The curtain is raised on the Downtown Dayton Plan

The video rocked. The presenters- not so much.

I started a round of applause when Gene Krebs of Greater Ohio in his intro said “We don’t have too much economic development. We have too much economic development bureaucracy” – to a room filled with “economic development” types. The room was literally- standing room only- and the spread looked delicious, but for an hour, as local comedian Sherif Hedayet tweeted: “Attn Downtown Dayton Plan could we have someone under 60 talk about change. I have yet to hear anything interesting. Kayaking really…” For a group that’s looking to attract young professionals, the language of the young professional- or the freshness that comes with youth- was missing- except in the video. 19 May update: NOTE: The Plan now has it’s own website: http://www.downtown-dayton.com/plan/

Even the presentation printouts- which were attached to the windows- were type heavy, and missing “action verbs.” The plan is still going to be carried out by yet another “Community council” – because we’re afraid to put someone in charge and hold their feet to the fire. The obvious choice for this is Sandy Gudorf, the head of the Downtown Dayton Partnership– but, since we’ve finally expanded our definition of “Downtown” to include more than what’s North of the railroad tracks and South of the River- her area of responsibility doesn’t cover it all.

The only concrete “we’re doing this” things that I came out with is- five new gateways, and an experiment with “end in parking” by the Cannery. Never mind that every mall would be empty too if everyone had to parallel park.

It was great to hear Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan mention the HUBzone status of Downtown being an incentive for gaining government contracts- but, the utilization of that preferred status (which I’ve talked about forever here) isn’t enough to fill buildings (you have to have 35% of your employees live in the zone- as well as be located in the zone). Riordan also mentioned student housing- which makes me wonder if we may finally see a relaxation on Single Room Occupancy regs (another theme from this site).

The upside of the whole shooting match- is that the discussion is front and center- and we at least have a great video to show, which makes the city look hip.

I’ve been trying to find time to write a post about Urban Nights- so I’ll mention it here- over in Wright Dunbar- which NEVER has any people walking around most days, the closed off street with bands and booze being sold in multiple locations, was jumping. We can bring people downtown- if we’d stop making it so hard to have fun. Permits and codes and parking restrictions are all hassle and no happiness for new businesses to navigate. How much different things could be if we just tossed the old rule books out the windows and went wild west open space.

Riordan did talk about 1 price rents- including parking costs- to try to price competitively with suburban space, but this is just the tip of the problems.

For all the talk about luring the creative young entrepreneurs- there were only a handful of people tweeting- the rest of the people in the room- just don’t seem plugged in. There should always be a back channel going in events like this- and there should always be invitations for questions, but, then again, we still can’t get right down to the main problems that Gene Krebs opened up with: We’re saddling tax payers with paying for way too much bureaucratic overhead in Ohio. We need to jettison a ton of bureaucratic baggage if we want this plan to be able to get off the ground.

Now, please return your tray table and seat back to the full upright and locked position, and prepare for….

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28 Responses

  1. Shelly May 18, 2010 / 8:06 pm
    Beautiful presentation. Great advertising that’s for sure.
    Now, talk to me as a parent raising a kid in the reality of the Dayton Public School district.
  2. Jeff of Louisville May 18, 2010 / 8:32 pm
    I like how they worked that subtle family values theme in with the cute straight couple and their dog walking around Mcpherson Town, intercut with clips of kids on bikes.   Especially ironic since Mcpherson Town was supposdely an area that had gays..gay couples…as urban pioneers.  In fact, based on my analyses of the census results, it was one of the census tracts that had the highest concenrations of gay couples in the Miami Valley.  Lets be discretely silent about that.

    Also the macho/outdoors theme…karate, boxing, kayaking.  Hoo-rah.   I guess this is the pich to the military crowd. 

    Then there was the token black guy talking about entertainment options…uh huh.  

    Speaking of blacks: 

    “so I’ll mention it here- over in Wright Dunbar- which NEVER has any people walking around most days, the closed off street with bands and booze being sold in multiple locations, was jumping.”

    I and my late partner used to go to the Wright-Dunbar Urban Nights event as our first Urban Nights stop.  Yes, this does seem to be the “black urban nights”, with minimal white attendance.  Yet there always was a good crowd the times we went.  This time I went alone, sort of in his memory (he passed away this past October).  And I was really happy to see how they expanded it to block off Third, creating a block party feel.   Music was good as always, and the art at the community gallery was particularly good.  

    Anway, was in Columbus this Monday.  Now that is one great town.  If anyone is transfering here and wants that urban life they are pitching in that video  Id recommend living in Columbus.  Only an hour drive from Dayton.

     

  3. David Lauri May 18, 2010 / 9:44 pm
    Anway, was in Columbus this Monday.  Now that is one great town.  If anyone is transfering here and wants that urban life they are pitching in that video  Id recommend living in Columbus.
     
    I’m in Columbus right now, as I type this, having driven up the day before Equality Ohio‘s annual Lobby Day (a really effective gay rights activity, not that pride parades don’t have their place).  Spent the afternoon on High Street, wandering around, watching boys (yay OSU), getting lunch, stopping by the Wexner Center to see their current exhibition (Mark Bradford — interesting, not my cup of tea particularly, but worth stopping by, especially since I got in free today for Museum Day).  Spent the evening in German Village — had dinner at G Michael’s Bistro and then went to the Book Loft to buy some books, one of which I started reading next door at Cup O’ Joe.  So, yes, Jeff, Columbus is a fine city, a town Dayton should try to emulate.
     
    And I’m really sorry to hear about John’s having died, Jeff.
  4. Shortwest Rick May 19, 2010 / 1:33 am
    Oh come on Jeff, I think you are being overly critical of the video. Hillcrest is fine in a city of 1.2 million but for a city that’s been hemorrhaging population for two decades presenting Dayton as a family friendly place might not be a bad idea. It has to be better than saying if your junker will make it here you can get a job at GM.
  5. John Ise May 19, 2010 / 10:22 am
    That’s a GREAT video!
  6. truth May 19, 2010 / 10:52 am
    Good video.  If it doesn’t make you a little upbeat about downtown development, I really don’t know what will.  These plans have been discussed for years and it is finally nice to see something official come out.
     
    Jeff…attitudes like yours are exactly why the video probably didn’t cater to your tastes.  A truly diverse population will have amenities for every lifestyle.  There is no need to be bitter because they didn’t cater to yours in the video.  Catering to 4% of the population in a development campaign, isn’t going to make or break the development.  Catering to the majority of the population will.  This entry by David E. is one that can spark ideas by readers, but you would rather complain.
     
    The key to downtown development, as mentioned, is walkable communities with housing, and the ability to draw people from the suburbs downtown.  A good balance of arts, entertainment, nightlife, and most importantly recreation will do that.  The Miami Valley Conservancy District has done a great job with bikepaths ranging from Shelby County all the way to Hamilton County.  This is a good start when thinking about “region”.  Tie this in with development of existing properties and you have the beginning of a winner.
     
     
  7. Steve May 19, 2010 / 12:26 pm
    so which one of us wants to invest in that “infill” opportunity across from the Convention Center?

    CWCapital bought the Crowne Plaza Hotel (next door) in 2008 for 6.1 million. They sold in it 2009 for 2.6 million. It would cost at least 10 times that to rebuild it today.

    Let me be the first to vote myself down. It sucks, but these are the facts today.

  8. Donald Phillips May 19, 2010 / 12:44 pm
    Jeff of Louisville is spot-on correct. This video is a lilly white distortion of phenominological reality, egregious Babbitry at best.

    How many ‘downtown revitalizations plans’ have preceded this present scheme?

  9. truth May 19, 2010 / 3:34 pm
    @Donald

    What would you prefer?  What are you solutions to the problem that Dayton and the region are trying to solve?  You have a complaint?  Offer a solution.

    Considering the opposite of the “lilly white distortion” that you speak of is the current opinion of Dayton…What is your marketing strategy to promote Dayton?  Speak of segregation?  Racism?

    Dayton has to return to what they feel is a “family value” orientated community.  Does it bother you that the city has the opinion that “family values” matter?  Would you rather have 60 seconds of that video dedicated to a PRIDE parade?

    Columbus didn’t become a destination city because they marketed the German Village.  They became a destination because they marketed sports, entertainment, recreation, arts, wildlife, education, and dining.  They have mixed use lands, diverse housing opportunities, and means of transportation.  I would venture to say that if Columbus was in need of a marketing video, it would include many of the positives that I just mentioned.

    Some of you love to bitch because your needs aren’t met in strategies to market to a region.  I don’t care what anyone chooses to do with their lifestyle regardless of if I agree with it or not.  However, I will step in to call foul when some of you think it is a wise business strategy to market a region off of the sole basis of orientation, gender, race, etc.  That video had a balance of all types of people.  Get over it.  If you don’t like the strategy that Dayton has to market the region, Columbus is due east.

  10. Jeff of Louisville May 19, 2010 / 3:41 pm
    Jeff…attitudes like yours are exactly why the video probably didn’t cater to your tastes.  A truly diverse population will have amenities for every lifestyle.  There is no need to be bitter because they didn’t cater to yours in the video.  Catering to 4% of the population in a development campaign, isn’t going to make or break the development. 

    I just found that particular segment ironic since I know a bit about that particular neighborhood.  I recognize that this downton plan is pitched, in part, to the defense community, as stated in the DDN article on it.  So the video imagery is tailored to that market to some extent.   The reality is that one of the very few things the Dayton region has going for it is the big military presence here, which is going to drive the sales pitch for the downtown plan.

    The trend here, since I’ve lived here, is for LGBT people to leave the Dayton region for places that are both more tolerant and accepting and that have better economies and job opportunities.   So I don’t expect a marketing campaign here to make a play for this demographic becuase it would be both dishonest and fruitless (pardon the pun).

    Other cities do pitch to the LGBT market (even if it’s a small population) but more on the tourism side.  This includes unexpected places like Milwaulkee, which is pretty upfront about it on their tourism/visitor website.   Dayton isn’t that evolved yet.

    To David Lauri, thank you.  The loss was unexpected and I am still not over it.  Don’t I ever will be.

     

  11. Jeff Dziwulski May 19, 2010 / 3:43 pm
    If you don’t like the strategy that Dayton has to market the region, Columbus is due east.

    Only an hour or so for a commute, too.  In some ways this is a better commute than Cincy as the traffic is lighter.   I am going to look into this.

  12. Michael May 19, 2010 / 8:00 pm
    Again, most of these “solutions” are things that the market should be providing on its own. You can’t create kayak rapids and karate classes and then hope to bring in enough people to actually use that stuff because it’s not genuine.
    Anyway, all of these things are whitebread, local elite ideas that don’t reflect the reality of Dayton’s population and its desires. You cannot create the type of city you want through force!! It has to develop naturally, and that means reducing bureaucracy and rules, not adding more.
  13. Gene May 19, 2010 / 8:52 pm
    We all want a cool Dayton, but there is reality. And DP and Jeff are right, show a “more real” Dayton. And show the struggles of Dayton. How many times have we seen a “reviatalization” movement? Too many. Just do it people.  Stop the barriers to enter.
    Michael above is right. Stop trying to force Dayton to be what it is not. Allow easy access for new businesses. Teach people to start their own, then get out of their way.
    Dayton has a lot of crime and sad/bad schools, sorry but this is the truth. Neighborhood schools would allow the South Parks of Dayton to unite even more. But forcing (as in bussing and other stuff) the city to have certain things benefits only a few. You want a bigger impact on more people? Allow businesses to grow, to start.
  14. truth May 19, 2010 / 9:17 pm
    Well…apparently the “truth” needs to be addressed.  You say that the video and the strategy doesn’t match the demographics of Dayton.  News flash…gays and minorities aren’t supporting Dayton as it is today.  No one is.  The campaign is going to focus on the majority.  Outsiders are the only way that Dayton is going to flourish again.  I am speaking of realities, not my personal opinion on demographics.   If there is a pro-“insert agenda here” group that is on a campaign and it doesn’t include white, heterosexual, males, that attend church, and have a family…I will be the last one to get salty over the whole deal.  The Dayton “elite” have taken notice that they have to draw from surrounding communities in order to see that the things they develop have enough support to stay alive.  Take Schuster for example.  The majority of the visitors are from the suburbs.  That is evident of the traffic patterns following an event.  If that is a Dayton only venue, it fails.  The other reason that the folks are in and out is because of the lack of dining and post event entertainment. 

    We can try and massage this all we want.  The bottom line is that if you can’t convince suburban people or new college graduates to move back into Dayton, primarily downtown, it will never rebound. 

  15. Civil Servants Are People, Too May 20, 2010 / 2:34 am
    That’s an amazing video!   I hope the new plan gets more people excited.   I talked to someone this week that knew nothing about downtown except what it was like in the 50’s and now the Schuster Center.   After 15 minutes of talking about some of the things mentioned here, I think his perception changed a little, for the better.  If we can do that with 50,000 more people, we’ll be set.
     
    Now some observations…
     

    For all the talk about luring the creative young entrepreneurs- there were only a handful of people tweeting- the rest of the people in the room- just don’t seem plugged in.

    I know some young people, and not one is on Twitter in any meaningful way.   I might argue that a truly connected community doesn’t really need the internet to communicate.   I don’t think Twitter defines the Millenial generation in the same way Facebook does.   Besides,  even today it seems disrespectful to have your nose in an iPhone during a meeting.
     

    In fact, based on my analyses of the census results, it was one of the census tracts that had the highest concenrations of gay couples in the Miami Valley.  Lets be discretely silent about that.… Then there was the token black guy talking about entertainment options…uh huh.

    So the problem with the “token black guy” is they missed out having a token gay guy?  Honestly,  I thought the black guy might’ve been gay himself.   Are we supposed to pick one of each interest group now?



    So, yes, Jeff, Columbus is a fine city, a town Dayton should try to emulate.

    Perhaps, but keep in mind it is home of the State Capital and one of the largest public universities in the country.   So they have a few assets Dayton will never have.   Can we find a more realistic example?   Dayton is not a capital city and should not necessarily try to be one either, even if there are lessons to be learned there.
     

    Again, most of these “solutions” are things that the market should be providing on its own.

    True, but they haven’t done so.  Maybe this will provide some prodding.   Maybe it will define some priorities.   We as a region need every person and company to be invested in downtown, whether they live/work in Dayton or not.
     

    Stop the barriers to enter.Allow easy access for new businesses.

    What barriers?   I saw 30,000 people downtown for Urban Nights.  If even 1 percent choose to invest in the city tomorrow, we’ll be better off.   The door is wide open from what I see.   Let’s make the most of this opportunity.
     
     

  16. David Lauri May 20, 2010 / 11:07 am
    I might argue that a truly connected community doesn’t really need the internet to communicate.
    ROFL LOL oh my god I can’t stop laughing.
  17. Steve May 20, 2010 / 1:22 pm
    Greater Downtown Dayton Plan (revised 5/20), Step 1: Put out the fire (literally and figuratively)

    Thumbs down again.

  18. Jeff of Louisville May 20, 2010 / 4:13 pm
     The campaign is going to focus on the majority.  Outsiders are the only way that Dayton is going to flourish again.  I am speaking of realities, not my personal opinion on demographics.  
    It won’t rebound. 

    WhenI think “outsiders” I think outside the metropolitan area, because the local suburbanites are pretty much soured on the city and all it represents.   If the idea is to try to recruit a substantial number of  natives to come back into town, well,  good luck with that.  There’s not enough interest  here for that.  Or it will take a real cultural revolution in the appreciation of urbanism and city living…one I don’t see on the horizon.  People who are into that scene leave town.

    News flash…gays and minorities aren’t supporting Dayton as it is today.

    Lebsians and Gays (and minorities) are the few who aren’t itimidated to come downtown, and have played a role in urban pioneering , even if that role is ignored and not recognized or aknowleged by you or the others posting here, or by the leadership in this community. 

    So the problem with the “token black guy” is they missed out having a token gay guy?  Honestly,  I thought the black guy might’ve been gay himself.   Are we supposed to pick one of each interest group now?
    In this area ‘diversity’ means the token black guy. 

  19. truth May 20, 2010 / 9:46 pm
    @Jeff…
     
    You miss the point completely and the basis for their marketing campaign.  If you think the suburbs are “soured” on what the city represents now, do you actually think that focusing on your group of people will change their opinion?
     
    You don’t market to 4% of the population.  That is roughly the homosexual population in Ohio.  I don’t care if every gay in Montgomery, Clark, Miami, Preble, Greene, or Warren counties relocates to Dayton because  of a gay recruiting campaign to revitalize Dayton.  They don’t bring with it the ability to bring a city out of a hole and to the likes of a Columbus.  Get over it.  Your part of the population doesn’t have the economic and development worth to focus efforts on your group of people.
     
    I challenge you, with substantial data, to show how any marketing campaign towards homosexuals in any city has resulted in a population makeup that makes the city sustainable without “outsiders”.  Considering the highest gay population in metropolitan areas is around 14%…even if they contribute to 25% of the driving economic force (which they don’t given what large corporations contribute), they city falls on it’s face without “outsiders”.   As one of those “natives”…yes there is plenty of interest in Dayton rebounding.  The majority wishes there were more destinations in Dayton.  And what do you know….the powers to be in Dayton realize that and have addressed it in this video.  I suggest if the marketing campaign is so ignorant, you take the time to educate yourself on the issues, apply for one of the job positions in charge of this drive, and see if you can convince the Miami Valley otherwise.
     
    Sorry the suburbs aren’t tolerant enough for “your people” to feel comfortable.  That is not my problem, nor is it any other persons.  It is strictly yours to deal with.  I don’t have to recognize you, or any other citizen of Montgomery County, in order to have a pretty good idea of what needs to occur in Dayton for it to be a place people can live in and enjoy once again.  And like I said before.  If you don’t like the fact that you aren’t being catered to, find a region that will.  We won’t have to listen to you bitch then.
  20. David Lauri May 20, 2010 / 10:29 pm
    You don’t market to 4% of the population.
     
    Nah, you don’t market to queers, cause marketing’s always an either/or choice.  Either you market to queers and no one else, or you market to breeders and not to queers at all.  You can’t do both.
     
    I guess someone forgot to tell all these people that:
    http://www.visitlondon.com/people/gay/
    http://www.visitbritain.us/campaigns/gay/
    http://www.boston.com/jobs/diversity/spring08/marketing_to_gays/
    http://blogs.moneycentral.msn.com/topstocks/archive/2009/07/08/gm-tries-to-pitch-camaro-to-gay-men.aspx
  21. truth May 20, 2010 / 11:35 pm
    Well David (Lauri) …What is your plan for Dayton?  Do you have something better in mind?
     
    It has nothing to do with “queers” as you put it.  It has to do with government being a business.  Successful businesses have proper business models.  If I open an everyday business and my business model only addresses 4% of any population, I am going to be out of business very soon.  For example…ethnic groceries in populations where there is not even a complete 1% residency of that demographic.  It is just stupid.
     
    You can keep pulling the “gay card” at an attempt to rationalize how the government needs to address your population.  You cite webpages of private tourist/visitor/potential resident venues, not the government.  When I see a .gov on there, you can spout off  about how Dayton needs to sponsor your likes in their promotions that are government funded.
  22. Jeff of Louisville May 21, 2010 / 5:06 am
    They don’t bring with it the ability to bring a city out of a hole and to the likes of a Columbus. 

    Actually, lesbians and gays are part of the urban regeneration and gentrification trend in Columbus.  A somewhat controversial one as there was a documentary made on it.  Flag Wars.  

     Sorry the suburbs aren’t tolerant enough for “your people” to feel comfortable.  That is not my problem, nor is it any other persons.  It is strictly yours to deal with.  I don’t have to recognize you, or any other citizen of Montgomery County, in order to have a pretty good idea of what needs to occur in Dayton for it to be a place people can live in and enjoy once again.  And like I said before.  If you don’t like the fact that you aren’t being catered to, find a region that will.  We won’t have to listen to you bitch then.

    Spoken like a true native.  Nice kiss-off. 
     I think your problem is any affirmative approach to the LGBT community, as part and parcel of an urban regeneration strategy.  That’s what Lauri is talking about with his comment, about a broader vision of being inclusive.  Your remarks reflects more on your biases.  Hence the “get out of town we don’t want you around”  or “we don’t want to aknowledge your community” tone of your comments. 

    Maybe you see an active and visible LGBT community and a larger community that is inclusive and welcoming to this group as a negative thing?   You imply this here:

    If you think the suburbs are “soured” on what the city represents now, do you actually think that focusing on your group of people will change their opinion?

    As Lauri said, being inclusive is not “focusing”, not an either/or issue.   Maybe being inclusive is going too far for you and others here.  

     
     

  23. David Lauri May 21, 2010 / 9:23 am
    @truth:
     
    I have to question your reading and comprehension skills.  Can you point to a post in which I criticized the video or the new downtown Dayton plan?  I don’t think you can, because I did not do so.
     
    What I did do was to mock your statement that “you don’t market to 4% of the population.”  You make it sound as if anyone who does marketing has a stark choice to make, that marketers can’t make any effort at all to market to 4% of the population without thus being unable to market to the majority of the population.  That’s simply not true.  While one certainly wouldn’t spend the majority of one’s budget on a marketing campaign focused outside of one’s targets, a savvy marketer certainly could have multiple targets, spending an appropriate amount of one’s budget on each.  Although Civil Servants Are People, Too “might argue that a truly connected community doesn’t really need the internet to communicate,” once a marketer has spent money to establish a website, the incremental additional cost of doing some marketing to smaller groups is minor.
     
    And you want .gov sites about marketing to gays?  Well, here you go (and there are plenty more where these came from — Google can be your friend, if you’re not opposed to using the Internet):
    http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/2002/images/adopted/0916/02O1258.pdf
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=site%3Avisitnh.gov%20gay
    http://www.tempe.gov/hrc/diversityawards/2009diversityawardbio.htm
    http://www.ct.gov/shp/lib/shp/pdf/citieswelcomegaytourists.pdf
    http://web.miamibeachfl.gov/visitors/scroll.aspx?id=21776
  24. Gene May 21, 2010 / 9:58 am
    Why not market to people, productive people? Oh, they did. Too often you folks see (or don’t see) what you want. Stop making gay the issue, or black. We need people, quality people. Market to people who want a Downtown experience, show them that it is safe, that it is fun, that there is stuff to do. Gay people eat, and walk and bike and hike. They marketed this to people, people who do things.
  25. Donald Phillips May 21, 2010 / 10:31 am
    The Metroids were only interested tolerance and diversity when Richard Florida told them that it would contribute to the bottom line–they’d make more money. And since that ‘plan’ has been discredited (by no less than Richard Florida [talk about critical distance!]), their middle class mentalities have once again prevailed.

    The new `plan’ is a melding of California’s Simi Valley (or Apartaid era Sun City) with Soviet Cold War era secret defense cities east of the Ural Mountains.

  26. Ice Bandit May 23, 2010 / 11:10 am
    How much different things could be if we just tossed the old rule books out the windows and went wild west open space. (David Esrati)
    The Old Bandito has said it before and it bears repeating; inside of David Esrati’s taxes are good, liberal facade, is a libertarian just screamin’ to break out…..
     
     
  27. David Esrati May 23, 2010 / 11:49 am

    @Bandito- I don’t dismiss any political stream of thought- I prefer to pick and choose what makes sense.

    I believe in smaller government- a “Republican” idea- that isn’t implemented.

    I believe in the Constitution- including the First Amendment- but, the Second- I don’t believe applies to machine guns and nuclear weapons- which rules me out for a Libertarian.

    And- I believe in some universal rights- like Health Care, access to education and equal opportunity (not in the racist sense- but in the human sense)- which makes me a “Liberal.”

    I’m a supporter of a woman’s right to choose, a societies right to use capital punishment when we’re dead sure they did it, and in an immigration policy that makes sense.

    I’m a believer in free trade- only if other countries have the same limits on work, pollution, human rights, safety etc.

    You can try to apply labels but all they do is put you in a corner. In Ohio- it doesn’t help to be a third party candidate- until recently- you couldn’t even get your party label on the ballot.

    So- if it does come to me v. Turner- since I’m not a lawyer- I can count on your vote, right?

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