The “Master Plan” for South Park – and how it relates to all of Dayton

I’m super happy and enthused about the AIA 150 gift to our neighborhood- a donation of time and talent by local architects. We had our third meeting today- and all kinds of great conversations have been taking place: all about how to make South Park the best place to live in the city.

In a few more weeks- we’ll have a party- and have amazing conceptual plans for new parks, infill housing, commercial district improvements, rehab plans for problem housing and new boundaries. And then the realization that there aren’t millions of dollars available to make the changes.

But- all is not lost. In fact, I think that, as often is in the advertising business- the process of creating the plan/campaign, can be more valuable than the actual result.

Let that sink in for a minute.

When we start an ad campaign- we have to identify things like who our best potential customers are, what motivates them, what are our products strengths and weaknesses etc- before coming up with a marketing “solution” – which may, or may not be an ad campaign.

Same goes for the neighborhood. In the discussion of what we want our neighborhood to be- we often discover our real intrinsic strengths- and come together to believe in our own abilities to see a vision together- even if we can’t wave a magic wand and make it happen.

We also forge new friendships with neighbors, with businesses in the ‘hood- and with the architects in our community- all from talking and brainstorming about what the future could be.

To extrapolate this to the city- it’s the reason I hate the way our City Commission works- where things are decided in private and voted in public. How the priority board system actually buffers the people from the powerful- and how we are afraid to talk about options for things like “Ballpark Village” – and just taking the deal at face value.

Will we come up with an amazing master plan for South Park? We will see- but, if nothing else, the discussions have been amazingly valuable just because it focuses us on the future- and what could be- if only…

Any thoughts?

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