Writing off the big picture. The MidPark silver bullet

If your business is a restaurant, you can spend all day dreaming about the fine china you want to buy, or the dishes you could prepare, or you could work hard on working with what you have.
If you are the City of Dayton, you come up with dreams for “MidPark” the area just North of South Park and South of Downtown.
Someone has spent a lot of time dreaming up a new way to call “urban renewal” via bulldozer and new construction- something different.
Read the whole plan:

Neighborhood Development Strategic Planning Group (NDSPG) specifically chose to look at the MidPark geography because of its perceived long?term
marketability and the ability to leverage previous successful development in adjacent areas.  The
MidPark District has been a virtual “no mans land”…a mish mash of underutilized land and
buildings with no real focus or continuity for a very long time.  However, because of its location the group felt it had extreme potential.

MidPark is located between Downtown and two of Dayton’s largest institutions ? The University
of Dayton and Miami Valley Hospital who have made huge investments not only on their own
campuses, but have reached out to the areas that surround them as well.

recommendations_housing_appendix1.pdf (application/pdf Object).

With an overabundance of inexpensive real estate, including some amazing homes for a song, we’re talking about concentrating efforts on a pretty new green field and its surrounding area mostly because it’s near two of our biggest income tax generators (since both UD & MVH get property tax exemptions).

Do you remember Courthouse Square, The Arcade, Riverscape? All of these projects were supposed to “jump start” the community. Midpark is yet another dream, much like Ballpark Village.

The reality is Dayton should be getting out of the real estate game. Unload all the property we own to people who want to build something on them or own real estate and pay taxes. What? No one wants to buy our real estate? You don’t say… maybe it’s because we’re so busy dreaming about projects like this, that we’ve failed our basic service commitments like safe neighborhoods, good schools, parks and recreation and well maintained infrastructure.

There is an interesting analysis by Daytonology’s Jeffery over at Dayton Most Metro on this “plan”: http://www.daytonmostmetro.com/forum/index.php?topic=1364.msg12802#msg12802

Wouldn’t it be better if private developers felt they could pull this off on their own? What could the city do to encourage private development?

What I don’t understand is why the apartment buildings lining the East side of Warren are written off? Marvin Gardens had been rumored to be close to being acquired by someone with the ability to properly rehab and manage them. The new Coco’s is going to be at the corner of Warren and Lincoln- without tax incentives.

If a private developer can’t make something work here without a handout, all hope for Dayton is lost. We just saw how the city totally botched the Wayne and Wyoming “Kroger” development over five years and wasting millions of dollars- why should it be involved here?

Would our “development dollars” be better spent on big ticket development like trolleys, or smaller noticeable improvements like better lighting under the overpasses, or configuring the nearby park with usable soccer/football fields, tennis courts that aren’t a joke, a basketball court that doesn’t include the San Andreas fault, and maybe a fountain to play in during the summer?

Need something to compare to? Head over to Lincoln Park in Kettering or Delco Park. Why not take the old Cliburn Manor site and make it into a dog park? Or a skate park, or a BMX track? We still have space for in-fill housing and rehab opportunities in South Park. Build public amenities nearby and the rest of the area may attract more investment. Add a walk-to-work tax credit- and UD and MVH employees may consider moving down into the area.

Government should be spending tax dollars providing services that don’t make sense for private businesses and create value for the greater good- and greater area. These micro development projects that subsidize private investors are hurting all of us.

Focus on getting the basics right- the flourishes will follow.

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8 Responses

  1. Brian October 9, 2009 / 8:39 am
    Much of what you say here is true, but I think you are a bit too cynical. And RiverScape, by the way, has always been and will continue to be a great idea.
  2. Joe October 9, 2009 / 11:16 am
    I heard the Ganet’s were helped out by the City for the big Coco’s move. Something in terms of being given land. There may be no truth to that, just what I heard.
     
    I really hope they do not flatten this neighborhood. Encourage investment like the rest of South Park. Is this area within the limits of the Historic District?
  3. David Esrati October 9, 2009 / 11:37 am

    @Joe-

    The Gagnets picked up a vacant parcel that had been deeded to the Gospel Mission. They may have picked up an empty lot as well at the corner. I’ll have to check.

    None of this is in the Historic District- which has very jagged boundaries along the West side of the district.

  4. Joe October 9, 2009 / 2:13 pm
    Ok. I hope the Coco’s move can bring that area up. Flattening it to make senior living seems like a mistake. Don’t we want to encourage young people to move to our urban neighborhoods? Build some affordable infill houses if anything.
    How are the Historic Distict Lines drawn/approved? Does this area qualify? I don’t know how that works. Looking at Jeffery’s Daytonology posts, as well as some of his Urban Ohio postings, it seems this would be  an area worthy of preservation. Surrounded by South Park, Oregon, UD, etc…
  5. David Esrati October 9, 2009 / 2:30 pm

    @Joe- Gagnets picked up a lot at a reduced rate from the City on this project.

    The lines were drawn when the district was first formed. The process is long and requires something like an 85% property owner approval rate- so there were some houses cut off- and lines are as screwy as voting precinct maps. Although by the standard that the remaining homes in this area are of the same vintage – they are not in the very good condition and have already been reduced in number by fire, demolition and neglect. The density of the homes is probably too low to extend the district at this point. There are no homes with actual “historic” value to be declared on their own.

  6. David Esrati October 9, 2009 / 6:31 pm

    There is a great thread on this area on UrbanOhio thanks to Jeffery of Daytonolgy.

    http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,10386.msg432429/boardseen.html

    I also added some thoughts on demolition to the comments on the “Esrati Plan”

    I’m not categorically against demolition, but it’s a last resort, and should only be done as part of a planned pull-back, or because of dangerous structural issues. Just because a house is vacant isn’t enough.

  7. Jeff October 10, 2009 / 6:54 am
    The Urban Ohio post was more of a rant vs my post at Dayton Most Metro, where I attempted to be polite.  The application of suburban models to a site in the heart of the city is questionable, and this planning pretty much ignores the discussion of putting in a streetcar between the UD area and downtown, which would pass through the study area.   This Midpark concept is shortsighted and banal.

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