What to do with the Fairgrounds?

Fairgrounds to Future meeting noticeThere will be the first of the community input meetings tomorrow night on what to do with the Fairgrounds. It’s nice that Premier (Miami Valley Hospital) and the University of Dayton have decided to involve the community. They’ve hired a planning firm out of Columbus to help with the process. Of course, the last time the County asked for plans for the Fairgrounds and two companies went all out with their ideas- they were tossed aside, and the Fairgrounds got handed to the Meds and Eds neighbors for a song.

I’ve been to many of these “community input” type events before. To me, they are kind of like asking a few hundred amateur house painters to get together to do the Mona Lisa.

That aside- suppose the Greene wasn’t already in existence, or the Fairfield Commons Mall, or the Dayton Mall area- or Austin Landing, and we were going to build another faux downtown, just South of the real Downtown, what would we have? Another bunch of buildings to compete with the buildings that are already under-utilized.

We know MVH needs parking. They’ve been building more and more lots, along S. Main, Warren, etc. They already have a few garages. What they really need is less people driving to work- and they’ve already tried to build housing for their employees- and it still didn’t help, much. The main reason people feel weird about having to live down here is, the only grocery store isn’t very nice. So, sure, you could put a grocery super store on 12 of the acres- but, you could also put a Trader Joe’s on Wyoming where Patterson Kennedy Elementary school sat- and people would be overjoyed.

We don’t really need a super-amazing suburban style grocery.

So, what do we need? Well, the city said no to a dog park, to a skate board park, and instead built Riverscape with a rink you can’t play hockey in. We’re building yet another concert venue- as if the Fraze and the Rose aren’t enough. We’ve got a mini-white water run, for all 1000 kayakers around.

And, UD still has huge parcels of unused land along Stewart street. Including a huge parking lot, a band practice green and some soccer fields and tennis courts. In the meantime, Brown Street has a gazillion chain food options- which get slammed at meal time- and sit idle the rest of the time- esp. in summer when the students are mostly gone.

What is needed is some synergy between Brown Street, and whatever we’re going to “plan to build” and yet- they are a big block away.

So unless you look at what’s going to happen with the Stewart street corridor- the Fairgrounds remain sort of an island.

Maybe, what needs to happen is that all of what sits off Stewart- needs to be tucked away on the Fairgrounds or by UD Arena and Welcome stadium- with a free street car to circle from the Arena to Campus and around the Hospital.

Instead of huge parking garages off smaller streets- we just should build a huge one by the highway and the stadiums- and let people take the street car to the developments? Or to work at MVH, or UD?

And, at the corner of Brown and Stewart- right next to campus- we build a 5000 seat hockey arena, with 2 sheets of ice, to accommodate all the East coast kids- and the loss of Hara. Along with a second garage there, you solve the problems of Brown Street, plus bring people in for either hockey, or smaller shows than the big arena or the Nutter Center can take.

Then at the Fairgrounds- put a dog park, a skate park, a velodrome to add on to our bike friendly city cred. Why can’t we have a big park for year round events? A huge pool, wait, didn’t we used to have one by NCR and Old River?  Maybe it’s time to bring one back?

Building more shopping, or housing, isn’t really going to add anything to our mix. Solving some of the circulation and entertainment misses in our community could make a huge impact.

I’m going to be there- only to ask that we don’t look at the Fairgrounds as an island- because, that’s what it’s been for the last 100 years. It’s time to look at the whole area and figure out what would make Dayton a better place to live.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

Why politicians make lousy real estate developers and vice versa

Other peoples money. That’s the key to real estate, and especially real estate deals managed by those we elect who are supposed to be working in our best interest.

We’ve see stupid deals in Dayton for a long time, and they seem to slide along into oblivion in the mind of the public. No one got hoisted by their petards on the Arcade deal, or the Arcade tower, or the Wayne Avenue Kroger, or…. the list gets really long.

Let’s just say this: politicians raise bad real estate deals to a new art form. And locally, there are plenty of failures. However, it would appear that the deals by the Dayton Public School Board of Education may take the cake. This is a long video. But, it should make it pretty clear that there are serious questions about the deals they’ve done, the ones they’ve refused to do- and who’s been driving the deals- and questions about his entanglements.

We look closely at the site downtown on E. First Street where Patterson Co-op once stood, a greenfield, ready for development, and the site on Wyoming at Alberta where Patterson Kennedy Elementary once stood- near Miami Valley Hospital and the University of Dayton.

We’ve spent the last two months pursuing this story- and trying to figure out why Dr. Adil Baguirov seems to be the only member of the Board of Ed- including the school superintendent, that knows what’s been going on when it comes to these deals- and we’re wondering if this is by design.

If the schools wanted to optimize the value of these vacant properties, the key factor would be what property taxes will the development generate to the district in addition to the sale price- nothing else.

Watch the video. We’ll post supporting documents later.

Here is “Dirty Deals Done Dirt Cheap” featuring the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education, the Dayton and Montgomery County Port Authority, the former DPS operations Chief John Carr, the DPS board attorney, Jyllian Bradshaw and CareSource.

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