Tearing down is not building up Dayton.

My office would have been torn down.
So would 412 Hickory, which now houses an architect’s very cool office.

Had we demolished these “nuisance structures” there would be fewer jobs in the city. I’m not looking forward to the day when they tear down the Ecki building at Wayne and Wyoming- I’d rather see it boarded nicely- than another grass field.

On a recent drive to a work project, I drove through Madison, Indiana. Its downtown was still virtually intact from pre-1950. It had a quality that our downtown will never have- and on a Thursday at 2 p.m., it had people and retail all over.

Tearing things down does not build a city up.

The current rush to tear down buildings is a band-aid on the bullet wounds we’ve allowed to fester for years. Yes, a lot of these homes are past fixing up, but that’s because the values nearby have fallen so much. Thankfully, in South Park the historic ordinances stopped a lot of the demo, and kept the shells alive. That can’t be said for the rest of the city.

There is also big money in demolition. Maybe it’s why Rhine and Nan have $15,500 in their campaign funds from a demolition company. Doesn’t make it right.

There are some things we could do to soften the impact. A local company, Kent Development has started a new business- Architectural Reclamation Company. They salvage lumber, trim, floors, fixtures anything that can be used again. We could grow a business model from this- and eliminate so much going to a landfill- if we had leaders with more vision.

Today’s DDN article ends with a zinger:

The city of Dayton demolished 300 structures in 2008, and an additional 110 so far this year. Now, using $900,000 in Federal Neighborhood Stabilization funds and just more than $211,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding, the Dayton City Commission has awarded five contracts for both commercial and residential demolition.

The contracts included: $615,400 to Dayton-based, Steve R. Rauch, Inc.; two contracts totalling $286,500 to Cincinnati-based, A.R. Environmental, Inc.; and two worth a total of $211,100 to Dayton-based, Bladecutters, Inc….

Overall, there are about 3,000 vacant structures in Dayton. Of those 1,000 are on the nuisance list. Since 2000, the number of vacant structures in Dayton has been reduced by about 1,000…

The former Rockwell’s restaurant on Emmet Street may also come down this year, he added.

via 400 ‘nuisance’ buildings slated for demolition by end of year.

Rockwell’s, the former Blue Dog Cafe, previously known as 4 Riverplace- has been rebuilt and retrofitted at least 3 times in the last 20 years. Yet, it too, is facing the wrecking ball.

How much do we remove before there isn’t enough left to call ourselves a city?

And how far would the millions for demolitions go- if we instead worked on stabilizing and holding some of these- if we used the cannibalized materials plus prison labor (not necessarily to work in the fields- but to clean and prep salvaged material for reuse)?

With each demolition, we also lose taxable real estate. Even if the owners are taxed at the lot rate, keeping the structure up, we may end up ahead in the long run if we can one day be rediscovered by people from Manhattan as global warming raises water levels and turns NYC into the new Venice :)

If we had a growing population, these properties would have hope. As we tear them down, we’re tearing down our future as well as our past.

Your thoughts?

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45 Responses

  1. mcohio August 13, 2009 / 9:30 am
    Dave:

    What about the vision of more green space, a’ la Akron, diminishing the housing stock and increasing green space raises property values and demand. Let’s play off the resource of 3 rivers, a canal and a creek, (Five Rivers) and make this an outdoor attraction. Imagine large swatches of park land in the city center (think mini Central Parks NYC) and what the neighborhoods around them would be like with bike trails, small businesses and walking barrios.
    Dayton will never be 300,000 people, but lets make it the greenest and most active, less dense (population) city of 200,000 it can be. Save the history on the avenues and boulevards, but lets plant some grass, some trees, pave a path or two and suburbanize the city so folks want to come back.
     
     

  2. bill August 13, 2009 / 9:58 am
    Lets put more money into Rhine’s pocket by tearing down Dayton! Its a well known fact that Steve Rauch and Rhine McClin are “extremely good friends”.

    Where is the “green” really going?

    I love optimism, but realism is what really needs to be addressed, if we are intent on moving this city forward!

  3. David Esrati August 13, 2009 / 10:32 am

    @mcohio-

    Where did we get the 50K people we need to get to 200K.

    As to decommissioning space ala Youngstown- this plan isn’t anything like that. This is hodge-podge demo.

  4. Joe Gauder August 13, 2009 / 10:34 am
    I’ll agree with you. In the historic societies, that should be left up to those committess what properties are determined nuisances. However, I live in Five Oaks and it’s a complete different story. The house two doors down from me has a sign out front “Best Price Offer $10,000!”. How is that going to add value to my home and neighborhood!? I recently went through it and whoever lived there just picked up and left. Ceilings are falling down, roof is unstable and the amount of clutter and debris left by previous owner would cost about the same to clean up it is to buy the house.
    And there are similar stories throughout Five Oaks. It’s sad to see history go, but with it comes new life and better developments, I’d like to see change. I do think however some structures are salvagable. Example Rockwells. Best view of the skyline. Looking through the windows, it’s in good shape. Would make for an excellent place for fine dining, if finding the right tenants who can keep the tradition alive.
     
  5. mcohio August 13, 2009 / 10:58 am
    @Dave
    You are correct..the Youngstown success was a measured and deliberate plan. Dayton is simply touting the gain of more stimulus money. But we can use this money and momentum to forge a plan for a greener and smaller Dayton.
    My numbers were incorrect, if we are 16k below the 2000 census, there is no reason to aim for 200k, 0r 225 k in the future. Regionally the population is up, but we are never going to be the Dayton of the 1940’s or 50’s.  Let’s be the best city of 150,000 we can be and quit spinning wheels to be Cincy or Columbus, Indianapolis or Louisville. We can be the midwest version of Scottsdale AR, Eugene OR or Spokane WA. Great cities with populations south of 200k.
    We need vision, but we need it be a realistic vision.
  6. Nathan Driver August 13, 2009 / 11:10 am
    What interesting is I keep reading about ‘clean-up’ and ‘demo’ these places but not one thing on ‘building’. Sad…just sad.
  7. James Kent August 13, 2009 / 12:36 pm
    Regarding the ‘Architectural Reclamation Company’; the mission of ARC is to deconstruct existing structures and then reuse or recycle the building materials.  Our vision is to reduce the amount to rubbish being sent to landfills.
    Currently we are deconstructing the four unit stone building on Salem Avenue and we should have materials (cut limestone, flooring and trim) to offer around the week of August 24th.  Afterward, all the remaining items will be transported to the Dayton Habitat for Humanity’s, ReStore on Patterson Road.
    Our next endeavor will be a cooperative effort with ARC, East End Community Services, Power Net of Dayton and Dayton Habitat to deconstruct approximately 45 houses throughout the City of Dayton.  Our goal is to commence the deconstruction around the first week of September with the building material being sold through the ReStore.
    Ultimately we offer a sustainable alternative to demolition.
  8. John Ise August 13, 2009 / 12:47 pm
    It’s a tricky question. If I had a house with two delapidated vacant houses on both sides of me, well I’d definately wouldn’t mind having those units demolished, turned into green space for a larger yard for myself, a community garden or a tot lot. But as you tear down housing, you’re losing a lot of history, not to mention redevelopment possibilities.
  9. Gene August 13, 2009 / 1:18 pm
    David, you know what you know. But how do you know that your office would have been torn down? or 412 Hickory?

    The reason I ask is often you leap to huge conclusions. Who told you that they would have been torn down?

    Rockwells was coming down long before this “program”, fyi. The place is a dump.

    My point is no one wants good houses or buildings torn down. If they target buildings that are too far gone to restore then great. And I think that is their mission (just guessing bc normal people don’t tear down good buildings and leave bad one up, and if it ain’t they should hang ’em)

    Who is to say what is good and what is bad? you? Let the experts discover the bad buildings and tear those down. If they tear down a lot of good buildings, and you can prove it, then make a post. And sometimes good buildings have to go to – just the way it is.

    I like the restoration of places, but that costs a lot of money and there are not enough people truly interested in that. I like salvaging items from houses and buildings as well. That is a step in the right direction. But the fact remains that a big reason people move out of Dayton and move to the likes of Centerville or Beavercreek is they like……………………… drum roll please……………………. NEW. And getting rid of crap can help start that process. Building IN THE CITY LIMITS is realllllllllllllly important. Building new and restoring that which can be restored is important. If it is crap, get rid of it. We need to get our city back into shape, and tearing down the old (which can not be saved) is a good start.

    Now if we only had a plan to build new on these vacant properties……..

  10. Keith A. Burrows August 13, 2009 / 1:34 pm
    Hey Dave;
    I do definitely believe in the preservation of buildings/residences but Dayton has lost way too many since I came here in 1970 (and the 60’s saw much razing of buildings).  For example the Barney Mansion once stood at the corner of Monument and Ludlow which is now a parking lot. The Barney Mansion had Tiffany windows, rare hand-carved wood from artisans and was once the home of the famous Natalie Barney, who in the 1920’s entertained on the Left bank in Paris all the famous of the day such as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Mistingett, Josephine Baker, Ernest Hemingway and many others. Her father began the Barney & Smith Car Company (railroad cars) who was a large employer in Dayton and built railroad cars utilized in the railways for years. We lost it to demolition in 1969. Why should we lose such historic buildings from our Dayton history??
    Taking into consideration the expense involved in refurbishing is always an issue since demolishing is so much less expensive, but if Dayton were to have a committee, say with a few architects willing to investigate the potential of buildings we could keep many of those that we have. Those houses/buildings that are torn down allow the neighbor to have first chance at purchasing the property(ies). As far as residential areas, giving loans and incentives to those that may rehab a home in a run down neighborhood (as an example Superior Avenue, West from Salem) that has gorgeous homes but lost it’s commercial area on Salem Avenue years ago (where once there were three super markets, several dry cleaners, a local pharmacy, 4 restaurants, one night club [Betty Greenwood’s], and a Jewish deli and bakery plus many other businesses), could very well revitalize such a neighborhood. The crime rate may be higher than in some other areas,  but with younger people rehabbing older homes there,  police on bikes, on foot or in cars patrolling and assigned to each neighborhood, and businesses reclaiming Salem Avenue these areas could very well be brought back. The lower Salem corridor could eventually gain small businesses on Salem to benefit the not only the local neighborhood residents, but others throughout the city.
     
    I feel that the key element is to get a group of people involved and ready to fight for our city and oust the terrible city leaders that have become apathetic to causes to make Dayton a great place to live. We need people who are forward thinking and inventive, not the same old tired politicians.
    We need also to investigate other cities who have been successful in renovating, who have utilized their river areas and become prosperous as business and residential centers, that have drawn businesses to their cities and find out what those successful elements were and then tailor them to Dayton’s needs. With all of the industries and corporations that Dayton has lost, we need to attract companies and their employees to Dayton and we have to make Dayton a successful reason to bring outside businesses here.
     
    Just my two cents worth…..
  11. Teri Lussier August 13, 2009 / 5:48 pm
    It is sad to see so many buildings go. Changes the landscape of the city, of neighborhoods, of streets, and of blocks. Change is always hard, even good change, but if you look at this as a negative change, it’s heartbreaking.
     
    However, there is no viable reason to keep many of these properties around. They are nuisances, expensive to maintain, and unwanted at this point in time.
     
    I would love to see these lots rebuilt with modern, energy efficient homes sitting next to historic homes. Can you imagine how eclectic and cool that would be? What if we put small neighborhood businesses on these lots- rezoned neighborhoods on an “as needed” basis. We could have small neighborhood groceries or co-ops tucked into neighborhoods again, making the city truly walk-able.  Perhaps one corner could hold a green grocer, another corner a butcher, one a pharmacy.
     
    Demolition could be done by people who need a job, or neighborhood groups, or neighbors could hire the work themselves. Architectural details could be sold out west where historic homes are a fond memory of the transplants. All those folks who left, can have a little piece of Dayton.
     
    Our best asset, visually, is our river, … been meaning to post about this myself… Why don’t we have lofts, condos, apts, lining the river? It’s a beautiful river. Any other city would utilize the space there to full effect. Leave the ‘burb dwellers to their McMansions. Line the city with modern spaces and city living. Not over-priced lux places, but very affordable places that would appeal to medical residents… Bike friendly, walkable, fun! For god’s sake.
     
    Anyway. That’s my little vision of Dayton 2.0.
     
     
     
  12. SheliaO August 13, 2009 / 7:27 pm
    Here’s my take on it…being born and raised in Old North Dayton in the Kossuth Colony allowed me to develop an appreciation of history by having neighbors who were descendants of the Hungarian workers who lived in the colony originally (for the Barney & Smith Carworks).  My parents still live there.
    While there is an allure to some to have the new structures, I prefer my 120+ year old home.  I do not live in an historical district, but I really don’t want to see the vacant homes around me razed simply because there is no one currently who loves those structures enough to take care of them.
    Are they really a nuisance?  Did they make my value go down?  My property value plummeted when they did their sham of the property assessment.  Because my home is not brick, it is valued $15K less than the brick home four houses up the street – but my home has updated mechanicals and a sound roof and body, no offense to my neighbor.  That was before any one of the now vacant homes was vacated.
    I don’t know what the best answer is for the whole city; I can see the others’ points of view, but for me and my neighborhood, I don’t want to see anymore of it disappear.  I do not think that the way to the future should be paved with the wasted resources of the past.
     
  13. Jeff August 13, 2009 / 7:54 pm
    I drove through Madison, Indiana. Its downtown was still virtually intact from pre-1950. It had a quality that our downtown will never have-
    So you found out about Madison, huh?   Madison was a popular day trip or weekend visit for Louisville folks when I was living in Kentucky.  I went there a number of times.  People I went to high school with went to Hanover College, which is nearby.  Madison shared in the same re-valuation and appreciation of “the old city” that kicked of the revival of older parts of Louisville back in the 1970s.  I guess it was a cultural trend back then.
    A bit of historic trivia: The founder of Madison, John Paul, was one of the first pioneers in Beavercreek and was a co-founder of Xenia before he headed west.  Thought that was a gee-whiz connection between here and there.
    In Madison you see what the canal boom era Dayton would have looked like (with some Victorian era overlay), since both Dayton & Madison boomed around the same time.  Madison was the largest city in Indiana until the later 1850s, while Dayton was larger than Toledo or Cleveland in the early days.
    Dayton had an penchant for manufactures and became a minor railroad node, and Madison didn’t, so Dayton continued to grow.  Madison became the Carcassonne of the Ohio Valley and Dayton became a mid sized factory city, and is now dying.  Dayton lost most of the “Madison” canal era and close-in 19th century buidling stock to the expansion of downtown in the early 20th century (which was a case of building subsitution) and urban renewal, following up with ongoing spot demolitions.

    You said:
    How much do we remove before there isn’t enough left to call ourselves a city?
    Another way to put it is “how much do we remove before our city loses its character and becomes a big zero.”
    I think a lot of folks miss this point;  tear down enough and the place becomes so snaggletooth that it loses any urbanistic integrity and character.  I think this is already the case with downtown and the surrounding areas.  That’s why I don’t understand all the celebration of the demolition of old factory buildings like Frigidaire.  These are valued bits of building stock in other places.  Losing buildings like this is nothing to cheer about.
    Even worse is the ongoing erosion of the neighborhoods, particularly the old busy streets and shopping corners.  Some neighborhood commercial areas are totally lost.  Others you can see are about to be lost (Valley & Troy as an example).  Or key landmark buidlings are about to be lost, like Midnight Market at TALS Corner and the Ecki Building.
    Beyond the historic districts the destruction of the 19th century city continues apace, which is now mostly just East Dayton since  the older parts of West Dayton and the downtown frame was destroyed via urban renewal & freeway construction.  And we are seeing the early 20th century building stock move into the zone of destruction.
    You have to appreciate what a save the Oregon district was.  It survives as a fragment of the old antebellum & Civil War era Dayton, with everything around it lost.  Though one has bits of the Oregon in Twin Towers, St Annes Hill, and the northern parts of South Park.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  14. Dad August 13, 2009 / 8:16 pm
    I would have been in favor of tearing down the slum that is now David’s office.  David bought it for about $2,500 plus back taxes of another $2,500.  I thought it was $5,000 down the drain. The building was not only an eyesore, it stank.
    I drove down from Cleveland with an architect friend (I paid him) to try to give David some ideas on how to make this dump usable. My friend threw up his hands and said it couldn’t be done.
    When I next saw the dump, David had made it beautiful and useful.
  15. Teri Lussier August 13, 2009 / 8:49 pm
    >David bought it for about $2,500 plus back taxes of another $2,500.
     
    That’s key. David bought it. David moved here in a different time, and bless him, he had the vision to save these buildings and make them useful, but not enough people are buying these properties, so who is going to maintain them? I’m all for individuals purchasing and maintaining property, lots and lots of properties, as many as they want, but that’s not what is happening here. These are buildings that are abandoned, unwanted, uncared for. How many vacant buildings can a city sustain? At what burden, at what cost to the citizens?
     
    And it does affect the neighbor’s property values on a sale. If you have maintained your property, but you are surrounded by boarded up homes, yeah, your home is going to sell for less than it would if was in a neighborhood where all the properties were maintained. That is one reason historic districts are helpful, and gated communities are popular. Both adhere to strict property codes to create a sense of exterior uniformity and conformity. People like that in a neighborhood. It’s not always about the age or architecture of a neighborhood, but is it clean, is it cared for, is it active and vital? Different styles, building eras, and construction materials can coexist happily as neighbors, if the neighborhood is thriving.
     
    We must completely rethink what neighborhoods are and can be if Dayton is going to thrive. Survival is one thing, but I want to live in a thriving city. One that opened its eyes to new possibilities and isn’t afraid to try new things. It’s the wild wild Midwest.
     
  16. Gene August 13, 2009 / 9:22 pm
    Right on the money Teri.

    A lot of homes are unwanted. Even if you buy one or two or ten, and fix them up, it still may not be enough to actually sell these homes. One here, one there. Great. But for every David Esrati we literally have 40k people who don’t care. 5 or 10 people, 30 or 40 people is not enough, unless they have the ability to buy 10 or 20 properties. No construction company will take it on. Smaller companies do one or two, here and there, and yes it helps. But they do it to put bread on the table, and they are positive and effective, but on a small small small level. This could work, if you had 25 or 40 small companies do this. But the math just does not work out.

    Save the ones worth saving. Many are not worth saving. Unless we sell them for a grand each and forget back taxes, no one is interested.

    I don’t want tear down good places. Nor do I want empty lots. They need a plan to build.

    Why not take over blocks of areas and build fresh/green homes that could show other cities how to do it. Example, take over all the home just north of MVH, raze the bad ones, refit the good ones (all with a green approach) and reclaim and rename this neighborhood. It would spill over to other dilapidated neighborhoods in Dayton.

    It is time to think bigger, greener. And clearing the slate actually can show……… progress.

  17. Teri Lussier August 13, 2009 / 9:26 pm
    Gene-

    It frightens me when we agree… :-)

  18. James Kent August 14, 2009 / 9:12 am
    I truly wish we had a better answer for what to do with Dayton’s blighted houses…..because it is a MAJOR problem.  Yesterday afternoon I continued with my identification of the 45 houses that we will be deconstructing….what I witnessed was unbelievable.  On one street alone, Home Avenue, there are 15, yes fifteen houses that will be removed, permanently from the landscape.  Unfortunately they were at one time very nice homes.  Now it is just unbearable.  I had a chance to meet a home owner and had to ask him, “what the hell happened here?”  He replied, “Man, we were promised the dream and it never came.”
    Regarding rebuilding on vacant urban lots, my company, Kent Development Group, has been working with Rogero Buckman Architects (RBA) in developing new modular homes for urban sites.  RBA has designed a two story, three bedroom house that we can build on most urban plots.  The houses are LEED certified and very energy efficient.  In addition, we will travel up to 200 miles from Dayton to build these houses.
  19. Gene August 14, 2009 / 9:56 am
    “Man, we were promised the dream and it never came.”

    What does that mean? Anytime I have ever heard of anything like this it certainly came from a person with their arm extended and the hand open wishing someone would fill it with money. In other words it is a Dayton mentality.

  20. Allison August 14, 2009 / 11:06 am
    Now it’s my turn to agree with Gene. What was that statement supposed to mean?
  21. Robert Vigh August 14, 2009 / 12:08 pm
    OK, I have an idea. It is crazy, but it preserves individual liberty, because hey, without freedom what else matters?
    Historical society’s = Bad. City funded reclamation = Bad.

    Whoever owns the property should be able to with it whatever they want. If the property is owned by the city it should be auctioned immediately and the new owner can do whatever they want.
    The reclamation process usually costs more then the salvagable materials. So, by the time everyone drives to the work site, uses the energy and labor to salvage a building and gets the materials separated we have lost $$. But, wait……….it we subsidize it by taxing the populace we can make it look profitable!! Bad, bad, bad. Once you realize that this is not profitable, you realize it is waste. Once you realize it is waste you realize you are wasting the wealth of your city and lowering its quality for all of its citizens.
    Historic society? Seriously? Allow me some satire: Dear Robert, we realize you purchased this property 40 years ago. We also understand that you have an opportunity to sell it to the new office next door and make a boatload of money. They need a parking lot. But, instead, Stan and I decided your house has historical value. So Robert, you are not allowed to profit from your property or do anything with your private property other than what we tell you. Oh, but Robert, you are still responsible for mainenance and upkeep.
    If a historical society finds something of historical value, they should raise the funds to buy the property from a mutually agreeable owner. If they cannot raise the funds, then the property really is not that valuable to the community.

    I mean seriously. Taking from someone on the basis of historic relevance. It is so unjust it makes me hurt inside. Taking tax dollars and raising property tax so you can waste money on reclamation, that makes me hurt.

    Here is an idea. Lower property taxes all over. Remove zoning laws. Auction city held property that is not necessary. Get rid of historic precedence. BAM! Watch the city rebuild itself.
    What this does in short is: Lower taxes lowers investment costs. Remove zoning laws allows citizens to build where the opportunities truly reside. Auctioning city property lowers cost of government. Historical precendence removed no longer scares the crap out of potential investors. Preserve liberty and property rights. Let productive people be productive. Viola……city growth!

    —— I tried to post this the other day, prior to some of the new comments. Regarding abandoned properties it is the government trying to claim back taxes that prevents alot of sales. David should have gotten his property for 2500.00 and been allowed to spend the 2500.00 on fixing it up. If there is an abandoned house the city should not own this property, they should auction it. If it goes for $1.00, all the better, now there is an interested investor. This also protects property values. If your house is nice and your neighboring plot is a disaster, you might be able to buy it for $100.00. Buy it and expand your yard.

  22. Jeff August 14, 2009 / 12:16 pm
    Historic preservation only works in a community that values old buildings and puts the money into their adaptive resuse.   This is a values issue not so much a regulation issue.  The Dayton community does not value the historic or old, thus these properties die.
    I mean seriously. Taking from someone on the basis of historic relevance. It is so unjust it makes me hurt inside. Taking tax dollars and raising property tax so you can waste money on reclamation, that makes me hurt.
    Oh the pain, the pain.  (What a drama queen)
     
     

  23. Teri Lussier August 14, 2009 / 1:02 pm
    I absolutely agree with Robert.
     
    Zoning laws have to change, neighborhoods must be empowered and permitted to do what is in their best interest, without interference or intervention from the city. No one looks out for me and my neighbors, better than me and my neighbors.
     
    A  favorite quote: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
     
    If we are not talking about completely changing our approach to this, why bother? The city is going to have to let people do what they need to do with their own property, in their own neighborhoods, creating a sense of ownership in the neighborhood. Allow them to solve their own problems, and get out of their way, just get out of the way.
     
  24. Jeff August 14, 2009 / 1:08 pm
    ^
    Of course you would Teri, you’re another liberatarian fruitbat.  But I do appreciate that you like MCM.
  25. Jeff August 14, 2009 / 1:13 pm
    Robert says: Historical society’s = Bad. Yeppers, true local ignorance on display yet again.  As if the DDN comments section isn’t enough.   Dayton sucks becausse the people here suck.  The empty and vacant buildings are but a mirror of the local mentality.
  26. Teri Lussier August 14, 2009 / 1:31 pm
    >Dayton sucks becausse the people

    resort to name calling? can’t spell? ;-)
     
    Politics aside Jeff, how do we preserve beautiful historic buildings without money? No one is suggesting tearing down buildings just because. It’s a financial burden to everyone. We all agree it sucks, but what do we do if we don’t have the money?

  27. Gene August 14, 2009 / 2:16 pm
    People in Dayton suck? Yes, I can see this. This is just the reflection and result of what are society is….. which is a society that loves to spend money it does not have, rather have a flat screen tv than spend it on food for the kids, can’t keep a house clean, thinks it is acceptable to have trash in the yard, has little to no value for life, eats fast food all day long, cry that rich people have money, love stupid celebrities lives,……….. it is what it is. People in Dayton don’t care. The priorities for the average Daytonian are “where can I get my smokes and booze, gotta watch the big tv and gots me a cell, my five kids with three different woman can get money from the government, not me. Don’t disrespect me, or I will kill ya’. Mmmmmmmmm MacDonald’s. What is a fruit or veg table? My health is bad, you MoFos gotta pay for me to get better. It is rich people fault. They don’t have a job for me. School ain’t worth my time………”

    We all know it. Not everyone is like this, but most people have something in that quote that is “their life” and they wonder why the have it so bad. Wake up and smell the coffee…..

    People need to stop worrying so much on how to change the world…….. they need to change themselves first.

  28. Robert Vigh August 14, 2009 / 2:31 pm
    Dear Jeff,

    The pain I feel is not for me. It is for you, the city, and all the people that want a better life but are hindered by injustice.

    I should elaborate, because you also point out an error in my statement. Historic societies = bad, only when empowered with anything beyond utilizing the resources of its own individual members. So being empowered by the authority of the government makes them a hinderance and bad. Existing as its own charitable entity is great. I hope that helps alleviate some of your angst.

    I dont think the people suck. I like the people of Dayton. I think they are hindered greatly by the policies of the government. I think sometimes the rational means of improvement must be shown to them, but I dont think they suck. Sometimes when rational means are placed before them, they react with name calling instead of the inquisitive nature necessary to learn, so it may take a few tries. By the way, what is DDN?

  29. Gene August 14, 2009 / 2:48 pm
    No, of all thing, they are not hindered by the government. No NO NO no NO no NO. I live in Dayton, I have for a long time. The government has never made a decision for me regarding how I keep my house, how i talk to people, etc… I can navigate around it, and if by the smallest of chances they are involved in my life it is so small it does not register with me. I can clean my yard, mow my lawn, clean my house, etc. A lot of people in Dayton (and other cities) live in filth. And their attitudes and intelligence are often negative and misguided. The government did not do this to them. People have choices, and many of them choose to live like pigs. That is a fact, Jack. Not trying to be mean, but why can they find the garbage can. These are human beings, not wild animals. They should know better…… if they can walk and talk then they are more than capable to clean. They choose not to, bc they are pigs.

    The government screw me by taking my money and giving it to people who can’t clean their house. And other wasteful things, not just welfare.

  30. Robert Vigh August 14, 2009 / 3:07 pm
    Dear Gene,

    You are individual of contradictions. Sentence 1 you claim the government does not interfere in your life. Last sentence you proclaim the government screws you.

    To the productive the government is a hinderance. To the poor they are enablers AND hinderances. I am not sure why we transitioned to the topic of human nature as opposed to the rational aspects of building wealth in Dayton. If you start another thread I would be happy to discuss human nature and the enabling and immoral nature of the welfare state. But regardless of people choosing to live how they live, it has no bearing on the reasons presented above for improvement.

    David, I would say houston is doing alright. http://www.visithoustontexas.com/media/statistics/Houston_Stats_Cost_of_Living

  31. Teri Lussier August 14, 2009 / 3:43 pm
    I should also mention, closer to home, Yellow Springs Ohio, where property values have held up better than other areas in Greater Dayton, also has lax zoning laws.
  32. Gene August 14, 2009 / 3:45 pm
    To clarify, and you are right re: the government, but the government does not dictate if people choose to live like pigs. They are not involved in a property owners life to the degree that a person would not be able to clean up his or her property, and do routine maintenance. Yes, there may be a case here and there, but houses are in bad shape bc people are lazy.

    Yes, they may receive welfare. But they could clean up their yards. Yes, the government enables poor people to continue to be poor (very bad), but they still can cut their yard every now and again. They seem to have enough money for flat screens and cell phones, but not enough for a garbage can and a push mower? Sometimes it is just a matter of priority. And poor people prioritize poorly (pun intended.)

    Poor people could help the value of their homes and neighborhoods with elbow grease and nothing else. But they often are too lazy. They seem to have enough money for vehicles and tvs, and cell phones, and tennis shoes, etc, but are simply too GD lazy to buy a rake and take care of the yard. Cleaning is not expensive, trimming grass and bushes and being tidy is not expensive. That was my point. Sorry for the confusion.

    I rarely have any interaction with any form of government other than when I send them money. It truely is a one way street with me and a lot of other people. The interferece government has in my life (taxes) has nothing to do with keeping my yard clean. Poor people can not even manage that, so what make us think they can spend government money wisely?

    Fact is I could go to a home and clean it up for someone, but a) they would get mad and b) they would not help. They are just lazy – hence why they are poor often.

  33. Gene August 14, 2009 / 6:50 pm
    If zoning were up to the liberals, every home over 5 years old would be historic for one reason or another, all homes would require expensive solar panels at the expensive of the home owner, taxes would be three times as much, and income related to property would create a separate tax (if you make $100k and live in a $500k house, rather than a $200k house, you get taxed more.)

    They would require people to purchase fruits and vegetables and with government help have a farmers market on every corner. And if you own a business, cap it. You can only make $25k a year, all other profits go to the government, for the poor, the arts, nature, bureaucracy. Hell, essentially they would want you to work for the government.

    You could only buy paint and brushes and wood and other supplies for your house at a mom and pop place, because we all know Home Depot is evil and has never created a job.

    But liberals would still put up with tall grass and trash in your yard, so long as you are poor and on welfare. Give ’em more money, these folks need bigger tvs and two cell phones and hundreds of bags of potato chips.

    Don’t you love when the teller swipes canned goods and then hands over cigarettes for the food stamps. Gotta love the poor. No, this is money well spent.

    Or the guy who said to government officials, ” take your hands off my medicare!!!!” Not a liberal, just a dumb ass.

  34. pizzabill August 14, 2009 / 9:12 pm
    Gene,
    You’re being too wordy.  You can sum it up where we’re headed in two words:  Atlas Shrugged.
  35. David Esrati August 14, 2009 / 9:35 pm

    I’ve been busy all day- and so have all of you.

    @Robert- DDN= Dayton Daily News

    @Gene- my building and 412 Hickory were both condemnable- and 412 Hickory was slated for Demo- had it not been for Jim Gagnet- of http://www.pacesetterpainting.com and http://www.228coco.com it would have been torn down.

    I could argue about zoning codes- and Houston- and taxation- which is the libertarian excuse for everything (and I agree with a lot of their politics) but the reality is- Dayton (city) is losing population faster than our infrastructure was built for- and the laws of the market are doing their damage, compounded by mis-management and the failures of our captains of industry and finance to keep the economic gap between rich and poor moderate.

    Unless we attract new residents- there is no stopping this cancer.

    Answers: Immigrants- the very people who built our city in the first place. I proposed long ago- the idea of unlimited H1B visas for HUBzones: http://esrati.com/?p=250

    Another possibility: Sin- open the doors to casinos, legal prostitution, decriminalized pot, hashish- maybe even opium. I’m not saying I advocate these solutions- but, an increase in freedoms is what made this country great. Passing personal judgment and pushing morality is just as bad as Gene’s incessant chant of people around here being worthless breeding machines. A simple step in this direction is to remove the stupid 2:30am alcohol witching hour- and make all night parties OK- of course, increasing penalties for driving drunk and serious enforcement would still be in place. You can be stupid- you just can’t let your stupidity hurt others.

    The third option is differentiation – and building on our strengths. We have great natural resources- we have the trifecta of Meds Eds and Feds as an economic engine- in the hospitals, universities and WPAFB- the largest employer in the State.

    If we can’t make this seem like an area prime for opportunity- it’s our fault. If we continue to elect idiots- we’ll get no where.

    I really appreciate the level of discussion. However- if you want this city to change- and you believe we can make this work- I need you to help me by contributing. The paypal donation is up here on the right- please consider $20.
    Robert did- and I appreciate it.

     

  36. Civil Servants are People, too August 15, 2009 / 5:52 pm
    I can understand both sides.   However, we have been waiting for YEARS for the region to wake up and re-invest in our city.   It hasn’t happened.  Now the economy is worse than ever.  The population of Dayton will likely never get anywhere near it’s peak again.   So yes – save that which has real historic value and get rid of the eyesores.
    Someone above said – where are the new houses?   That someone is clearly not paying attention.   There are new houses going up in Downtown, Twin Towers and around Good Sam Hospital this year.   The reason those projects are happening is because the run-down homes were demolished to make room for new opportunities.   These programs will help stabilize neighborhoods and increase the chances of saving everything else.
    People have no idea how many properties are abandoned by owner and bank alike.   Many, for example,  are simply because an elderly person dies after the mortgage is paid off and the family doesn’t want the house.   There’s no one to take ownership, legally.  The foreclosure process can take years, and that assumes someone steps up to make the foreclosure happen.   Yet there are so many of these vacant properties, even the foreclosures can’t keep up.
    So the supply keeps going up while demand (and quality of life) keep going down.   What choice do we have but to change the equation?   Many of the ideas here are good ones, but they won’t get the job done.   We need to not only get rid of houses, but probably shut down a few neighborhoods too.
     
     
  37. flybenji March 9, 2010 / 6:40 pm
    I would think the best thing to do to Dayton, Ohio is hire a demolition contractor to tear the whole city down & grow corn on the land so Cargill will hire more workers.
  38. Tom DeSonie June 7, 2010 / 6:59 am
    Our mission is to restore as many building as we can. Check us out!
  39. jstults October 15, 2010 / 9:35 am

    The city is tracking its progress, but Sorrell said it’s a bit early for a true reading on results. The original stabilization program didn’t get going until the middle of last year.
    However, target neighborhoods have already seen a decrease in vacancy rates. Dayton View Triangle, bordered by Salem, Philadelphia and Cornell, had a vacancy rate of 13.25 percent in the first quarter of last year. At the end of the second quarter this year, the rate had fallen to 11.8 percent.
    “The program is working,” said Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley. “It’s a stabilization program and the city has gone through a lot in the past two decades. We’re in triage right now.
    “We’re just beginning to work through the problem in a real, meaningful way. It didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be solved overnight.”
    Read more: Dayton tackles blighted homes – Dayton Business Journal

    Well that’s certainly clear, it’s either too early to tell, or the program is working just fine…
     
    Either way, I think we should call this program Sherman’s Revenge.  Lets see if Dayton’s public servants can raze more structures than Lincoln’s Drunk Butcher on his march to the sea.

  40. cloud @ painting contractor manhattan January 7, 2011 / 6:01 am
    Lets put more money into Rhine’s pocket by tearing down Dayton! Its a well known fact that Steve Rauch and Rhine McLin are “extremely good friends”.
  41. Dayton Seo firm March 25, 2012 / 1:53 pm
    Personally, I feel Dayton has lost it’s way a long time ago. We were the gem city so named for the beautiful, clean upkept city streets.

    Now it is falling apart and there comes a point where there are just too many vacant buildings out there.

    Each vacant property in dayton brings real estate values across the city down. By clearing out the blight we not only make the city more Beautiful we also make it better for homeowners and those looking to sell their home.

    Having lived on a street behind the job center with every other house vacant it was impossible to sell that house we ourselves just moved out and left it vacant. It is about supply and demand and right now homes are a nickle a piece, because supply is so saturated and demand keeps falling. The only way for us to reach equilibrium is to use demolition.

    I do think they could do it more cost effective though, and recycle or give away the unused parts. There was a home that went down across the street from where we lived, and my wife cried cause she loved their front door and would have bought it from them is she could have.

    Heres an idea start a not for profit, get the city to donate a big warehouse, make it into a store for selling used home items kinda like restore at habitat for humanity. That would kill 2 birds with one stone, first you would breath life back into the building the store is housed in, and secondly you would have a way to earn money to support a greener way of demolition without completely wasting everything. Even the ugliest homes have some redeeming qualities that could be salvaged.

  42. jstults March 25, 2012 / 2:04 pm
    a store for selling used home items kinda like restore at habitat for humanity

    Or like Deconstruction Depot.  The only way to make something like that pay for itself is to minimize the amount of hand-work required (and thus minimize head-count).  That means large capital investment in automation, not employing ex-cons in a make-work project doing low value-added labor.  You can have a sustainable business, or you can have a charity program, but almost never both.

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