The State of Ohio predicts that Montgomery County will lose 36,000 residents by 2030. No plan is in place to negate this trend. If we stand to lose 36,000 more residents then we need to attract people to spend money here from other places. Something we have failed to do in Montgomery County for decades is promote tourism. We became a community of well paid working class people who went other places for vacations and didn’t invite people to see what the Dayton region had to offer. Had we promoted tourism effectively there would still be department stores and a vibrant community in Downtown Dayton. The Greene and Austin Road would not have been developed and we would not have 750 unfilled, high tech jobs and some 6000 unfilled manufacturing jobs in the region. Why? Because people visiting here would be relocating here to fill those jobs.
The solution that our elected officials and school boards came up with is “Learn to Earn” and being a “City of Learners.” This is all fine and dandy BUT it is a 15 year solution to a TODAY problem. Filling these jobs now increases the tax base that provides funds to attract more people. Filling these jobs now will put more middle class children in our schools which in turn make the schools more successful.
People want local governments to collaborate and consolidate costs. When they do, no one can agree on paying their fair share and local governments split away to protect their own mini fiefdoms. Just look at the regional dispatch center as a prime example. It is time to collaborate on things less obvious that attract visitors from all parts of the world so that they see for themselves the opportunities that exist here already. If we give enough people a reason to come here, many will chose to return and some will stay. As the Mayor of Dayton I promoted what Dayton had to offer. That obviously worked because Dayton was on more top ten lists in 2014 then ever before. It seems the scale has slid in the opposite direction lately. It is time to promote Dayton for it’s benefits and work with other local jurisdictions. Then we can be united as a region on those top ten lists.