The $20,000 house problem solution

Yes, you can buy a house for under $20,000 in Dayton. I bought three of them.

The problem is that our system isn’t set up for buying $20,000 homes. In fact, banks don’t want to give loans on them, insurance companies don’t want to insure them, and for the most part, people don’t want to live near them- for fear their “comps” will be brought down- devaluing their home.

And I’m talking about the homes that are habitable- not shells, waiting for demolition.

The city is backed up with a demolition list that will never get cleared. We’re spending an average of $11,000 to tear each one down- with no real return on that investment. It’s money down the drain.

In the meantime, we’re giving incentives to build new units to people like Sims Development, and Crawford Hoying, to build more housing. Desirable, “market rate” housing. The problem is- our population is stagnant and declining- not just Dayton proper, not just Montgomery County- but the entire state of Ohio. We’ve lost congressional seats because of it.

What happens when you add housing inventory when you have declining population? Simple rules of supply and demand apply- housing inventory loses value, market gets flooded. The other problem is that the inventory isn’t exactly lining up with the demand. Poverty isn’t decreasing- but the supply of low-income housing is decreasing as subsidies have been cut. Numbers of jobs that can afford to support a normal mortgage have decreased, young college-educated home buyers are already carrying significant college debt. If this sounds like the setup for another economic collapse based on a screwed up housing market, you’re paying attention.

A simple solution

Currently, one of the economic measurement tools that economists love to bandy about is “new home starts.” A strong construction market is considered a jobs stimulator, since the construction industry is still considered a low-tech, blue-collar employment engine- i.e., you don’t need a college degree or even a high school education in their minds to build homes. The reality is you don’t even have to be an American anymore to build homes- with immigrant labor owning the roofing, sheet rocking and masonry work forces for most building developments. That’s both illegal and legal immigrants by the way

What is missed is the effect on supply.

What Ohio should do is put a moratorium on new unit construction unless the state has an increase in population exceeding 2% annually. The only way to build new units, is to buy up and demolish old units with a ratio of one structure for every 2,500 square feet of new construction. The “structure” definition could be variable based on location- more on this later. While this would add approximately $10,000 to the cost of each normal sized new building, it decreases inventory and in the end helps drive up property values.

The worst homes would be demolished first, and the values of marginal homes would rise as new construction credits rise. This would help low-income people recapture some of the value sucked out of their neighborhoods by the foreclosure crisis. It would also stop government from diverting money for services to making empty lots.

Along with the demolition credits, the state could issue credits to rehabbers- for taking old buildings and renovating them- effectively incentivizing rehab. The credits for rehab- would be at double the rate of demolition- i.e., rehab 2,500 square feet, get to sell the equivalent credits of 5,000 square feet of new construction. Why this incentive? Because rehabbing old infrastructure and bringing it back online, doesn’t require government to run new water and sewer lines, nor does it require adding police patrol areas- or, even in the case of infill new construction that wouldn’t require these either- it doesn’t fill up a landfill with demolition debris. It also makes it more affordable for rehab which often has higher costs due to compliance with new construction code .

Incentives can be placed by changing the credit awards structure- with some neighborhoods getting double credits for demolition, and others, fractional credits. Same can go for rehab projects.

Even as population begins to grow- the credit system can be kept in place based on where you are building. Any place where new utilities or infrastructure is required- would continue to require trade credits- infill to existing developments, no. If your county isn’t growing in population, swaps will still be required.

This system is sort of in-place with Historic Tax Credits- but generally is only used on large-scale development. The idea of this new system is to force value back into the worst communities where developers haven’t gone because of the policies of banks and insurance companies.

Do you have a better idea?

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42 Comments on "The $20,000 house problem solution"

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Gary Leitzell
Now, Esrati can’t take total credit for this because we brainstormed it when I visited his office on Friday. He has developed the concept and published it here though. It came about when I mentioned the one problem NO ONE is addressing. The fact that the state projects that we will lose 20,000 residents from the county in the next ten years and 33,000 by 2035. That means that there will be that many fewer residents served by businesses such as Walmart, McDonalds, Kroger etc. We are building apartments at Austin Landing while houses sit vacant in Dayton, Kettering, Huber Heights, Vandalia and even Washington Twp. For every new home built, we need to tear one and a half down. With a loss in residents do you think taxes and service fees will go down? Unless anyone has a better idea, the only long term solution I see is to promote tourism in the region to attract people to visit so one day they may decide to stay. The only way property taxes can go down is if tax values are brought back in line with market values, we stop voting for levies (over 90% of your property tax bill is voter supported levies) or we stabilize population decreases and attract visitors here who will offset the losses through hotel and sales tax. The local Republican party’s big issue this year, as in previous years, is property taxes. They haven’t explained how they will reduce the property taxes but have stated that they will reduce them when elected. This will be an unkept promise unless they focus on population loss. The state needs to incentivize redevelopment over new development. Sprawl increases the cost of infrastructure and the taxpayer foots the bill. If we focus on reversing migration from the county, we could solve more than one problem. BTW. The R’s did NOT endorse me last week. So I can tell you the real deal. That is that I have NO power (if elected) to reduce property taxes unless I discourage people from supporting local levies. I do have the power… Read more »

Please educate me as to why any family with means to afford a vacation would want to spend valuable vacation time in Dayton (re: promoting tourism). The city is ghost town and has very little to offer the people that live here let alone offer anything for tourists. None of my friends or family would ever come to visit because it is so deadbeat and boring. My friends from the East coast laughed when we moved here; my West coast friends never heard of it. It’s well on it’s way to becoming another Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan rather then a tourist site. The best chance Dayton ever had was keeping The Whale and her clan of cronies out of office.

Auston Hensley

The problem with this proposal (as well as almost any other government land-use regulation) is that only serves to do one thing: drive up the overall cost of housing, pricing thousands of otherwise middle class families out of desirable neighborhoods.

As a method of stimulating demand for housing in the city, this government policy would be akin to pushing on a string – rather than truly tackling the problem of undesirable neighborhoods, it would just force people to live in them via price inflation.

I have a friend who purchased a home in Five Oaks and he bandied about endlessly how his mortgage payment was something on the other of $180 a month. His mood soured significantly when someone stole his grill set off his back porch over the Labor Day weekend in the time it took him to walk around to the front and get his mail and come back.

Until you can tackle the problems of crime, the abysmal school district, lack of city services, and unaccountable leadership…. the educated and hardworking taxpayers will continue to leave the city as quickly as possible. And land use regulations will just make it more difficult for middle class taxpayers to leave Nan’s clutches.

Stephen Partenach,III
Stephen Partenach,III


I grew in South Park 77-94. I always marvel at the condition of the houses that have rehabbed.
I worked at the old Durrell Paint Company 86-92. I spent a lot of time in the area in and around Fifth Street area. Today I drive through I see many house either burnt out or wide open. Multiple houses on some streets . I believe these house can be rehabbed if not scrapped for the wood itself to rehab others.
The main problem with Dayton it does not have enough Drug Treatment centers. Drug treatment, there are people that have dual diagnosis and have not been treated which leads to drug abuse. We need to make people aware of this mental health issue. I currently work in the mental health field at a Drug treatment center. I see people from all walks of life. I see that there are many people in Dayton that are hurting psychologically and are in need of help. This is where neighborhoods can be reborn. We must first start with the people.

Stephen Partenach, III


This idea needs to happen, thanks for putting it out there Mr. Esrati.

Have you sent a copy of your post to the Bernie Sanders campaign? This would almost be better to push through on a national level, because it benefits every American homeowner in the rust belt.

To Mr. Hensley – neighborhoods only get good when someone cleans up the shit and takes pride in where they live. This would make that happen.

Auston Hensley


“This would make that happen?”

By forcing people to live in a city they don’t want to live in? That isn’t a matter of taking pride – it’s a thinly veiled attempt to control where or how people live. And that is absolute bullshit.

It’s attitudes like this which make me and thousands of other hardworking taxpayers want to move out of the city – only to watch as Nan and Foley and others try to put their grubby hands back into our pockets in the name of “regionalism.”

Auston Hensley

David –

This has nothing to do with what wing of politics anybody comes from. All I have heard so far is “use government policy to make people get back in the city.”

So I’ll pose a simple question – what would this policy do for the hundreds of thousands of residents in the metro area who say “I don’t want to live in the city limits,” or alternatively “I prefer a new house?”


Two philosophies.

1. Mad Hatter’s tea party – build new, don’t maintain it, let it go to shit, move farther away, rinse and repeat. This is what we do now, and what you advocate.

2. The one every other nation in the world uses – build when needed, take care of what’s already there, and do routine maintenance like a respectful human being. Learn to live with people taht are different than you. Solve problems.

It’s fight vs. flight, being a friend or being a coward. Are you really advocating we all run away from our own shadow and live in a world of neurotic paranoia, too afraid to engage with our neighbors???

And yeah, I don’t want you to plow up another corn field. I have a right to clean water and air, and I’ll sure as heck tell you to get your bulldozer out of that cornfield. We are plowing our world under at an alarming rate, for nothing. People need to live where houses, infrastructure, and proper resources reside, not in places where they do not. It’s a simple, stupid, common sense concept.

I mean, do you just move to a different bedroom in your house when one gets too messy and filthy? I doubt you do. And think about what your house would be like if you did. Same concept applies here, it ain’t rocket science.


Above comment – all “you”, “your”, etc. directed at Mr. Hensley.

Auston Hensley


Therea so many straw men in that post that I’m not even sure where to begin. So let’s dispense with the hyperbole. Nobody has advocated “letting things go to shit” or “living in a world of neurotic paranoia.” Despite what thoughts cross your mind when you run into someone who disagrees with you, when you try to throw hysterics out there it just degrades the discussion.

I have consistently been an advocate of allowing the free market to work, along with consumer demand, when determining what and where to build.

The market has decided a long time ago it wants nothing to do with Dayton City Hall. Kettering owes its existence to the residents of Van Buren Township who did not want to be annexed so they formed their own discrete entity. Ditto Riverside, Huber Heights, and Trotwood. They all had one thing in common – keep Dayton from annexing their land.

When you see a clear market force like this at work – why try to distort it by using the levers of government when the people have clearly chosen otherwise? The people have spoken and voted with their feet.


The way I see it, you could raze entire city blocks in Dayton proper, build new homes on those sites, and there will always be a large percentage of people who STILL would not choose live in the city given the crappy schools, non-existent services, broken curbs, weeds, graffiti vandalism and inbred political incompetence.

We only go through this life once. We each have a choice where we would like to live, lay our head, recreate, raise a family, relax after a hard day’s work and prosper.

Given this choice, why would anyone choose to live in today’s Dayton? And please spare me all the bull about the gritty urban lifestyle. As a suburban homeowner, I’m not buying it – literally and figuratively.



1) I like the architecture of my home
2) I like the walkability of my neighborhood and proximity to multiple highways (i.e. litereally less than one mile to 75, 4, and 35
3) I have some many restaurants (independent, chain, ethnic, etc. ) within a five minute drive
4) My neighbors are awesome
5) My savings on purchase price are instead planned for a parochial school system, with nationally ranked Stivers as plan B.

I’m glad you haven’t bought it.


I’m sorry I misunderstood. I thought you were railing against the city tearing down dilapidated housing stock in Dayton. If you don’t tear it down, what’s the alternative when these houses have been gutted by vandals and Mother Nature? No one is going to live in them again.

Auston Hensley

Diane –

If I read the above post correctly, Dave just wants to push the cost of tearing down Dayton’s dilapidated housing stock off the city and onto Ryan Homes.

Sounds like just another cost the city would be imposing on suburban residents to me – as if the city income tax weren’t enough already (a direct result of taxing professional suburban residents who work downtown but can’t vote in the city is the growth of Austin Landing as jobs leave downtown entirely).

Increasingly I view the city as the region’s economic bantustan – a place constantly asking for subsidies and handouts and trying to funnel suburban tax dollars into its maw.

We’ve seen how poorly managed City Hall is on this very blog – the stupid property deals Coke to mind. Is it thus surprising why suburban residents don’t want anything to do with the city?

That leads us to a conundrum – I want the city to succeed like any rational human being. But I don’t want to be the one paying for it, because I don’t have any faith in the city’s current leadership to do the job.

Dave C.

Maybe go through the current stock of abandoned structures with a triage approach: 1) Hopeless, tear down now 2) Maybe, could possibly be salvaged 3) definitely salvageable.

To me, the abandoned building problem is job 1 throughout much of Dayton.


This is the most ridiculous proposition I have heard in a long time. Home builders are in the business of building and selling houses. In order to stay in business, they will build houses to sell in the areas where there is demand. If there were sufficient demand for new housing in Dayton, and a builder thought it could be built and sold for a profit, a builder would build it.

How is Dayton’s decaying, unwanted, unsalable housing stock a home builder’s problem?


Let’s forget about Dayton for a minute. I understand that you think it’s the responsibility of a private enterprise (i.e., a home builder) to correct the problem of ANY city’s urban decay by requiring the builder to offset his new construction with paying for demolition in the city. It’s not the builder’s job “to reduce the oversupply.” People/residents/homeowners would naturally reduce the oversupply if in the city was where they wanted to live.

I just read this excellent comment on another blog regarding similar situations throughout the nation’s Rust Belt (, and I quote the OH poster here:

“Urban renewal comes when there’s something in an area which brings in a population which will value and maintain their properties. Urban decay comes when an area lacks this something, and a population moves in which does not have these priorities. It’s nothing more complicated than that, and anything more is just academic masturbation.

I currently live in a west side Cleveland neighborhood which is right on the crux of this pivot point. It’s inexpensive (homes sell for between $40K – $90K) and that’s encouraging families to relocate there from neighborhoods which are farther down on the socio-economic ladder. So as a result, in the last 3 years I’ve gained neighbors who, as soon as they unpack their moving truck, they go out and buy three pit bulls, because that’s what their culture dictates. They leave them out to bark all day and night. They don’t mow their lawns. They leave broken-down cars rotting away in their driveways. Their yards look like someone overturned a dumpster. Now, I’d LOVE to stay in this’s where I grew up, it’s convenient to everything I enjoy, and it’s cheap. But as more neighbors like this move in, my quality of life decreases right along with my property value. I can’t go over to their houses, knock on their doors and have a reasonable discussion about their dogs barking at 3 am, because they don’t see anything wrong with that…so that makes ME the asshole. It’s a lose/lose situation for me.”

Auston Hensley

” If there were sufficient demand for new housing in Dayton, and a builder thought it could be built and sold for a profit, a builder would build it.”

Diane –

Your issue is that, in addition to the obvious permitting and construction costs, there are additional costs to doing business in the city of Dayton, which include, but are not limited to:

– City taxes (mentioned before)
– City bureaucracy (many of Dave’s past posts highlight his past problem with incompetent bureaucrats who benefit from patronage jobs)
– Cost of brownfield development – whether this be repurposing old buildings or tearing them down to build new ones in the same spot.

There’s the external factors which are simply beyond a developer’s control – such as crime, lack of services, and an abysmal school district – all of which erode the potential value of a home (whether new or rehabbed) in the city limits. Ultimately, every developer has concluded that there simply isn’t any money to be made in the city. The only exceptions have been when the city hands out generous tax credits or development credits (think the tax abatements Charlie Simms gets for his townhomes downtown).

David –

Your problem here is that “Dayton housing” and “glut of housing” are inextricably linked – the glut of housing is almost exclusively in the city limits as the market has long ago determined nobody wants them.

I understand there are significant public policy implications for this, as *somebody* has to deal with the wreckage left behind. But I don’t think imposing an additional cost on Ryan Homes is going to fundamentally fix a broken city – it’ll just increase housing prices out in the townships.

Auston Hensley

I’ll make one addendum – unless you can convince people that:

– they want to pay $300,000 for a house built on top of an old Superfund site,
– that they want to shell out thousands per year in private school, and
– they want to deal with their street not getting plowed for days on end –

you’ll continue to have problems with getting people to live in the city.


Here’s a really nice set of graphics showing the projected decline in Montgomery County’s population over the coming decades:

I can only imagine what terrifying effect this will have on property taxes as residents continue to flee the state. God help those of you who stick it out.

To Mr. Hensley’s earlier points… “Therea so many straw men in that post that I’m not even sure where to begin. So let’s dispense with the hyperbole. Nobody has advocated “letting things go to shit” or “living in a world of neurotic paranoia.” Despite what thoughts cross your mind when you run into someone who disagrees with you, when you try to throw hysterics out there it just degrades the discussion.” Am I wrong though??? Probably not, given the number of recent neurological studies that show ideology is largely shaped on how individuals perceive risk and fear. A strong urban community is more of a risk, people are different, but ultimately it’s worth it for every city in the region, including your precious (and unfortunately completely built out and now declining) Beavercreek. “I have consistently been an advocate of allowing the free market to work, along with consumer demand, when determining what and where to build.” You’re talking about a skewed market, not a free one. There is no constraint on supply, which subsidizes Ryan Homes. They can build anywhere where city water and sewer are available, which is most of the region. Current rural residents in the community subsidize the costs of additional water and sewer lines to come in to the area through exorbitant fees (upwards of $15000/property for one line) for these developers. Because of low land costs fueled by “endless” supply, along with lax construction standards that fuel poor quality product, developers can build communities where a new 2200 sq. ft. house costs less than the what the one a mile away built ten years ago should sell for if the market was fair. But because of these costs, homes decrease in inflation-adjusted value and homeowners in these communities lose money to subsidize Ryan Homes too. All you support is corporate welfare….. “The market has decided a long time ago it wants nothing to do with Dayton City Hall. Kettering owes its existence to the residents of Van Buren Township who did not want to be annexed so they formed their own discrete entity. Ditto Riverside,… Read more »

Diane – I’m assuming you left. Good riddance!!

Auston Hensley


I’m not sure whether your last line is satire or you’re 100% serious about accusing middle class suburbanites of being “the biggest welfare children of them all.”

It’s middle class suburbanites who are more likely to be subject to federal income tax – and at higher rates than your typical Dayton resident. They’re not going to get the earned income tax credit, they’re not going to get food stamps, WIC, TANF, Section 8, or the whole bevy of tax-subsidized programs. They’re unlikely to receive Medicaid, even the expanded Medicaid under Obamacare only covers up to 137% of the poverty line.

Suburban residents pay taxes to subsidize RTA, which benefits city residents far more than it benefits suburban residents (and it doesn’t take a genius to say who pays more).

Suburban residents don’t have access to historical preservation credits, tax abatements, or the other tools that local government likes to use to spur development.


And before you start talking about things like the home mortgage interest deduction – if you’ve survived any federal tax law course, you’d know that itemized deductions are taken in lieu of the standard deduction. That’s $12,600 for a couple – so unless you incur more than $12,600 in deductible expenses (i.e. mortgage interest) in one year, you realize no benefit from this deduction.

At today’s rates, you’d have to take a $350,000 mortgage to realize any benefit at all if you had no other things to deduct. The actual tax benefit of owning a home isn’t nearly as large as perceived in the media or in the Bernster’s social media circles.

(I actually got a significant benefit – something like $120 a month – since the city no longer sucks 2.5% of my income out of my pay check on a biweekly basis.)


“I’m not sure whether your last line is satire or you’re 100% serious about accusing middle class suburbanites of being “the biggest welfare children of them all.” ”

Remind me, what % of construction and maintenance costs for infrastructure like roads, interstates, utilities, etc. are paid for by the people who use it in suburban areas?

What’s the difference in the property tax rate between residential and business uses in most suburban areas?

And suburban governments use tax breaks like ED/GE (used at Carriage Trails in Huber Heights, among other places), TIF financing, variable taxation, JobsOhio/state grants, etc.
If we’re going to talk about who pays for this country, I can guarantee you it’s not the suburbanites. The system is rigged to ensure the tea partiers whine and bitch from their cushy fantasyland of …. dare I say it?…. no responsibility.

It’s akin to the lifestyle of Siddhartha Gupta before he went outside the castle walls, discovered suffering, and pioneered Buddhism. It’s easy to be ignorant if you don’t understand the real issue.

Auston Hensley

“What percent of construction and maintenance costs in the suburbs are borne out by suburban residents? ”

Damned near 100%. The developer often pays the cost of platting the land and running utilities and then passes it on to families when the lots are sold. Sometimes the city will do it – if the current residents are on board. But you can be damned sure a Dayton resident isn’t subsidizing development out in Beavercreek Township.


“What’s the difference in the property tax rates between residential and business uses?”

Very little. Montgomery County has the dubious distinction of having the highest property tax on commercial and industrial properties out of all 88 counties – ahead of even Cuyahoga County.

Residential property tax rates aren’t far behind – Montgomery County has the second highest property tax rate on residential properties – second to only Cuyahoga County. They trade places.

Being compared to Cleveland as a democratic/high tax stronghold isn’t a good honor when the residents are beating feet out of both counties at record rates.


My cosmetologist has a house in Kettering that books at roughly the same value as mine. She pays $800 more per year than I do, in addition to a city income tax of 2.25%. And I’ll pay a lower sales tax rate at the Greene than I would shopping at Town and Country. (I’d compare the Greene to Dayton’s downtown shopping district, except there isn’t one.)

Of course – I’m not subsidizing Sinclair Community College. Or RTA. Or the multiple Human Services levies.


Sims is doing real development here Esrati – not willy nilly piece meal construction fixing up $20k dumps. There is a huge difference in the affect it has on values and impact. Your fixer ups are accepted but don’t expect a handout from the city to help you. Your efforts simply don’t equate in much value. Sorry, but that’s just a fact.

On the other hand, if you are developing entire city blocks at a time, you deserve attention, including consideration with finances for your your planned development. Your jealousy toward developers is well chronicled. You seems to forget that they are shouldering risk and bringing their own equity to the table. This is a huge difference from a Citywide Development / Aaron Sorrell debacle. Public / private development has proven highly successful in most cities and is expected here. Without it we have nothing but the occassion guy like you doing a bit of rehab while everything else around you festers.

You, and many others don’t seem to understand that buildings have a life cycle and expected period of use where the value of replacement of the entire building makes HELL OF A LOT more sense than rehab. Let’s face it, most residential properties in Dayton were not of much value to begin with. Dayton doesn’t need more $40-65K housing. Developer’s want shovel ready property free of environmental issues and subgrade garbage. They furthermore don’t want their $200K housing next to eye sore rehabs. Tear it down, build new! 90% of Dayton can be dozed as far as I’m concerned – it’s a very ugly city. Enough lipstick on pigs and let the market decide what amount of new construction is practical.


David, you made my point. Dayton doesn’t need the overabundance of dilapidated housing that will never be inhabited. So what’s the beef with tearing it down and supporting new? Well it could be lack of confidence that new housing isn’t going to sell in Dayton but it’s been proven that new Dayton housing development is selling! Why? I don’t know. I’m trying like hell to get out out of the city limits but there are those who want to move downtown and Sims is providing the product. I’m glad to see it for the city center sake.

Auston Hensley

Ralph –

Nobody is disputing that a lot of Dayton’s housing stock is beyond repair (and more houses are in danger of joining that list if they aren’t repaired soon).

The problem is, who is going to pay for the demolition? So far, the city has shouldered that cost, with occasional assists from the state and Feds. David’s proposal was to make a developer pay for it instead (i.e. Ryan Homes).

You can’t do nothing about it – otherwise a heap of ruins will permanently destroy the value of living in that neighborhood. Arguably, demolition and clearing is the best way to go about it as there are minimal maintenance costs once the land is cleared (cut the grass a couple times a year?)

Even so, multiply that by thousands of lots that are empty, and it’s a significant ongoing cost.

I wonder if it’s time for the city to simply abandon neighborhoods that are too far gone to bring back. Cut off all services, make allowances for remaining residents to move to a more viable neighborhood, and let the area revert to wilderness.

new government
new government
How about we remove all housing in Dayton even ones struggling to hold to as our homes that have been described as not very livable and the government uses this as an excuse to discriminate because someone is poor on the block and wants to see everything inside wanting invasion of privacy and to tell someone you will have to move because the government deems it unfit inside and you are not allowed to live they the way they tell you. Same thing like the greyhound bus stop and feeding programs outside on cooper park so no one can see the poor and their needs so discriminate and move the operations to trotwood for tracking and study. They started their program with the easiest in society; the very weak and poor as they have the least fighting power and they are not done yet as lower middle classes of people are a target and moving up higher as this program becomes more sophisticated as people will buy into this crap. That is why you need to go to to trotwood to catch the bus if you do not drive and rta hub so it would not bother the city of Dayton. Rest assured it was no accident; they want modern day security to watch everyone traveling to track as this was done behind closed doors with law enforcement and municipalities. It should be called the tracking station for the government and police. Now they want to know how you are living inside your home; guess what it is no one’s business! It’s called government intrusion because now even though your house might look good on the outside they want a peek inside. How about let’s start the extermination program this government wants here. It obviously is an agenda as it is no accident as taxes do not match the kind of area this is and taxes the poor out of the city to be replaced? By whom? More upscale housing so they can collect a non challenged tax regardless and without anyone questioning it since they will have well to… Read more »

These reclaimed residential lots, already plumbed for a water spigot, could then be used for urban farming in the midst of Dayton’s food desert. Above-ground, raised beds could easily and relatively inexpensively be installed, regardless of subterranean issues.

A list of local trained square foot gardening instructors who could serve as advisors is available here:

Imagine all of that fresh, healthy produce within walking distance! Of course, success would depend on plenty of volunteers and a moratorium on vandalism and theft.

Dave C.

I like Diane’s garden idea. Veggies, flowers or even just grass/trees/shrubbery would be an improvement.

If somebody wants to jack some carrots or tomatoes, I guess they can. I just don’t see this as a huge problem.


“I wonder if it’s time for the city to simply abandon neighborhoods that are too far gone to bring back. Cut off all services, make allowances for remaining residents to move to a more viable neighborhood, and let the area revert to wilderness. ”

That sir, I can agree with!


“time for the city to abandon neighborhoods”

“In Flint or Dayton,…houses in even the strongest neighborhoods sell for well below replacement cost. Any increase in the number of vacant or foreclosed properties can put those areas at risk of destabilization. In other parts of these cities, home buying has declined to such an extent that the housing market has effectively ceased to exist.
Strong market neighborhoods, although they may contain only a small part of the city’s land area, contain most of each city’s middle-income population, it’s aggregate value, and it’s real estate activity. In 2006, 77 percent of all the home purchases and 93 percent of the aggregate dollar value of home purchases in Dayton took place in less than 30% of the city’s 58 census tracts.”
Preserving neighborhoods where market activity is still taking place while developing new land uses where the market no longer functions are two central themes in the smaller city paradigm.”
Facing the Urban Challenge – Alan Mallach- Brookings Institute 2010

Dave C.

Speaking of local real estate: yet another plan for the Arcade, along with an initial $700k in tax dollars. The promise of another $14M or so…….any thoughts on this?

Why, after all this time, is something afoot?

Are the current owner in or out?

Who will ultimately own the Arcade?

What about the back taxes?

Inquiring minds want to know!


All of this is about what we do with the poor people, whose numbers get larger as good paying jobs disappear in the global economy. Unfortunately the finance industry got away with causing the foreclosure crisis and then avoiding the consequence of creating vacant housing that soon becomes a candidate for demolition. Dayton already had lots of small old houses that many don’t want, and the foreclosure crisis made things much worse. But the biggest problems are lost jobs and the quality of the Dayton Schools, whose boundaries so concentrate poverty and lack the resources needed to overcome it. The only solution is for the entire region to invest hugely in educating Dayton kids (and increasingly those of the inner ring suburbs as well) but the Dayton Schools prop up the desirability of the suburbs, and educating Dayton kids would create competition for suburban kids in a future where good jobs are becoming scarce. Ultimately America must share the rewards of its productivity more equally, and develop the whole economy, even if just serving the wealthy is more profitable. And the region must hang together or we will all hang separately.