You didn’t think I’d write about repairing this city without offering any solutions, did you? Below are a few ideas of mine for helping this ‘burg reach its dazzling potential.
The city of Dayton should…
1. Embrace and weaponize the Funk: Let’s be honest, historians care about the Wright Brothers, typical people care about the Ohio Players. From a historical perspective, the Wright Brothers pioneering modern flight was…significant. Ok, massive. In too many ways to list. That’s obvious.
But, when was the last time you danced in a bar to a Wright Brothers song? Or at a party? Or a holiday BBQ? Or your college frat party? You didn’t. You danced to Lakeside. Slave. Zapp. Dayton, Ohio’s Funk music from the 1970’s through the 1980’s is this city’s biggest and most important export. If you still don’t believe me, go check out some of the biggest Rap music hits of the last 40 years. So many have sampled Dayton Funk songs. Not to mention a few rock groups. Dayton does celebrate its Funk scene, but it needs to do more than that. Funk should be Dayton’s ace in the hole marketing plan. It’s main identity to the world. When a person enters Dayton city limits, there should literally be a sign that says “Welcome to Dayton, Ohio. Home of The Funk!” with a picture of the Ohio Players on it.
Baby boomer dads may revere the Wright Brothers, but everyone else digs the Funk. Dayton city officials need to realize and then capitalize on this fact.
2. Start bringing people together: The Coronavirus has made it difficult to move forward with annual events. But, when (if?) things get back to normal, city leaders should look to influence or create gatherings that are more inclusive. Over a decade ago, a local bank (I forget which one) threw an Ohio State Football viewing party at Riverscape. They showed a Buckeyes game on a gigantic television on a Saturday afternoon, and invited the general public. It was a fantastic time. I was surrounded by fellow Buckeye fans who were from different parts of the Miami Valley…people from regions that don’t usually intentionally mix. Our common thread that day was our love for our team, and it bonded us strongly for three plus hours.
And, I’ve seen nothing like it since. I think it’s high time the city innovates and creates events with a wider vision and scope, and attempts to bring people together. Let’s bust up those decades old redlined intra-city divisions, and try to…at least drink a few beers together.
3. Entice and invest in tech and pharmaceutical companies: The manufacturing sector isn’t what it once was. And now, with many jobs in that field becoming automated, manufacturing companies don’t even want to hire humans these days. Which is why Dayton should no longer court traditional manufacturing companies to move and build in the city. City leaders should instead look to influence and fund pharmaceutical manufacturers and tech companies. Granted, there are already a few of those corporations that are already located in the Miami Valley, but, there should be a push to reach out to more of those companies. Bigger companies. Drug making and digital tech are the hot fields for now and the foreseeable future. Dayton should start gearing up for this change, and embrace it. We need more Pfizers and less Fuyaos.
What say you, fellow Miami Valley peeps?