Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Rust Belt Dayton

This blog might take a different direction after the Rust Belt Bloggers Summit in Erie this weekend. If I don't visit Dayton today, I might not get around to it later. In terms of struggles, downtown Dayton is described as similar to central Toledo. There is some good news in the redevelopment of the city's core:

City planners said they have tried to avoid the sort of scattered revitalization efforts that are hindering downtown redevelopment in many cities. The key to success, Mr. Gower said, is to concentrate on downtown’s Main Street to ensure that it has a nucleus around which other redevelopment can spread.

Recent successes have included a decision by Dayton’s CareSource Management Group, a fast-growing firm specializing in managed medical care, to build a $55 million headquarters at Main and Monument Avenue.

The glass-and-aluminum structure, to be completed by the end of the year, will eventually house 1,200 CareSource employees, a company spokesman said.

The project was a rare home run for the downtown office market.

Obviously, downtown Dayton needs many more "home runs." I'd like to know if Dayton has enough economic activity in the region to support revitalization. Dayton may have more people than Toledo in their respective metropolitan areas, but Toledo has more people within city limits. Regardless, both downtowns continue to rapidly decline.

My main concern is the downward spiral of employment in the central business district. Are downtown residents going to reverse commute to their jobs in the suburbs? Employers might follow the workers if Dayton can figure out how to entice people to live in the city. I'm not familiar with other cities putting residential ahead of employment opportunities.

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