I’ve been meaning to write about this since I launched this site. In fact, this subject has been something I’ve been shopping around to the “power brokers” in Dayton for a while- even building a presentation to explain it.
While consolidating and upgrading Princeton and Lohrey are nice ideas- Dayton is fighting a rear-guard action right now. Population is still dropping, expectations are low, tax revenues are flat at best and if perception is reality- we’re on deaths door.
I believe we should blow everything we have on a new, central recreation site. And the key is not to hide it away- like Princeton and Lohrey- but to put it smack dab center stage for all to see, right on top of Parkside homes- just West of I-75, connected to Riverscape, Island park, Kettering Fields, next to the new Kroc center to be built on Keowee.
And I’m not talking about a Kettering Rec Center or Splash Morraine- I’m talking about an Olympic style training village- with everything from a true Olympic pool, a double surface ice rink (with 6,500 seats for the Bombers), a Velodrome, indoor and outdoor Football fields, a speed skating oval, an outdoor basketball showcase court system (like Venice Beach- see the movie “White men can’t jump” if you don’t know what I’m talking about) a NFL style weight room- with outdoor weights in the summer (just like Venice beach again) – and more. In short- a spectacle of sport- a destination for recreation, and such a unique combination of facilities, that it will attract tournaments, events, serious athletes and possibly even – imagine this- new residents.
Yes, it can have a waterpark too- and other kid friendly facilities- but, the idea of creating a field of dreams has already proven somewhat successful at bringing people downtown- look at 5/3rd field.
The key is to do this right. Integrate a parking garage with retail and housing in it. Integrate it with the Dayton Public Schools- as the transfer hub for students- moving them out of downtown into a place that offers them something positive to do. Reward the best students with the most access. Make others go to study halls and tutoring at a central location on our sportsplex to earn credits for access. Build regional powerhouse teams- to develop our best talent much like the Soviets do. Put Dayton on the map as a forward thinking community with an eye on our future. Ask top Dayton athletes to sponsor buildings and programs- the “Paxson Basketball Center” the “Big Daddy Weight room” – and work at centralizing the regional youth leagues with an HQ on site that provides scheduling support- and coach and ref training.
There is more to this idea- what I need is your support-
Please comment- add ideas- suggestions- and help me start lobbying to build the big idea instead of going for eh.