Randy Gunlock just discovers Esrati’s Sportsplex proposal

The headline is me being sarcastic. I’ve pushed the idea of a central massive sports/rec plex on the former public housing site between 1-75, the river, Helena and Keowee for years. I suggested instead of 6 new Dayton rec centers- we just build one amazing centralized one- instead, we ended with 2 semi-lame ones.

The plan got a small boost when the Kroc Center went in just due East of the location- taking care of the basketball component- but, my original concept also called for a true Olympic pool, ice rink, even speed skating track and velodromes- things not necessarily the norm. A put-Dayton-on-the-map sort of facility. It was to be integrated with a Dayton Public Schools central tutoring lab, media center to give kids places to go after school other than Third and Main- but, instead, we have an empty field.

Now, we hear Mr. Gunlock has a plan for a “$35 million regional youth sports complex” partially funded with tax dollars- and probably on his property. Nothing like propping up your property values with tax-supported amenities, huh Mr. G?

From the Dayton Daily news today:

Developer Randy Gunlock called for a regional campaign to raise as much as $35 million in private funds for a year-round regional youth sports complex.

Gunlock said he would be a major funder of the proposed youth sports complex, but that others would be needed to pull it off. “I’m continuously talking about this. I think it’s important. Whether there’s going to be enough support in the community, I don’t know,” he said in a phone interview Thursday night.

Gunlock’s family company, RG Properties, is the developer of Austin Landing, the $150-million, 142-acre development near the Montgomery-Warren County line. RG Properties has developed more than 10 million square feet of commercial real estate in four states.

Gunlock said development of such a facility is essential to keeping families in the Miami Valley and drawing families to regional or national events in the Dayton-Cincinnati area.

He declined to comment on how much he would donate to the project or where it should be located, other than to say the complex should be built somewhere along the corridor between Cincinnati and Dayton. “The reality is … these communities are growing together. Have been 50 years. Will continue to,” he said.

Already, youth and amateur sports tourism are credited with bringing more than $100 million a year to the area — just a fraction of $5 billion to $7 billion in national revenues traced to yearly business activities springing from youth and amateur sports tourism.

Although a youth hockey supporter, Gunlock said the facility should offer facilities for soccer and lacrosse. He noted plans in West Carrollton and Miami Twp. involving youth sports facilities.

Plans for youth sports complexes, so far focused on outdoor facilities, already are unfolding 11 miles apart in Warren and Butler counties, both so far to be funded by taxpayer dollars.

via $35M campaign for youth sports complex launched.

The magic tonic of “sport tourism” which starts the economic development types salivating is yet another distraction from solving real problems in our community- like the ones Gunlock has already caused by constructing new office space in a community that’s already overbuilt. Adding in his special income tax free zone for the rich only, he’s sucked the last bits of life out of downtown while draining the county coffers of development dollars building his private interchange at Austin Road.

We’ve already seen one attempt to illegally jack up the hotel tax to build an ice arena for Sir Gunlock that nobody had discussed or justified. Now, we’re seeing a second attempt.

We’re also hearing rumblings out of West Carrollton to build a soccer complex and arena for the Dayton Dutch Lions. Why is is impossible to have a true regional plan? Could it be that our County Commission is totally ineffective in coordinating the many fiefdoms of the region we call Dayton?

Our one true regional success has been Metroparks- wouldn’t it make sense to look at having them coordinate regional sports related recreation facilities? If they need experts on how to build effective recreational facilities and run programs- they should talk to the City of Kettering which by far is the leader in creating parks and programming for all residents from their BMX track and Skateboard park to soccer fields, and Rec Center complete with ice rink. No other community comes close in the region at providing real community amenities- and I left out the Rosewood arts center, Trent Arena and the Fraze Pavillion.

Mr. Gunlock may be able to pledge some money to a project- but, let’s make sure it’s our project not his- we’ve already gone broke building his fields into dreams, and they’ve cost us dearly.

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