Because a developer wants to build something, does that automatically mean you should pay for it with your tax dollars? George Oberer Jr. has a dream- but he wants the taxpayers to pay for a large part of it:
Wilmington Pike could expand to up to 10 lanes and the bridge at Interstate 675 above the busy street could undergo reconstruction if preliminary plans from Cornerstone Development Inc. advance to the construction phase.
The street expansion would accommodate Cornerstone of Centerville, a 225-acre mixed-use development, which is planned for property formerly owned by the Dille family…
Centerville City Manager Greg Horn said city officials believe the developer’s plan for 10 lanes may be ambitious.
“Long term, we agree there will be interchange improvements as Miami Valley Hospital South (and other local businesses) continue to grow out,” Horn said. “We think there are errors in their (projected traffic) numbers, and we as a staff will continue to work with them.”
George Oberer Jr. of Cornerstone Development said the village center would be a cluster of restaurants, entertainment establishments and boutiques within the complex.
“(The village center) certainly is nothing to compete with The Greene, just a little village of shops,” Oberer said.
Cornerstone Development is in the process of conducting a traffic impact study; the city is conducting an independent review of that study.
The city and developer are hammering out details in preparation for a public presentation Aug. 15 at the Centerville City Council meeting.
Some of the proposed elements include:
- Expanding Wilmington up to 10 lanes between Whipp Road and I-675.
- Reconstructing the bridge at Wilmington and I-675 to accommodate those lanes.
- Widening Feedwire Road.
- Preserving the north parcel’s perimeter of trees, which City Planner Steve Feverston called an “iconic portion of the site,” and/or various stands of trees throughout the project.
- Adding two new traffic signals; one on Wilmington and one on Feedwire.
- Constructing medians on Wilmington and Feedwire, both as a safety measure and to align them aesthetically with the city’s boulevard look.
- Expanding Clyo Road to five lanes where it borders the south parcel.
Without having to prove to the public that this complex is needed (we have 30+% retail space vacancy rate in the Dayton Metropolitan area)- the developer is forcing roadway improvements that you and I have to pay for – and continue to pay for for years. Whom does this benefit?
Let’s create an example: If my neighbor wants to upgrade his home- I’m happy. If my neighbor only will upgrade his home if I agree to upgrade mine, and all my neighbors to upgrade theirs, I don’t think it will fly. Why do developers get to have this kind of sway with politicians- because politicians aren’t spending their money- they are spending ours (and we see how that works out). Also, since politicians depend on donations for their re-election campaigns- they get mighty friendly. Local records aren’t recorded in a unified data base like national donations, but if you want to see what kind of money the Oberer family “invests” in politicians, take a look here at OpenSecrets (the FEC database isn’t connecting right now) http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?name=oberer&state=OH&zip=&employ=&cand=&all=Y&sort=N&capcode=cp5rc&submit=Submit
So if you are wondering why Oberer is able to ask for the taxpayers to prop us his “development” with millions of your dollars- you quickly realize it’s just payback for his investment in politicians.
It’s time to end this pay-to-play system of “economic development” – we need to fund elections out of taxpayer dollars to stop this kind of influence peddling and payback.
We don’t need wider roads, more roads or more retail space- even if it will create construction jobs for a few years. After this boondoggle is built- we’ll see more vacancies at the Mall at Fairfield Commons and the Dayton Mall, then we will see those businesses ask for tax breaks- and the cycle continues.
Economic development isn’t created by construction- investment follows quality of life. Good schools, safe neighborhoods, and a level playing field do wonders to lure people to invest. Adding taxes to support political supporters is a losing strategy. We should know, we’ve been doing it for years in Dayton.