Writing off the big picture. The MidPark silver bullet

If your business is a restaurant, you can spend all day dreaming about the fine china you want to buy, or the dishes you could prepare, or you could work hard on working with what you have.
If you are the City of Dayton, you come up with dreams for “MidPark” the area just North of South Park and South of Downtown.
Someone has spent a lot of time dreaming up a new way to call “urban renewal” via bulldozer and new construction- something different.
Read the whole plan:

Neighborhood Development Strategic Planning Group (NDSPG) specifically chose to look at the MidPark geography because of its perceived long?term
marketability and the ability to leverage previous successful development in adjacent areas.  The
MidPark District has been a virtual “no mans land”…a mish mash of underutilized land and
buildings with no real focus or continuity for a very long time.  However, because of its location the group felt it had extreme potential.

MidPark is located between Downtown and two of Dayton’s largest institutions ? The University
of Dayton and Miami Valley Hospital who have made huge investments not only on their own
campuses, but have reached out to the areas that surround them as well.

recommendations_housing_appendix1.pdf (application/pdf Object).

With an overabundance of inexpensive real estate, including some amazing homes for a song, we’re talking about concentrating efforts on a pretty new green field and its surrounding area mostly because it’s near two of our biggest income tax generators (since both UD & MVH get property tax exemptions).

Do you remember Courthouse Square, The Arcade, Riverscape? All of these projects were supposed to “jump start” the community. Midpark is yet another dream, much like Ballpark Village.

The reality is Dayton should be getting out of the real estate game. Unload all the property we own to people who want to build something on them or own real estate and pay taxes. What? No one wants to buy our real estate? You don’t say… maybe it’s because we’re so busy dreaming about projects like this, that we’ve failed our basic service commitments like safe neighborhoods, good schools, parks and recreation and well maintained infrastructure.

There is an interesting analysis by Daytonology’s Jeffery over at Dayton Most Metro on this “plan”: http://www.daytonmostmetro.com/forum/index.php?topic=1364.msg12802#msg12802

Wouldn’t it be better if private developers felt they could pull this off on their own? What could the city do to encourage private development?

What I don’t understand is why the apartment buildings lining the East side of Warren are written off? Marvin Gardens had been rumored to be close to being acquired by someone with the ability to properly rehab and manage them. The new Coco’s is going to be at the corner of Warren and Lincoln- without tax incentives.

If a private developer can’t make something work here without a handout, all hope for Dayton is lost. We just saw how the city totally botched the Wayne and Wyoming “Kroger” development over five years and wasting millions of dollars- why should it be involved here?

Would our “development dollars” be better spent on big ticket development like trolleys, or smaller noticeable improvements like better lighting under the overpasses, or configuring the nearby park with usable soccer/football fields, tennis courts that aren’t a joke, a basketball court that doesn’t include the San Andreas fault, and maybe a fountain to play in during the summer?

Need something to compare to? Head over to Lincoln Park in Kettering or Delco Park. Why not take the old Cliburn Manor site and make it into a dog park? Or a skate park, or a BMX track? We still have space for in-fill housing and rehab opportunities in South Park. Build public amenities nearby and the rest of the area may attract more investment. Add a walk-to-work tax credit- and UD and MVH employees may consider moving down into the area.

Government should be spending tax dollars providing services that don’t make sense for private businesses and create value for the greater good- and greater area. These micro development projects that subsidize private investors are hurting all of us.

Focus on getting the basics right- the flourishes will follow.