Visions for Dayton for the new year

This isn’t a comprehensive list- just some ideas- you are welcome to add to them.

The debate over one way street conversion in Downtown stops- when someone realizes there is no longer any good reason to still be downtown. All of a sudden- the landlords decide to stop paying taxes on their property to “the Downtown Dayton Partnership” and start working to create a vibrant environment- through whatever means necessary. Zoning and building codes get revised making it easy to use existing spaces for what they were originally built for- without having to meet modern code. All of a sudden- huge interest in re-habbing old residential spaces- and retail space sparks a quick renaissance (partially driven by bargain basement rents). All parking lot owners band together for a standardized signage and price structure -dedicating a percentage of every lot for in-and-out traffic for $1 for 3 hours or less. Also- a one park pass comes out- where you can buy parking in any lot for a discounted rate- and special event parking gouging stops.

First steps to uni-gov. After a quick combination of 911 dispatch services- a second attempt at a consolidated SWAT team takes place- only this time- the cowboys aren’t allowed to run the show- it’s headed by the local office of the FBI and a new level of professionalism is shown. Also, all courts begin hiring private security instead of requiring police officers, allowing more cops to be on the streets. A unified traffic division that patrols the entire county works on reducing speeding the way Kettering and Oakwood have- to the whole region.

MVRPC gets disbanded as an unwieldy bureaucracy, as well as every municipalities Economic Development office- and the County actually takes some responsibility for something and starts looking at a unified land use and zoning plan. Citywide and Countywide are merged- and given a private charter- and cut loose from any direct tax dollar funding. A new focus on Community lending is pushed on the local banks by having all local governments insist on linked deposit deals.

As a sign of true regional thinking- and to reduce pressure on small business- Montgomery County also takes over all income tax billing with a simple web interface tied to each business tax ID. A group of local legislators lobbies the State to adopt a similar system.

Sinclair Community College faces its first problem renewing a tax levy- until it changes direction on Warren County. When President Stephen Johnson apologizes to the community for over-reaching, and starts concentrating on how to provide a 2 year degree to every student who graduates HS in Montgomery County for free- as part of the Dayton Promise, he gets an even bigger tax levy approved.

Dayton says thank you very much- but no thanks to Mandalay plans for Ballpark Village on parkland with tax dollar support. Offers sites on the near West Side for Development- including the area just West and North of UD arena. Plans for a new ice rink downtown as part of SportsPlex are announced – with plans for an extreme sports complex, a revamping of Island Park as a Fraze like venue- and the completion of the Kroc center.

The light rail plan gathers steam, and the first track is put in place to begin the return of circulator routes for public transport downtown.

The Dayton Daily News and local TV stop being the source of news in the community- when a local web site starts doing a better job- and advertisers flock to it. It only accepts advertising from locally owned businesses- and a new “keep Dayton special” campaign jump starts a movement of people who refuse to eat and shop at generic businesses from out of state. The Oregon District reaches 100% business occupancy- and some new buildings are built to fill in the gaps- because of the change in zoning laws.

A new interest in local politics emerges thanks to all the progressive ideas taking place- and limits are placed on all local campaigns. You can’t spend more on your campaign than the job pays in a year. All of a sudden- real debates start taking place- and the smartest people for the jobs actually win.

Dayton Public Schools changes their message from one of weakness – to one of accomplishment. With the Dayton Promise in place- students start to take pride in being part of a progressive district. Test scores increase- and discipline problems decrease. Instead of having 6 high school teams in each sport- we only compete with one- and beat every other school in the state in everything. From track to hoop to football. Other cities cry foul- and the State immediately looks to turning the whole state into a state of Champions with an organized athletic training program for every sport. The Buckeyes of course win the national championship this year- but the foundation is built for us to win every year into eternity.
This was written fast and furious- blast away- or add your own ideas.

We need some resolutions for the area- to stop doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. It’s time.

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John Ise

Great ideas. Couple of questions:
1) How much felexibility do cities have in getting around modern zoning/code regs to encourage redevelopment? Certainly some of the zoning/code regs are in place for a pressing public purpose (fire, ADA, etc.) so how to make the balance is the key. In Florida, you can co-exist with updgrades to a older building so long as the upgrades don’t exceed 25% of the structure. After that, you need to bring it all up to code. I think New Jersey has dome some interesting things in this regard.
2) Light rail in Dayton seems like an intersting idea, but how many people use the “trollys” that circulate downown now? Seems $$$.
3) Re. the development of a local web site that becomes the news source for the community would be really cool and great. Has this been accomplished anywhere else?
4) Mandalay seems to be a good partner for downtown and seem willing to invest big bucks. Could be a catalyst for bigger things to come (think Camden Yards and Baltimore).

Great intersting takes on current going ons in D-town.



A number of interesting and good ideas, as usual. I must take exception, though, to the idea of a combined high school sports team for the City of Dayton Schools. Although winning is a positive publicity generator, the primary idea of high school sports should be participation.

A couple of quotes come to mind that are relevant:

Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

The Olympic Creed:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.”

What a shame it would be to deny teenagers a chance to challenge themselves and learn about the rewards of sacrifice, hard work, accomplishment, and the concept of a greater good– as in teamwork. I happen to know a few men and women who still get a kick out of playing ice hockey in their 40s and 50s. I can personally attest to the fact that it’s not because they (I) are Champions.

Thanks for the thoughts, though. Please keep ’em coming… and I’ll see you on the ice.

John Ise
John Ise

The NJ Model: “Smart Codes” A Break for Yesterday’s Buildings Posted 01 August 2000 Neal R. Peirce “Smart codes” for restoring and redeveloping old buildings, being pioneered in New Jersey and Maryland, could turn into a stunning breakthrough for downtowns and neighborhoods nationwide. The dilemma for owners of vintage buildings is that today’s building codes, aimed at assuring safety against fire and other calamities, were almost always written for new, not older structures. A typical result: the would-be redeveloper of an historic hotel may be told he has to widen hallways from 36 to 48 inches–at so much additional cost his entire project fails to “pencil out.” That’s just a sample of the regulatory booby traps in the arcane world of building codes. Codes run to the size and placement of windows, doors, mandatory air shaft venting, stairway widths, and much more. Each was adopted with some reasonable rationale. But each has the potential of tripping up an owner who’s trying to bring life back into older downtowns and neighborhoods–to restore some of the seasoned places we treasure in America’s communities. Building inspectors in Jersey, as elsewhere, have generally had the right to waive stiff building code requirements. But investors never knew if they would. Often, given the regulatory mindset, inspectors found it easier (and safer for their careers) to say “no” rather than “yes”–even when exceptions would have had little if any impact on safety. Trying to correct all that, the Jersey code, adopted in 1997, gives inspectors specific instructions, situation by situation; indeed it sets up staged levels of code stringency, depending on how thorough a rehabilitation is attempted. “Now we have practical rules. People know how much things will cost. We’ve transformed a regulatory crap shoot into an informed business decision,” Jane Kenney, commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs, told the Washington Post. “A 25 percent savings on a building is not atypical.” Talk about significance! In a “smart growth” era, what a brilliant way to stimulate revitalization of older towns and cities and help reduce the pressure of subdivisions marching across suburban green fields.… Read more »

David Esrati
David Esrati

Thanks for bringing this to the conversation-
the original post is here:
it’s from 2000- which means, by now, New Jersey and Maryland are well ahead of Ohio on the curve.
Should be proof that this works- and should make it easy to implement here.
Thanks again.