Esrati's big idea for a Dayton Sportsplex

Dayton Recreation director finally stumbles upon Esrati’s “Sportsplex” plan

I didn’t get credit for bring bike share to Dayton, and I won’t get credit for this idea either. Of course, my idea is more fully fleshed out, since I’ve been talking about this since Percy Mack was DPS superintendent (whenever that was).
My idea was more than just building a sports complex, but a hub for Dayton Public School Students to go to after school. It included a centralized tutoring center, and admission to the facilities was controlled by attendance and grades.
There was also a Disney like monorail- connecting Kettering Fields, Island Park, The Boonshoft Museum and Wegerzyn and the Playhouse together- with hubs at each for different areas of interest/study.

You can follow the link to all the posts. The first was in 2006, soon after this blog started: Rec Centers at center stage- the BIG IDEA.

Go read it, and see where Ms. Williams is coming up a bit short on the imagination scale.

Here’s what the front page story in the Dayton Daily newsless said on Feb 21, 2023. Read this- and realize, had I been elected to the Dayton City Commission one of the gajillion times I’ve run, we’d already have something far superior to this:

Dayton wants to see some big changes at Kettering Field and the city might be willing to spend $15 million or more to make it into a “premier” sports complex.

“We want to offer an amenity that the community can be proud of and that provides the opportunity for a vast variety of fun, physical activities, programs and events that appeal to the Dayton community as a whole,” said Robin Williams, the director of Dayton’s recreation department. Kettering Field, at 444 N. Bend Boulevard in the McCook Field area, consists of about 90 acres of land, including property the city purchased a few years ago from Greater Dayton Premier Management.

The property is bordered by North Bend Boulevard to the west, North Keowee Street to the east, Interstate 75 to the south and East Helena Street to the north.

Kettering Field currently has seven softball diamonds, four baseball diamonds, four “fastpitch” diamonds and a regulationsized artificial turf football field that was donated by the NFL, city officials said.

Most fields have lighting and fencing and the property also has limited seating and a concessions building.

There are multiple basketball courts, but they are not usable since they are overgrown with vegetation and do not have rims or nets.

But the city wants to find a company to help design a multi-use sports complex that would add a bunch of new amenities to the property.

New amenities could include new playgrounds, basketball and sand volleyball courts, a soccer field, walking paths, LED lighting, shaded structures and shaded seating, bleachers and an adult fitness playground.

The city also is interested in installing synthetic turf infields for the baseball and softball diamonds, which currently have grass cover.

New fencing and a basketball field house also could be added.

Williams said initial price estimates from several years ago suggested these improvements could cost around $15 million.

The city plans to debt-finance the project and originally estimated it could take about six years to complete the upgrades.

But Williams said supply costs have increased and shipping delays means the project timeline could change.

Jerry Bowling III, president of the McCook Field Neighborhood Association, said upgrading Kettering Field could make it more of a destination that would attract larger crowds and benefit local businesses, including those along North Keowee Street.

An improved Kettering Field would help achieve some of the goals of the Dayton riverfront master plan, which calls for new amenities, investments and changes along the riverbanks, including turning North Bend Boulevard into a pedestrian promenade, Bowling said.

The riverfront plan envisions Kettering Field as Dayton’s “premier” active recreation park, featuring baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, skateboarding, “adventure play” and running/walking loops.

McCook Field was formerly an airfield that was a big part of aviation history, and it would be nice to see something at the Kettering Field honoring that legacy, Bowling said.

Source: City may spend millions to make Kettering Field a ‘premier’ sports complex – Dayton Daily News

This is why the voters in Dayton have been shortchanged by their elected leadership, not a creative bone in any of their bodies. The amount of money they’ve spent on demolition since 2006 when I first wrote about this could have built this facility to Olympic scale and had money left over.

But, remember, who pays for the campaigns of all those “Culture of Corruption” folks… and how Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph haven’t ever talked about a vision for building our city back- that would make all those homes worth saving.

Here’s the original deck I presented to Dr. Mack- around 2005-2006

5th death in the montgomery county jail

Another death in the Montgomery County Jail

It’s only the fourth month of 2023 and we have now had 5 deaths. I broke the story on each of the first 2, Aaron Dixon on Jan 13, Steven Darnell Blackshear on Jan 29, then the Dayton Daily news told us about numbers 3 and 4: Amber Goonan on Feb. 24, and Isaiah Trammell on Mar. 16.

The pattern remains the same- jailed, and about 3 days later- an overdose. The same happened to number 5.

This morning, just before shift change at 8, another inmate booked a few days ago, died of an OD. The Dayton Police charges that got her a death sentence:


C.A.K. was hardly an upstanding citizen with lots of legal troubles, that most likely corresponded with her addiction. At some point, we need to realize that drug addicts need to be in a medical facility, not a jail, and treated for their mental illnesses.

While the Sheriff keeps claiming drugs are being smuggled into the jail, he hasn’t said who is doing the smuggling. At this point, I don’t believe it’s inmates- but is someone working in the jail. You don’t have 5 in a row in less than 4 months, where they all get hold of something that toxic, a few days after entering the jail.

Either way, it’s not OK for people awaiting trial to get a death sentence without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. The Montgomery County Jail is a public health hazard and needs changes.

There are also issues of lice, bedbugs and a rat the size of a cat according to scuttlebutt, but, I think that’s just people talking smack about yesterday’s star inmate.

RIP C.A.K, age 44. Hopefully, your death won’t be in vain.

Kettering attorney Aaron Paul Hartley Mugshot

Finally, Attorney Aaron Hartley in Jail

If I wrote on social media that I wanted to put a bullet in the head of a magistrate, I guarantee you I’d be in jail by the next day.

Not so for local attorney Aaron Paul Hartley (license currently suspended), it’s been almost three years and finally, he’s in for a shortened stay for one of his other crimes, assault. Judge James Long of Kettering should never be re-elected after the way he botched this.

Hartley’s wife- and former client, is still trying to divorce him, almost 3 years later. They were married less than 10 months. In the meantime he’s milking her TriCare for all it’s worth.

It’s funny how the “justice system” in Montgomery County takes care of its own. From prosecutors getting raises while under investigation for rape, and prosecutors (now judges) husbands embezzlement of public funds just seem to be glossed over.

Thankfully, our Montgomery County jail isn’t the safest place for people (4 deaths so far this year), so maybe Mr. Hartley will get some special treatment from his fellow felons.

Kettering Attorney (suspended license) Aaron Paul Hartley, in his new mug shot- to try to disguise himself online. He assaults women, has sex with clients, makes sleeping with him a condition of employment. The beard and the hair can change- but, he'll always be a jerk.
Aaron Paul Hartley thinks growing a beard and his hair long for his mugshot in 2023 may help him go hide his real story later in life. Same guy. Same suspended law license.

Aaron Hartley has had more than his 15 minutes of fame on this site. The only other newsworthy thing will be when his license is revoked and he’ll never practice his form of law again (you know the one, where you have sex with clients, and make sexual service a requirement for employment by a young attorney).

Our courts operate way too slowly- with way too much good ole boy club mentality. Why his wife, a military officer, should still be awaiting her divorce from this criminal is a crime. Maybe, it’s time to make a change in the way we elect judges, where if they are unopposed, that’s their last term. No more friends and family lifetime appointments.

Or better yet, let’s start putting some of them in jail with Aaron for failure to do their jobs.

Winners and Losers in Dayton Ohio

“You probably think this song story is about you”

Carly Simon- “You’re so vain”

This story is not about Anthony T. Head, the self-titled “Peoples Chef” although he will surely think it is. It’s about inequality in corporate welfare in Dayton Ohio- and the fallacy that our government has any kind of expertise in “economic development.”

Chef Head, makes a damn good chicken sandwich, I’ve tasted it. He’ll tell his social media followers, of which there are many, that it’s the most amazing chicken sandwich you’ll ever eat. That it costs twice what you’d pay at either Chik-fil-a or Popeyes is immaterial. It’s part of the price of supporting small, independent restaurants. Also- quality costs more. He’s called his place various names, “The Chicken Spot” or “Chicken Head’s”- and he’s had a series of jobs that seem legit, until you realize, that he may have a small bit of George Santos embellishment skills.

I first met him when he was teaching at Ponitz Career Tech running the Culinary Arts program. He was brash, proud, and a great self-promoter, and from outward appearance, he was making a difference in the classroom. He has a passion for being a chef, and teaching others the art of making great food.

However, there is another side to Head that had me debating writing this story.

Direct quote from his Facebook impressum: “My Love is the Culmination of Good Intentions and ***the Exact Opposite When Crossed***

I had to look up the hashtag. From “The abbreviation iykyk stands for the phrase if you know, you know. It is used after a statement or some form of content as a way of indicating that it is an inside joke or a reference to something only a select group of people know and understand.”

That may be why I was also the only one who visited him in the Montgomery County Jail when he spent about a week locked up on a domestic violence charge. Note- teachers usually don’t continue to teach in High Schools once charged with DV. It wasn’t his first act of violence. Back in 2007, Chef Head made the Dayton Daily News for assaulting a police officer (or 5 if you hear a cop tell the story). It’s a very short story:

“A man was arrested Monday, accused of punching a Dayton police officer.

Anthony Head, 28, was arrested after officers were called to a home on Iroquois Avenue in response to a report of a man being down.

Police said that when officers arrived they found Head, who then allegedly punched and shoved a officer down some stairs. The officer was not seriously injured.

Head was charged with assault.”

Having a teacher in Dayton Public Schools who was charged with assault shouldn’t be surprising to readers of this site, they’ve hired superintendents without a proper background check. Just remember, George Santos got elected to congress- you can’t count on anyone for a proper background check anymore. But, this isn’t what this story is about.

It’s about a building at the corner of N. Main and Great Miami Boulevard just North of I-75 in downtown Dayton. Once the home of the late night fried chicken mecca, “Chicken Louies” – where Louie reportedly did millions a year in the space that was built as a chain place (Friendly’s? White Tower?) the location was a proven winner. Ostensibly started in 1958, the building had been fortified over the years- the bullet proof glass in the lobby, the double security doors into the kitchen from the lobby, were put in place as the neighborhood struggled. A shooting in the parking lot in 2006, may have been one of the reasons Louie closed up shop and moved to Miamisburg.

Red area at the bottom of the parking lot is the missing driveway necessary to allow customers to get in and out of the parking lot safely.

Because the City of Dayton is run by the demolition companies and developers, the city “invested” a bunch of money tearing down brick multi-story apartment buildings along Great Miami Boulevard, and eliminating an empty car dealership on N. Main just South of it, and made a huge green space and a newly built winding road to provide nicer access to Grandview Hospital and the Dayton Art Institute sometime after 2011 (Google maps time line). Because Louies was empty, and they wanted to make sure it would also be torn down eventually, they cut off its parking lot from the new parkway, making sure the only way in and out was at the corner of N. Main- where a stopped bus at the bus stop would make entry or exit impossible- as would any cars stacked up at the light.

So, when local business man Brian Higgins (now famously associated with the “Culture of Corruption” non-investigation in Dayton) tried to open up a new chicken restaurant, Quincy’s, in the same spot, he was short the safe access to the boulevard.

Full disclosure: Brian Higgins is a friend, and I did work for him starting around 2010 for his “Sidebar 410” restaurant on 5th street- and continued with Quincy’s when it was on W. Third– all the way to when he moved to N. Main in 2016.

There are no mentions of Quincy’s in the Dayton Daily about Quincy’s- except when he applied for a beer license.

Higgins asked the city to make a curb cut and re-connect the parking lot to Great Miami Boulevard primarily as a safe access for his customers. The city response was to tell him it would cost him $30K. Considering, it took Higgins over a year to get the former restaurant re-opened, due to the damage looters had caused by ripping out the electrical panels and scrapping as much as they could get out the doors- this was insult to injury.

When I saw the $187,000 grant the City was awarding to Head to open in the location Higgins had sunk a small fortune into I thought of other people I know, who don’t have a questionable past, who’ve tried to do development in the city without any taxpayer assistance.

My friend, and former campaign treasurer, James Nunez opened the Texas Beef and Cattle company on W Third Street without a dime from the city. My friend, former Ohio State Football stud, and local banker and community leader John Lumpkin hasn’t had a dime for his plan to renovate and restore the old Chevy dealership at the corner of W. Third and Riverside Drive.

Much of W. Third Streets business district has seen a lot of action lately, since developer Larry Dillin swooped in.

Which leads me to the question, where are the standards, the application process, the evaluation of projects, the equal opportunity for access to the taxpayer trough of public dough?

I don’t see an application on the City of Dayton “Economic Development” page. They have a very long investment prospectus (downloads a pdf- embedded below), selling the city for development though.

While I’ve toiled in the South Park Historic District since 1986 to build a neighborhood that people want to live in, working with the Neighborhood association, rehabbing 5, soon to be 6 properties, starting a for profit neighborhood development corporation, working on marketing and building and hosting the website, as well as fundraising, advocating and even making a half-hour video about the neighborhood with the music of Buckwheat Zydeco, I’ve yet to see a city wide application for development dollars open to all.

I’ve watched others come and try economic development, rehab, restoration, etc with varying amount of either help or resistance from the city. Michael Kern once tried to package properties in the McPherson Town neighborhood to try to restore them all at once- he ended up in jail. Wright Dunbar, was a city driven project, where some homes got a quarter million dollar renovation- only to be sold for half that, and all new sidewalks, streets, lights, and other amenities were recipients of dump trucks full of dollars being dumped into the ‘hood.

Bill Rain was chased out of the Schwind building where the city spent more money blowing it up and making a hole in the ground than Rain had asked for to help move the project along. The subsequent owner, Bob Shiffler got a shiv in the back after doing a wonderful job on the former Chemineer building at 4th and Main.

The Cannery project barely made it out of the gates, with some super bad interventions to complete the tax credit dance. They’d originally planned first floor retail, 2nd floor offices and then apartments above- to balance parking requirements, but supposedly HUD wouldn’t allow the offices- forcing all residential above retail- creating more parking issues.

Winfield Gibson had grand plans for the Fireblocks, that someone else is now implementing after he was pushed aside.

I’ve called Jim Gagnet a one man economic development engine for Dayton. If you need evidence, walk along Pulaski Street by his wife’s restaurant, Coco’s and know that he either rehabbed or built almost every house on the block between Burns Ave and Lincoln street- in addition to his home next to Coco’s and the restaurant. He shares my belief that development is best done where you can throw a football and hit all of your projects, instead of scattering them all over the city. He’s taken on projects others thought impossible and made a difference for decades. He’s had mixed luck with aide from the city, even going bankrupt twice along the way, and coming back from the ashes.

Don’t get me wrong, I want Anthony Head to succeed with his chicken restaurant. However, I can go to Benjamins Burger Master across the street, or Grandma’s up a little bit further- and give my money to folks who’ve had to struggle for everything they’ve got.

The only reason I believe that Head got the money from the city for this project is that part of the project includes purchase and demolition of the house just North of the restaurant. That house used to house African immigrants who were always willing to work for Higgins to help clear the parking lot of debris and kept an eye on the place after hours.

If you pretend you own a demolition company, and look at the actions of the leaders in Dayton, you’d think you were looking at your leading investors. A group of people who seem to think that you can rebuild a city by tearing it down. That’s not how we made South Park one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city, where “historic zoning codes” preclude demolition in most cases, but, that point is moot. We just don’t hand bags of cash to the politicians either, so, demolition wins

I’ve tried to explain that you can’t demolish your way to prosperity and that even after spending tens of millions and maybe hundreds, we’re still always way behind on demolition. If instead, we’d invested the money helping property owners maintain roofs, gutters, and hold them accountable for the messes they leave, we’d be far ahead. Or, if we’d spent the money on actual city services, or building amenities like swimming pools, or ice rinks, or Sportsplexes instead, we’d be far ahead. People might feel better about investing and preserving what they have if they knew people would want to live there- and not just survive there.

Poverty is the root of almost all of Dayton’s problems. And while we must be careful what we wish for (gentrification isn’t a panacea either), if we spent money on empowering all of our citizens instead of picking and choosing a select few for tax subsidies, we’d be much better off.

Where is the rubric to decide who the winners and losers will be? What are the requirements, where is the application? Because, it’s time to level the playing field, for all. Not just for the best self-promoting chicken sandwich maker.

Dayton leads the nation

April 1, 2023 Dayton OH: Results of a large scale, multi-year longitudinal study by Ramapo College’s Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) Center has turned up some fascinating insights that have led to the discovery of a new gene, and it’s high concentration in a few major cities including Chicago, Boston, Salt Lake City, Detroit and Dayton.

The College is one of the first in the nation to offer a major in studying genetic material to be used to solve crime, and came upon these results almost entirely by accident. Dr. Pat Mybak had been given rare access to the DNA results of both and that allowed him to cross-reference both public service employees and elected public officials in the 200 largest cities in America. The data was then anonymized, and geo-located.

If you’ve ever used one of the commercial genetic testing services you can see where your genetic history is geolocated historically in some cases down to very small regions and the percentage of correlation.

Dr. Mybak found such strong correlations in some cities that he was able to identify a new gene, tentatively named NEP-0T-1SM, he is still awaiting a ruling from the Human Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC), an international panel of researchers with exclusive authority over this area.

The study, which was a ancillary to a study on life expectancy of public officials being paid for by a major insurance group looking for actuarial data came as a total surprise. Dr. Mybak’s discovery that some communities have an exponentially higher number of related public officials/public employees than any other cities in the country, led by the smallest city on the list Dayton Ohio.

“The number of relationships was so abnormal, 50% higher than the next city on the list, which was Chicago, that has a much bigger data set, led me to wonder if there was an actual genetic malformation in Dayton” said Dr. Mybak. Upon further study of the genetic material, there seems to be a common genetic mutation that shows up in almost 84.5% of the group. Compared to only 42.0% of the Chicago sample. This means that the hiring and electing of public employees is not random, but a genetic trait that has manifested itself in a new and different way.

When asked to identify what could be causing this emergent genetic trait in Dayton Ohio, Dr. Mybak had said he has teams working on this, and the first two theories were either lasting contamination from the Manhattan Project or possible alien genetic material introduced from Hanger 18 at WPAFB where the government cannot confirm or deny storage of UFO’s and other alien artifacts. Dr. Mybak says it may take longer to figure out the genetic mutations cause, than to further test it by expanding his research to include other countries. “Chicago, Boston and Detroit have long histories of back room dealing, Salt Lake has a very tight gene pool thanks to the prevalence of a single religion, Dayton is the outlier and it’s really hard to understand both the high rate of familial genetic connections and the actual genetic malformation.” The paper and study are due to be published one year from today on April First 2024.

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