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A review of Downtown Plan Public Forum @ c{space

From the Feb 14th blog of  It’s Great ‘n Dayton:

Last night 80-100 (I lost count) people gathered at c{space to provide their input into the Downtown Dayton Plan.  This post is a follow up to the one I posted on Tuesday February 10th. Here’s a snapshot of what the folks at c{space had to say (I wasn’t going to list ideas that are duplicates of the prior post but I think it’s important to see when something is mentioned more than once):

  • There needs to be more support for individual artists, especially young emerging ones. This includes space to do their work and show their work.
  • More public art (which could take a variety of forms)
  • A grocery store
  • Connectable spaces that make walking feel safe while at the same time creating a sense that lots of things are happening
  • Reuse of the Arcade
  • Reuse of empty office space – perhaps creating suites that visitors/travelers could use when in town for business
  • More amenities, people, business
  • Change of PERCEPTION that downtown is unsafe – challenge to the media to be partners in this because media is part of the problem
  • As downtown boundaries expand to encompass a wider ring around the city, make sure to consider that many surrounding neighborhoods have their own visions and plans
  • A dog park (which could lead to cafes, pet food store, pet grooming, etc.)
  • More color (mentioned several times) – including flags on building, more aesthetic street lighting, more neon highlights, more green space, more plants, more things that can be painted (highway underpasses, etc.), tree-lined streets with lights strung in the trees
  • Opportunities for legitimate graffiti (and quick cleanup of illegitimate)
  • Boards and locations for wheatpasting posters and promotional materials
  • Cheap space for young entrepreneurs to do their work, share ideas/resources, this includes artists
  • A sports-plex at the old site of the Parkside Homes
  • Cultural Change Campaign
  • Connecting beyond the boundaries (75, 35, rivers, etc) – so that those boundaries “go through” but don’t “divide”
  • Opportunities for families with children (housing and activities) – some people believe this won’t happen until the public schools change/improve but the point was made that with or without a change to the Dayton public schools parents need to be involved in their kids lives and living downtown is an option
  • Various housing interests  – affordability options (perhaps consider what someone in their 20s could pay and have various options even within the same building so that a person could move from unit to unit as their income changes), needs to include parking, some open space (perhaps patios or small gardens), under 200k, something that competes with a house in Belmont or Kettering (for example), programs to help homeowners, downpayment assistance
  • Downtown daycare facility or “family center”
  • Reach out to all demographics and remember that as excited as we all are for a successful downtown there are other residents who struggle in their own neighborhoods. Thus city leaders need have a vision for the entire city.
  • For people without garages – have a place – even a shared/common one that people can use to work on their own cars
  • Whatever initiatives move forward make sure to consider “green” alternatives
  • A plug was made for the Merc. They’re ready to move forward but still need a commercial tenant as the anchor.
  • Capitalize on views of the city (getting back to color and lighting that can be viewed from high points around the city.
  • Have more family-oriented restaurants downtown.
  • Could the Habitat for Humanity model of sweat equity be a way for people get affordable housing?
  • Hockey arena
  • Monument to women pioneers
  • Competition to create fountains that could be placed around the city, capitilizing on the fact that we sit on an aquifer.
  • New ways to get from East to West because there really is no direct way (particularly getting from Salem or Main street over to the east side)
  • Encouragement for not losing momentum
  • Investment – in business, amenities, infrastructure, retail, entertainment
  • Being cognizant and inclusive of diversity
  • Housing options that keep in mind the lifestyle of baby-boomers, how they’re down-sizing and what aspects of their lives they’re likely to stay involved in (socializing, gardening, etc.) and make sure multi-floor units have elevators
  • Carriage rides
  • Murals
  • Bike lockers
  • Better care of public art and amenities that already exist so we don’t look sloppy and careless. The example that was used was the poor condition of the “Flyover” on Main Street which has tiles falling off of it, dead plants, and chunks torn from the curb from being hit by cars/plows, etc.

Just like the previous meeting the crowd was positive and full of energy. A final thought to leave you with is what one person said in the course of the meeting: We all need to personally invite people downtown. Whether it’s friends or family or people from church, if they’ve never been downtown we should bring them to a show, take them to a festival, ride with them on the bike trails, etc. Another point that was made was that many of the things being discussed are already happening other cities. People we’re trying attract to Dayton will not think these things are foreign. It’s actually local people we need to convert to think outside the box and to think BIG.

A lot of good things can come from these ideas and this plan. I wish the committee well as it prioritizes, determines what’s realistic, and figures out how to pay for it all.

There’s one more input session on Tuesday February 17th at Sinclair. For more info about it or to complete a survey online visit Downtown Dayton. You can also participate in discussions at Dayton Most Metro.