more of a priority,” said Tuss. “Having an anchor like a sports team makes sense. But you have to appeal to as broad a segment as you can.”

Austin Pike project not easy to fund.

Please note, if we built this facility downtown, near the Oregon district- we would help exisiting businesses, hotels, and be close to potential employees for the facility- many who could walk to work, or commute by public transport. Putting it in a cornfield is just plain nuts.

I’ve got the “talking points” from Montgomery County communications director Cathy Peterson attached as a pdf- have to love the inclusion of this statement:

9.  What about the Bombers?  They are barely making it – How will another team be successful?  Why don’t you just move the Bombers here?

The keys to a successful sports team are:  1, location, location, location, and 2, a great facility.  We will have both at Austin.    As to the Bombers, we don’t want to get the cart before the horse, and the first step is the development and financing plan for the Event Center.  Right now we are focused on an AHL level team, but we still have lots of work to do.

When local government starts talking about the viability of private companies as part of the public record- you have to start to wonder who the government is really working for.

If government really was working for all of us, instead of just the wealthy- we wouldn’t have to pay some PR flack to make up this crap.

Austin Road interchange should be scrapped- and $50 million ought to be redirected to supporting infrastructure for businesses that help support walkable communities- so we can end our dependence on foreign oil and a car-centric lifestyle.

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10 Responses

  1. Gene November 13, 2008 / 2:07 pm
    How about none of the above. Why are my hard earned tax dollars benefiting private business, either at Austin Pike or Downtown Dayton. I know we need a viable Downtown, so why don’t we give tax incentives to businesses to locate there and leave OUR money out of it. It seems the easier the solution (mine) the less consideration it gets.

    Government should allow progress/redevelopment through attracting new businesses (through tax incentives) rather than my money to help out private investment. Until we realize that Government is nonproductive, slow, unorganized, costs too much, if full of crap, lies, funnels money into their buddies pockets, creates too much red tape (go see the development across the river from Cincy, bc Cincy, Hamilton Co. and Ohio have TOO much red tape) we will never get off our crack addition (government) to hand hold a bunch of RICH and POOR people. Those in the middle are getting FRICKED, and yet they depend on US to spend our money in such developments. Get Government out of the way, let businesses lead progress.

    FYI – when you TAX a business they PASS ON THE TAX TO US THROUGH HIGHER PRICES – we could have $5 12pack of Corona but so many people (governments and various agencies) have their hand out that the $5 12pack becomes a $14 12pack. DOWN WITH GOVERNMENT – bunch of greedy bastards.

  2. Jeff November 13, 2008 / 6:19 pm
    Incidentally, John Husted has received around $15M $15k in campaign contributions from one of the principles in RG Enterprises, who is proposing this arena.

    But Husted has recieved a lot of $$$ from others as well, so not sure if there is a quid pro quo here.

    One wonders why the suburban site. It seems an arena is the missing program piece for BPV. Attract people going to baseball in the summer and people going to hockey in the winter.

  3. Jeff November 13, 2008 / 6:24 pm
    Oops..i meant $15K, not $15M. (fixed)

    It looks like Austin Road is going to happen hell or high water. And I don’t think it will affect Dayton that much, really. The city, particularly the center city, is already fairly dead as a business place, so Austin Road is playing in a different market, competing with the other I-75 interchanges, not with Dayton.

  4. Bruce Kettelle November 15, 2008 / 12:57 pm
    I don’t agree Jeff. As close as it is to Dayton and as far as it is from the midpoint between Dayton and Cincinnati it will tend to affect downtown and the Dayton Mall. If I am lookng to locate my firm in the market I will have to think about creature comforts for my staff and clients. Putting more variety this far out including restaurants, retail, and entertainment opportunities will draw attention away from downtown options.

    With this overall market relatively constrained by the economy look for any new construction there to create vacancies elsewhere. There is no discernable population growth in the overall metro area. This may have looked better back in the economic heydey of the 1990s when it was hatched but today it raises some big questions. Is government so inflexible that they cannot take a step back and take a fresh look at going forward? Yes there would be protest from the land speculators but isn’t that why they call it speculation?

  5. David Esrati November 15, 2008 / 1:34 pm

    And note: Hara Arena’s business went south when the Nutter Center opened- this will destroy South Dayton Metro ice rink.
    I’m sorry- RG Properties can do anything they want- but shouldn’t get a dime of tax dollar support for this project.
    It’s bad enough we’re building the off ramp for them.

  6. Jeff November 15, 2008 / 6:30 pm
    To Bruce, I agree that Austin Road will be competing with the I-675/Mall Area market(the corridor between I-675 and OH 725). In a way this is a southward extension of Lexis/Nexis-Newmark-Lyons Road -I-657/Yankee office park stuff.

    Or, if you want to look at it as an industrial/distro site, an extension of the large floorplate stuff west of 675 along Byers Road.

    When I say downtown is pretty dead already I base this on running the numbers, not opinion. It had 7% of the county workforce as of 2005. The bigger picture is that the giant sucking sound to the east and south is being heard in the north suburbs too. The office market for north Dayton suburbs is at the same 20%-30% vacancy rate as it is for downtown (according to Colliers Internationl market surveys).

    Yes its true, it’s not just Dayton city that is being effected by the re-orientation of growth to Greene County and southward.

    @@@

    To David, RG Properities are amazing, aren’t they. These guys have nearly every key intersection south of Spring Valley sewed up.

    >cue Boss Hawg drawl<

    Ah am impressed!

  7. Bruce Kettelle November 16, 2008 / 8:48 am
    Jeff – Please don’t minimize this project’s effect on Dayton because “downtown is pretty dead already”. Dayton’s biggest challenge is to attract new employers to the core and retain the few they have managed to hold on to. My point is that with nearby competition like this, new office based businesses will have another reason be lured to suburbia rather than downtown.

    It is not so much the fault of developers as it is the public that continues to accept sprawl and planners that continue to allow it.
    Unchecked the developing world will eventually run out of land to grow food to feed all of us, when do we start planning for that?

  8. Russ December 10, 2008 / 4:28 pm
    You all are touched. I live down here. We need the interchange and the additional business. Stop hating people that create jobs and opportunity for others.

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