From “Greg’s Ramblings” column dated 08/20/14: A quick roundup of local news.
Dayton holds some truly amazing architectural treasures, something I’m constantly reminded every time I see posts on Facebook on Dayton History and local architecture. And it saddens me that I never got a chance to see some of the coolest Tipp City architecture before it was lost, like the old Castle at Broadway Elementary.
I’m also a big fan of places like the Dayton Arcade, and love to look through photos of old location like that, especially when they were bustling centerpieces of a thriving downtown. It saddens me, as it must many others, to see an architectural gem like the Arcade sitting unused.
The pessimist in me assumes that, with each passing day, the location falls deeper and deeper into a state of disrepair. And the longer it sits empty, the more expensive it will be to repair it back to a state of usefulness. And, sadly, the more expensive the repairs become, the more likely it becomes that the most “cost-effective” response is to tear it down.
In 2009, the Arcade was purchased at a sheriff’s tax lien sale by two men from out-of-state. Gunter Berg and Wendell Strutz planned to restore and renovate the property. But now it looks like they’ve fallen behind on property taxes. According to a story in the Dayton Daily News, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is forming a task force to evaluate the Arcade complex and make recommendations for redevelopment by the end of the year.
I’ve got my fingers crossed — I would love to see any location such as the Arcade re-purposed and reopened for public use. It’s a far better option than tearing it down. Can’t anyone figure out a good use for it?
But one question I have—if no one can pay the property taxes, shouldn’t the city of Dayton waive them? Asking someone who can’t pay to keep paying, and keep piling up the tax lien, seems silly in this case; clearly it’s a local landmark and unused highlight of downtown Dayton. Why not make it easier for the new owners to renovate, rather than piling on more taxes and add to the burden?
And this new task force. Think it will cost more than $200,000, the amount of back taxes the new owners owe the city? I wonder.