Quality of life is economic development. Let’s organize it better.

The Dayton Daily News has turned over a new leaf- and has gone on a waste-busting spree. First up wasn’t the clown corps  in charge of tax giveaways- the “economic development” people- which we have in abundance. Nope- it’s the people in charge of providing public amenities.

First was yesterday’s “news” that most municipalities lose money on public golf courses. Well, they also lose money on parks and playgrounds- as you could look at the “opportunity costs” involved vs. having housing or businesses on parkland- plus the cost of upkeep. However, golf isn’t the most practical of things to subsidize. The number of golfers in our population is relatively low because we’re not a retirement community- and golf is a game for those with plenty of time on their hands and usually some money, too. Also- it takes up an awful lot of space for relatively few players. Compare a soccer complex with a measly 10 full-size fields, 2 kids-sized, throw in some volleyball, a BMX track, a half dozen baseball diamonds- and even a pond, picnic shelters and parking, wait- did I just describe Delco Park- and you have less space, with higher use than 3 tees at a golf course.

Also, public golf courses compete directly with private golf courses- who have to pay taxes on all that land- not a fair equation.

You did notice one thing though- Dayton was one of the few communities to break even on golf, imagine that.

Rob Drydek Skate Park in KetteringNext up in the DDN hit list is the new Kettering water park- and mention of the closed Splash Moraine. Kettering understands better than most communities that good parks and recs are good for building a good community. They also have good schools and have managed to have a modicum of diversity as opposed to our outer-ring communities. Besides the aforementioned Delco Park- they also have a world famous signature skateboard park, courtesy of native son Rob Drydek and DC Shoes, and an ice arena- the only public hockey-sized skating rink in Montgomery County (where you will find me playing Huff-n-Puff hockey each winter). We could also add that Kettering has an amazing complex at the High School- and James Trent Arena- open to residents, an arts program at Rosewood and the Fraze pavilion which hosts concerts- including free ones- all summer long.

Compare that to Dayton- which has no skate park, no dog park, no BMX track, no soccer facility, closed its arts center, handed over Island Park band shell to Metroparks, closed pools, and a useless sized ice rink under the stewardship of Metroparks at Riverscape.

Kettering gets quality of life as a measure of success and understands that healthy cities have healthy residents. Dayton on the other hand would rather engage in crony-capitalism and try to artificially prop up home values by subsidizing both for-profit and non-profit builders in adding new homes (See the Charles Simms homes or the ones being built by East End Community Services or the St. Mary’s Development refurbishment of Marvin Gardens) while we have an abundance of housing stock that we are simultaneously spending huge money to tear down- or “deconstruct.”

Read the title of the person in charge of the new Kettering water park in this DDN quote:

“There is a huge demand for quality recreational experiences in Kettering and a huge demand for water in Kettering,” said Bill Tschirhart, the Kettering parks’ business services manager. “We gave them exactly what they wanted.”

via Kettering’s new waterpark fills void, draws crowds.

The “Kettering parks’ business services manager”- that they understand that parks and recs is a business- and a service to the community is how advanced Kettering gets it.

We do have a regional entity that gets quality of life as economic development- it’s called Five Rivers Metroparks- and if greater Dayton were smart- we’d move all parks and recs programs under its authority, provide Metropasses to Montgomery County residents based on the contributions of their communities’ current investment in recs programs and on average income of the community. Cities would pay into the program based on census numbers- with fixed contributions per person and we’d start seeing a true quality of life infrastructure system that is balanced and well run.

Kettering deserves kudos and study by every other community in the region for its mastery of this part of government. The rest of the region needs to start understanding that we will only begin to advance as a community once we start working together.

The Fraze Freeze out

The economy is bad. Unemployment in Dayton is high. Want to treat the family to something special for next to nothing? The answer used to be to go sit outside the Fraze Pavilion and listen to the show.

Well no more:

People who like to listen to Fraze Pavilion concerts without paying to get in are the targets of a new plan to end the practice.

The city and some private property owners near the Fraze, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., want to prohibit trespassing in areas along Lincoln Park Boulevard between Isaac Prugh Way and Commons Way. The boulevard splits at Isaac Prugh Way and Commons Way and surrounds the concert venue.

“Private property is not going to be available,” Mary Beth Thaman, Kettering’s director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department, told Kettering City Council members during their Tuesday, March 9, work session.

The city plans to add no trespassing signs in these private property areas and increase police patrol when necessary, City Manager Mark Schwieterman said. The city also wants to make sure the sidewalks near these private properties are opened up for traveling pedestrians.

via Tailgating at Fraze coming to an end.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Fraze, it’s an outdoor concert venue in the middle of a beautiful boulevard. It seats 4,300 and has free shows as well as huge national acts. Sheryl Crowe did her live DVD there a few years back- it’s a nice joint. Personally, I prefer the lawn seating to the front row- or the bleachers in the back, but, for some- the best seats are along the sides of the boulevard stage left or right.

It’s these areas that the City is now going to turn into a no-fan zone. You won’t even be able to park your pickup and sit in the back from the way it sounds. Ah, America- home of the free- only sometimes.

The area to the rear- where the gates are, used to be a good spot too- but, over the years, they have moved the ropes further and further out- to push you nearer to the fountains- that run during shows and create “white noise” to sort of kill the sound. They also close off the access to the public restrooms to anyone other than ticket holders- all of this helping create the problems that they now want to solve with draconian measures.

It was 9 a.m. when Greg showed up- wanting to tape today’s edition of the Dayton Grassroots Daily Show on this very topic. (We can’t upload video till everyone leaves the office- since it eats bandwidth.)

I understand the qualms of the private property owners, however, there may be room for compromise. After all, the taxpayers did fund this beautiful facility- and their ability to benefit from it should be maximized even if they can’t afford a ticket.

We’re open to suggestions for solutions.


Breakfast with the Beatles ain’t the same without Ann Stevens

Sunday, the Fraze hosted Breakfast with the Beatles- only, the chief Beatlemaniac, Ann Stevens wasn’t there. The reason? Clear Channel doesn’t want to pay Annie the remote talent fee because they are cheap bastards.

The typical deal for the jocks is they get paid extra for live appearances- this has been the case for as far back as anyone in radio in this town can remember. For some reason, Clear Channel, seems to think that all the extra work for Ann to haul out to the Fraze- to be seen by hundreds, isn’t worth the extra money. One of the beauties of radio is you can typically do it naked- and no one would know, you know.

Breakfast with the Beatles is Ann’s baby. She’s been doing it for over 10 years on at least 4 different radio stations. If you think Clear Channel is being retarded miserly, call 937-531-6101 and talk to Joanne Weemie and ask her to relay the message.

Don’t tell her I sent you- she’ll figure it out soon enough.