Sportsplex is coming, better late than never

If you’ve been reading this site for a long time, you probably know that before we closed down all of our rec centers to end up with 2 old ones and one new one (Princeton and Lohrey being the old, and the Roosevelt site new one on W. Third), I advocated for a moonshot rec center at the old Parkside homes location that I called Sportsplex.

The concept was in conjunction with Dayton Public Schools, building a massive sports training center, with Olympic quality venues- an Olympic pool, with Olympic diving, a velodrome, indoor football/soccer practice fields, with indoor track, dual sheet ice rink with seating for 5000, massive weight room, basketball courts to rival Venice Beach- set up for tournaments and food trucks and maybe even a skate park and BMX facility. It also had a central study facility for after school tutoring, to keep DPS athletes on top of their academic game.

In the grandest scheme- there was a monorail that connected the facility to Wegerzyn gardens, the playhouse and to the Boonshoft- where science labs/interactive study would take place. It was going to be the place for kids to grow after school, in a supervised environment that was safe and respected.

Now, all of a sudden, there’s interest from city hall, with them buying the space from the public housing authority. I’ll explain why this just became a priority after the announcement:

Dayton has approved purchasing the former Parkside Homes public housing property in support of plans to expand the recreational space near Kettering Field.

“The riverfront master plan called it out for basically a way to bring on more fields, more outdoor recreational space,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Parkside Homes, a collection of dozens of subsidized apartment buildings, was constructed in 1941 but demolished more than a decade ago….

The city is purchasing the property for current and future recreational uses, Kinskey said, and the department of recreation is developing plans for how to best use the vacant land to expand and enhance outdoor sports and recreational activities for the entire community.

The Dayton Riverfront Plan calls for Kettering Field to become an “adventure hub” that connects to the riverfront….

A new school is being built right by Deeds Point MetroPark, and the developer wants to create a new 2.5- acre public park.

The site essentially is bound by Interstate 75, Helena Street, Keowee Street and the Kettering Field complex.

Source: Dayton buys former Parkside Homes property for rec space – Dayton Daily News

That innocent part about “A new school is being built” right around the corner is referencing billionaire astronaut/aquanaut Larry Connor‘s new charter school, where no corners will be cut, and nothing but the best will be expected or accepted.

Connor has been a recipient of other sweetheart favoritism by the city in deals for his multi-million dollar headquarters and hanger at South Dayton/Wright Brothers Airport catercorner from Austin Landing.

It’s doubtful that the city is any more capable of managing a proper sportsplex than it is of it’s lesser recreation complexes which have been largely ineffective as community assets – and more of a liability (drownings of 6 year olds don’t help much).

If the city needs a model of effective recreation management, they only need to look as far as Kettering, which has the Kettering rec complex with an indoor and outdoor pool, ice rink, racket sports and basketball gyms, Delco fields with soccer, softball and baseball and a BMX track, the Rob Drydek skate park and Rosewood arts complex.

But, in the meantime, better late than never, I hope they manage to make Larry Connor happy for the benefit of all of us.


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