Quoted in DBJ about Dayton Diode- our hackerspace

Page 3 of Dayton Business Journal, January 28, 2011, published on the 25th anniversary of me buying 113 Bonner Street for $14,500- I’m quoted about economic development;

David Esrati, a local political blogger and chief creative officer of Dayton-based advertising agency The Next Wave, said Dayton Diode represents true economic development because it boosts the quality of life in the region.

“It’s incubators like this that make Dayton a more attractive and interesting place to the kind of people we should be trying to attract,” said Esrati, who began publicly calling for the development of a local hackerspace last spring, unaware Dayton Diode was brewing.

Dayton Diode is having an open house Feb 5- see the release. Well worth checking into. What makes Dayton Diode more interesting is that it’s being done without government interference, “help” or sponsorship.

Sort of like what happened when I bought my house in Dayton.

It had been on the market for 2 years. First listed for $22,900, it had been reduced to $17,900 when I looked at it and one other house. Mine was a two-story frame Victorian half-cross, with a 2-car garage, fenced yard and a parking pad. The other, a brick 4-room shotgun- for $14,500. I told the realtor, I was going to spend $14,500- didn’t matter to me which house- and they accepted the offer.

I never expected any help- or interference from government in my grand plan to transform the house. Yet, when I got to take possession of my garage 90 days after closing (a condition to help the tenants out) and started replacing the bypass sliding wood barn style doors with modern overhead doors- my introduction to Inspector Gotcha and the culture of NO in City Hall.

Apparently- I’d bought a “Historic Home” and had additional laws and regulations that I had no way of knowing about.

There was nothing on the deed- nothing required in the transfer process- no signs stating this was a historic district- yet- I’d made the horrible mistake of putting up “wood grain vinyl” garage doors- instead of just wood- or vinyl- that wasn’t imitating wood. This was a huge No-No- despite the huge steel and plastic dumpster that was parked in front of one of my doors by the city. I found that the same doors were on a house in the Oregon District- owned by a judge- but, that didn’t matter. I was fined, sentenced to 30 hours of community service and forced to change the doors (which were installed by one of Dayton’s biggest door companies- they didn’t know either).

And, if the folks in City Hall wonder why more people haven’t felt Dayton was a good place to invest- and create “economic development” on their own- you now know one reason why.

There are lots of buildings that could be fixed up, if we just had a realistic view of what’s important. Trying to use today’s building codes for yesterdays buildings isn’t going to work. Nor is forcing yesterday’s materials for yesterday’s buildings (the replacement doors had to go last summer- rotted out).

Front Street- where Dayton Diode is now setting up shop- is one of the few old buildings in Dayton that seems to live without “help” from the city.

We could have lots of “economic development” in Dayton – if the government would stop trying to interfere about things that don’t really matter.

What matters most is attracting people who have a dream- and letting them pursue it.

That’s how economic development happens.

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