The continuing marginalization of North Dayton

One of the things our data driven, self-organizing, self-filtering, irrational decision making world seems to be bringing is complete and utter polarization. We self-select our friends, our news sources and our environs, first virtually and then in the real world.

“Because most of the people” is the most dangerous rationale for most business decision making, and in our media/money driven elections, the same can be said.

Ohioans voting down a chance for an improved redistricting system a few years ago is case in point.

The move of Hauer Music to the 725 strip is another. I’m sure that someone looked at where a majority of their business came from- and said we’d do better to be closer to them- and thereby just wrote off points North. It’s been happening a lot over the last 30 years- as first the Salem Mall fell, and then one-by-one other big boxes left too.

Yet, we’ve been told for years that the intersection of I75 and I70 is the “Crossroads of America” and that it is an ideal place for distribution. Yet, do you see a megamall anywhere near there? We have vacant space at the NorthWoods exit, we have the strip at Miller Lane which adds nothing original or unique to the community, the Poe Avenue office buildings that are nondescript and seem to be happy with what’s available on Miller Lane. The only thing that’s happened North worth mention from a standard of living aspect, in years is Scene 75– a family fun center on a massive scale. Other than that one project- what has happened North of Downtown? (Don’t talk about tax subsidized businesses like the CAT distribution hub etc- I’m talking quality of life and amenities).

One oddity- is that all three County Commissioners make their homes North right now. Yet, so much has been poured into Austin Landing it’s almost surprising that the County hasn’t moved its offices there and handed over the tower to Sinclair.

Granted, population density is far higher in the newer southern and eastern suburbs, but North and West seem to be continuing a downward slide in population and amenities. One wonders if the failure to build the Western counterpart to 675 was the beginning of the end, or the fact that 35W was given short shift with all the traffic lights and intersections instead of real exchanges and a true highway.

There are people with money up North- and they deserve opportunities in retail, entertainment, health care, and music stores. The city of Huber Heights seems to be the only community working to establish itself as a contender as the last bastion of a complete full service community, while Vandalia, Englewood, Butler Township, Clayton, Trotwood all seem to be spinning their wheels.

It’s time for the north suburbs to consider consolidating and working together to have a much louder voice in the region and to speak with one voice as a viable community worthy of investment. We’ve already seen that Washington Township and Centerville can’t get their acts together and that both Moraine and Miami Township prefer to be run like a circus sideshow instead of like professional governments. The time is right for the North to start putting some serious points on the board.

I’m not sure that a music venue was the ideal move by Huber Heights- but, it sure is the gutsy one.

I’ve always thought that Chambersburg Rd. as well as access to Huber from Route 4, were all grossly under engineered for access. If Huber is able to upgrade its cross-town roads to equal those that cut through like gashes (Troy and Brandt Pikes) they may be able to better distribute their amenities to other communities. Having an AFB as a margin to your community as well as a super highway make it hard for a true city center system to work. There is also the question of how long the islands of Dayton in the Huber Heights school districts should remain as part of Dayton now that there is no residency rule. Quail Hollow, Forest Ridge etc. should be repatriated to Huber to save Dayton money and give Huber Heights a better chance of winning in the battle of North vs. South.

The last thing that should be encouraged north is more sprawl. It’s important to keep our farmland and green spaces green, but, to do that, we need to take a serious look at what’s happening in the county and evaluate what the future will bring if we don’t have a real plan.

I’m sure many of you have opinions on the shifts over the last 30 years- please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments.

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