We have money for room service, but not public service

The City of Dayton leadership seems to be massively confused.

While on the one hand, we say we can’t pay police officers to protect and serve the public, we’re finding $7-10 million to refurb a hotel that doesn’t belong to us. A hotel that we could have bought outright for $6.1 million last year. Pure and simple, this is corporate welfare, not public welfare.

How long will it take the City Commission to realize: we’re not in the hotel business:

City officials are considering spending $7 million to $10 million to help the owner of the downtown Crowne Plaza renovate the aging hotel.

The hotel’s owner, Washington, D.C.-based CWCapital, approached the city about two months ago, said Shelley Dickstein, assistant city manager for strategic development.

“It is not a done deal and it will be a few weeks before we present anything to (the city) commissioners,” Dickstein said Wednesday, July 15, after a Dayton City Commission meeting.

City officials have visited a recently remodeled Crowne Plaza Hotel in Austin, Texas, and met with convention center officials there to learn the benefits and risks of the venture, she said.

Dickstein said money to help renovate the hotel would come from the city’s development fund. The total cost of the hotel’s renovations is unclear. The Montgomery County auditor values the land and building at about $4.1 million.

The property was sold in 2008 for $6.1 million to CWCapital, whose officials could not be reached for comment.

via Crowne Plaza may get aid from Dayton for renovation.

Not only that, somehow, we had money to fly officials to Austin Texas on a junket?

There is a real question as to if we should even be in the convention center business. Would the Convention Center be in better hands if it belonged to the County- or maybe the Chamber of Commerce? Sure, conventions bring business to Dayton, but that is transient business. The real business of City Hall is taking care of the people of Dayton, and from where I sleep every night, I’d sleep better with 11 more cops than nicer rooms at the Crowne Plaza.

What about you?

[UPDATE 5PM] The City of Dayton finally put out a press release correction- as a PDF on their site-

http://www.cityofdayton.org/cmo/Documents/City%20Manager%20Crowne%20Plaza%20Correction.pdf

The reality is they are still contributing tax dollars- only they are Federal tax dollars, to a private corporation. If this is the only way anything gets done, we’ll always be broke. It’s time to end all tax dollars to private companies in the name of “economic development.”

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26 Responses

  1. Sue July 16, 2009 / 8:37 am
    My thoughts, exactly, upon reading this morning’s DDN.

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  2. Drexel Dave Sparks July 16, 2009 / 8:44 am
    Think of how many small businesses could be started with that money?

    Personally, I would DIE for an extra 10k for startup costs like advertising and marketing (my biggest challenge right now).   My work sells well when exposed, but I need a broader reach. And a couple of nice ads in some of the chic art mags, online advertising and some travel money to visit retailers in the region, and I could double/triple my business in no time, employing people in Dayton making things.

    But I don’t have any big $, so nobody is knocking on my door. And I’m not alone by any means.

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  3. Mitch July 16, 2009 / 9:36 am
    My biggest problem with all of this, is WHY are worrying about spending any dollars, developmental or not, on a property that is valued so low! As was noted in the article, the city is looking to spend 7-10 million on a property that sold for less than that. Where is the common sense? Has the city’s management completely lost it’s collective mind?

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  4. Gene July 16, 2009 / 9:42 am
    Lead by the Obama administration…………

    Look at all those GDMF jobs your president had created……….. oh, that right, NONE. A liar just like the rest of them. Elect a Rock Star and you wonder why the city of Dayton thinks they can do this……
    Two Birds In One Hand Makes It Hard To Listen To The Band.
    and Two Officials Elected They May Be Have Fucked Up This World And Town Golly G

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  5. David Lauri July 16, 2009 / 9:54 am
    LOL, yes, the Obama administration certainly leads in corporate welfare.  God knows, W and the Republicans never engaged in corporate welfare such as no bid contracts given to former business colleagues.

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  6. Gene July 16, 2009 / 10:05 am
    They are all crooks and liars………..

    Obama promised more, better, all that HOPE shit………..

    It should have read NOPE. What a joke for a president.

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  7. Bruce Kettelle July 16, 2009 / 10:27 am
    Mitch said “on a property that is valued so low!”

    Typically property improvements will raise the county valuation in the following year by a similar amount.  This is especially true on commercial property.  It can happen on residential property when an addition is made that increases the square footage and’or other value measurements such as number of baths and bedrooms.

    I hope that there is a clear ROI explanation for any contribution any city makes on any private developer assistance.

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  8. Drexel Dave Sparks July 16, 2009 / 10:31 am
    ROI!

    That’s HE-LARRY-OUS!

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  9. Mitch July 16, 2009 / 10:36 am
    Bruce,

    I understand the idea of ROI. However, you are not going to see an increase of 7-10 million in valuation on a property that is already below that figure!

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  10. Michael July 16, 2009 / 10:54 am
    I worked at a Dayton florist for two weeks after graduating college, and was absolutely stunned by the number of flower orders that came in using the city’s account in such a short amount of time. They were going out to local businesses, birthdays of employees…you name it. Government is pure waste, so this shouldn’t surprise anyone.

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  11. J.R.Erwin.CEO July 16, 2009 / 12:04 pm
    All of the ~dealings by the city and county are like the Barnum & Bailey…they just get bigger and better. 
    Just 5 weeks ago…I presented the  plan Largest Amateur Youth & Adult Sports Arenas Facility to shelly and…never got a call or word back….   She even has a kid in hockey….
    I don`t know how these appointed and elected people go home and look in their kids eyes…basically, telling them….the kids don`t deserve any world-class facilities for the future……in this area…..

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  12. David Lauri July 16, 2009 / 12:05 pm
    Sounds like flower orders could be a component of the argument for unigov — reduce the duplication in politicians and employees and thus reduce the amount spent on flowers for them.

    Although then David E would have florists throughout the county campaigning against unigov.

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  13. Not The Mayor July 16, 2009 / 1:12 pm
    Gene, if you didn’t know, Obama has only been in office since January, but Dayton’s troubles go back decades. Stop your Repub demagogics and offer a solution. Bitching about the current admin. is a POINTLESS. If anything, you should be looking at your LOCAL politicians, the ones that have been in power for the last decade, and see where their interests lie. Riverscape? Suck. High-dollar penthouses across from the library, you know, where you can buy crack? Suck.
    I would like to see the people of Dayton take back control of their city from the fat cats that keep getting fatter, while our city circles the toilet bowl. Get out there and vote, listen to city planning meetings, get involved. Call your reps or write them a letter. It’s called democracy, and sitting at your computer and bitching is not it.

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  14. David Esrati July 16, 2009 / 1:41 pm

    Note:
    The DDN and the City office of PR have both called to say: oops.
    It’s only $500K they want to put into the project- and it’s all CDBG Federal money- as if that makes it all OK.
    It’s still Corporate Welfare.

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  15. Bruce Kettelle July 16, 2009 / 1:52 pm
    “I understand the idea of ROI. However, you are not going to see an increase of 7-10 million in valuation on a property that is already below that figure!”

    Mitch, on what do you base this statement.  This is not my experienc with redevelopment projects.  Demolition costs are about the only thing that are not captured in commercial projects.  If the owners put 7-10 million into a 4 million property what realistically could the property be sold for?  That should be the new valuation.

    According to the story the city of Dayton might kick in 500,000 of the total 10-million rehab cost.  Lets wait for the details to emerge before we start bashing a project like this.

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  16. Gene July 16, 2009 / 5:06 pm
    I am not blaming Obama for Dayton’s problems. Heck, the fault lies with the local Democrats on that one. Rhine McLin. That is who we have as mayor. We may as well have Fred Flintstone or Edgar Allen Poe.

    White guilt got Obama voted in, he lied about a lot of things, giving false hope to people. He is a typical politician.

    The link between the two is that we are screwed bc we (people of Dayton, people of the USA) think it is important to put people in power who promise this and that but never, ever deliver. Obama won’t deliver. He can’t. Locally, no one ever delivers. And the Republicans are to blame as well. I never voted for GWB or GHWB. I did not vote for Mr. Blowjob Himself Clinton or Mr. Rock Star Obama. They are all losers in my book.

    Voting is stupid anymore. TWO CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT, GOVERNOR, MAYOR…????…… Two. I get more choices at Taco Bell. Heck, you generally can chose from 3 grades of gas to put in your car. Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, CFree Coke, CFree Diet Coke, then go to Pepsi and RC…….. I have choices on a COLA, but not on politicians. Yes folks, we are ducked.

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  17. Jeff July 16, 2009 / 6:35 pm
    My work sells well when exposed, but I need a broader reach. And a couple of nice ads in some of the chic art mags

    You should advertise in Juxtapoz.  Actually I’m suprised they didn’t write you up yet.  Or maybe they did.

    @@@

    As for the Crowne Plaza, AKA Stouffers, the financing deal that built it (back in the early 1970s) was by the guy who tried to put together the first Arcade redevelopment deal.  He was the head of the Montgomery County GOP at the time.  Not sure if any public money went into the construction, though the site clearance was via urban renewal (more Fed $$$). 

    I’ve stayed there a few times on stay-cations while attending some of the downtown festivals.  The place is architecturally odd.  The architecture is almost not American, or not what you’d see in a US hotel, which tend to be more frou-frou.   The hard modern detailing and use of brick and concrete looks like the  “new brutalism” that was popular in the UK during the 1960s. Some have called the new brutalism the “house style of the British Welfare State”, and the Crown Plaza does look like it could fit into a UK urban regeneration project for some provinicial industrial city somewhere in Lancashire or the Midlands. 

    They tried to doll up the interior, but it’s still pretty basic.

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  18. David Esrati July 16, 2009 / 7:05 pm

    @Jeff- interesting take on the architecture. My cousin, the architect, from the UK, will be here next week- I’ll see what he says.
    I’ve never been blown away by it- but. there are few hotels that impress me these days. Last one was an Aloft- by W, very trendy- simple, clean- well thought out.

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  19. Jeff July 16, 2009 / 8:51 pm
    I should clarify that my comments were more about the exterior.   As for your issue, I agree, it seems better things could be done with CDBG money.

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  20. Not The Mayor July 16, 2009 / 10:18 pm
    Gene, if you don’t vote then you are out of this argument. Good bye.
    You can’t sit around and bitch about a democracy in which you do not participate, it makes you look…juvenile. We are a society that talks about our ills but do nothing them. And then troll other people’s blogs.
    The internet is creating a world community. When information is passed back and forth so quickly, it starts to make people accountable for their actions. If the local politicos are blowing money, talk about it, spread articles, don’t let the story die. Only the citizens can make our politicians work for us. Complacency is not an option.

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  21. Gene July 16, 2009 / 11:51 pm
    I vote all the time …………….. LIBETARIAN you stooooooooooooopid mayor wannabe. You don’t get it…… No real choices, with two bs parties.

    Whatever, voting is a joke, the two party system is a joke, Obama is a liar and a joke.

    Real People need to be in politics, but according to Ernie Nevers that would corrupt real people.

    Go Vote – waste your time and get reeled in by liars like Obama, Bush, Clinton. Maybe Rhine will be replaced…….. by Gary………. we only have one choice.

    Bud. Bud Light. Bud Select……… that is THREE Bud selections……….. candidates…. TWO. TWO!!! I have two hands, two arms, two legs, two ears, two…………. TWO.

    I would like a third and fourth and fifth choice………. TOO (TWO, 2)) much to (TOO,2,  TWO) ask for (FOUR, 4, fore)

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  22. Gene July 17, 2009 / 10:24 am
    OK, just like the DDN, you post something (this post) that is not 100% accurate and then do not REPOST to say you/DDN was wrong. A little entry hidden from the main page is hardly a retraction.

    Be a big boy and do a BIG FRONT PAGE POST on this site to get the story straight. Otherwise you are just like the DDN and many other Newspapers/blogs. Half truths, no follow up, no retraction. You went off the DDN story, they were wrong which makes you wrong. A proper post to clarify this issue would be the right thing to do.

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  23. Siquomb July 17, 2009 / 11:20 am
    The original DDN story was wrong almost from start to finish. 

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  24. Gene July 17, 2009 / 12:12 pm
    Yes it was….. and so it is not cool when you simply cut and paste the story acting as if it were fact, then you find out the truth (500k rather 7-10mil) and you do not post a retraction or follow up.

    $500k still might not be your cup of tea, but it ain’t local money – it federal money, which is to be used for stuff like this, not handing out canned cheese to the poor.

    When you host a blog and continually call out the DDN and then post an article from the DDN and b&m over the article all to find out the DDN was wrong and you do not re-post a clarification then that makes you a hack at best.

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