What would $600 million do in Dayton now?

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.

via Dayton sees most downtown projects in nearly 50 years.

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.


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8 Comments on "What would $600 million do in Dayton now?"

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Or spent it subsidizing a real grocery store downtown. Few things attract residents to a downtown area like a grocery store. Attract residents, attract business to service them and all sort of other good things start to happen.

Jeff of Dayton
Jeff of Dayton

I’d tear down those vacant skyscapers.   Buidlings to be demo’d :  111, Centre City, Fidelity, the old Keybank Bldg, the Arcade, and a few lower buildings (like most of the stuff along 3rd & Jefferson).   Plant trees and lawns in the spaces left, like the old Patterson School site (but better landscaping).  Or you could plant corn and soybean and sell the stuff to the Cargill plant on Wagner Ford.

Transform  downtown Dayton into a cleaner, greener more open place, sort of like Fort Wayne did with their downtown.


Jeff of Dayton:

…tear down…the old Keybank Bldg…

Oh, not that one!  It’s got a new owner, he’s probably going to be good for some entertainment value at least.  All hail Swami Doctor Commander! I, for one, welcome our new Cult of Personality Overlords…

Jeff of Dayton
Jeff of Dayton

Kahili !!!!

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

Jeff you have it right….they are more valuable as Chinese Scrap as the Great Ones of Dayton Sprawled all over themselves, but hey they got their money!

Jeff Dziwulski
Jeff Dziwulski

The DDN article was misleading.  They make the numbers look better than they really are by redefining the geogrpahy.

If one considers the central business district, or CBD (what is traditionally considered “downtown”) there was minimal private investment.   The exceptions to this were:

1. Caresource

2. Performance Place (the privately funded part of the Shuster Center)

3. The various loft conversions and, more recently, the Lighthouse. 

Performance Place and the loft conversions were really carry-overs of activity going on in the 1990s, so the only really new private-sector investments  (from the 2000s) in the CBD were Caresource and the Lighthouse.

On the bright side I think there was an article somewhere that reported the downtown office vacancy rate is stabilizing (around 25% to 30%?)  so maybe the bottom has been reached.

Civil Servants Are People, Too
Civil Servants Are People, Too
Okay, let’s check out this laundry list of ideas…. 1) parking garages, check – new facilities on Main Street (CareSource and Riebold) and Ludlow (Schuster), and going back a little further, on Patterson (Dragons).   2) Rec Center, check – two renovated and one more under construction.   Could they have been one mega center?  Perhaps, but the neighborhoods probably don’t want that.   No support for that idea.   3) Day care, check – The State/County subsidizes day care for low-income workers already, and so do the Feds with a tax credit.   Beyond that, you’re talking about operating costs or a new line of business for the city –  in other words either by providing the service and competing with the private sector OR by giving grants directly to businesses, which you oppose.    So how would this actually work?   4) Transit, check –  While it’s not free, its pretty cheap and probably costs less than a monthly pass in a parking garage, especially compared to other cities.    RTA is regionally funded by local taxes and the Feds.   So again you’re talking about the City subsiding their operating costs (essentially a gift to the poor) or raising the sales tax to pay for it.    Why not make it part of a SID instead of putting it on City Hall?   5)  Bike share, check – The new hub has bikes for rent.    Again, involving your City Hall means either subsidizing that service or creating a new competing service.    Why not ask the private sector to step up on this one?    Where are the bike advocates who want to volunteer for it?   6)   Foreclosure, check – There are tons of resources going into this.   If you can’t afford to buy a tax foreclosure for a couple hundred bucks, you probably can’t afford a rehab project if you get the house for free.  DMHA offers subsidized housing already.    Personally, I would not want to encourage squatters in my neighborhood.     The public outcry would be enormous.   7)  Residency, toss-up.      Ultimately a losing battle, but there were strong reasons to put up… Read more »