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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