In the great brouhaha that rose out of the inclusion of Garden Station in a development package to an unnamed developer with untold plans, Kate Ervin who worked for the city in the planning department when Garden Station was “born” wrote a long response to the development plan on Facebook- but one of her comments was priceless:
Frankly, I’ve always thought the City has placed too much emphasis on a simplistic formulaic approach to economic development. New jobs = increased income tax = increased City revenues. You can’t ignore the complexities that come with living in communities of living & breathing, thinking people, complex creatures that will choose to live in a city based on many quality of life issues
Kate is the daughter of Dr. Mike Ervin, the man behind the curtain on the Downtown Dayton Plan, the $4 million paddle boat run and now, bike share (which he first heard about from me).
When it comes to priorities in Dayton, my response to the call for spending over $60 million to demolish abandoned homes- is that I never heard of anyone moving to a city because it has the most vacant lots. If we invest the $60 in things that make people want to move into Dayton- maybe we wouldn’t have the decaying housing problem we have now.
We’ve totally neglected parks and rec in our city- closing pools, letting tennis and basketball courts go to hell, and cut our safety forces to the bare minimum- meaning the vacant homes are quickly stripped of copper and anything else- furthering the decline in value.
Another Kate quote from the same thread:
I understand that the City has had budget crises for decades and has chosen to do things like cut out funding for a Parks Department. So I appreciate the push to have citizens step up to bring life to vacant spaces, especially in this case a very visible eyesore filled with trash & signs that the space was frequented by drug addicts and prostitutes. And then when they do, it would be nice to have these people be given more respect and not get the feeling that you’re seen as squatters or a nuisance.
Yet. if the city has a budget crisis- how did they find $450,000 to buy the old Supply One building that’s in question? Or the building at 601 E. Third St- for the same amount- that’s almost a million dollars on two buildings for which there was no declared public use. Toss in the $4 million plus they gambled on developing a parcel at Wayne and Wyoming for a Kroger- for which they had no contract with Kroger?
That’s nearly $5 million that wasn’t invested in parks and rec, or police, or fire, or things that government is chartered to do. It’s time we eliminate the entire “economic development” department, and invest in the “citizen satisfaction” department.