Imagine if you could wave a wand and travel back to the year 2000- and have $600 million of public money to invest- in the things public money was supposed to be used for? Or, even give it back to the taxpayers?
A Dayton Daily News investigation found more than $1.5 billion in public and private money since 2000 has been spent on development in and on the fringes of downtown.
Roughly 60 percent of that investment has come from the private sector.
Suppose we had spent it on several large parking garages downtown- with subsidized parking for downtown office workers- no more than $40 a month per car, a huge recreation center on the Parkside homes location- open to all city residents and workers – including an Olympic pool, ice rinks, a velo-drome and indoor soccer and football fields.
How about if we offered subsidized, high quality day-care for Dayton workers- round the clock- so we could be filling up the inexpensive office spaces downtown with call centers?
What if we’d spent it on making public transit free- to make Dayton a low-cost, livable, walkable community? Added a bike share system? Opened up foreclosed properties headed for demolition to urban pioneers with squatters’ rights? Even providing a small scale micro-loan program for repairs?
Suppose we had gotten out of the corporate welfare business- and hadn’t spent millions moving Reynolds and Reynolds and their spin-offs around, subsidizing CareSource’s new office building, created Tech Town in some of the low-cost office space we already had- and not “invested” in UltraCell?
How about if we’d not wasted time fighting the residency rule, or maintained our rules about forcing all police and fire to go through our own training programs- and used standardized programs that are certified across the state- and allowed lateral hires from other departments?
Well- all of that might have happened had we not kept electing the same people who have brought us the corrupt “Monarchy of Montgomery County” and the Dayton Daily News crapfest that passes for “news” daily.
$600 million could have changed our community dramatically- instead, it was squandered on “me too” projects- that now, look like money pissed away, as our population continues to shrink and our tax base gets even smaller.