(the following is by Jill Davis of Historic South Park)
If I told you I lived in a friendly, comfortable, mid-sized midwestern city situated on the sunny banks of three rivers, with a full complement of arts organizations—orchestra and opera, art institute, ballet and contemporary dance, Broadway tours and local theater. And if I added to that nineteen metroparks, a children’s museum, a class A minor league baseball team and miles of beautiful bike trails. Plus a growing array of unique restaurants, coffee houses and music bars to explore, art galleries to haunt and clubs to revel in—I think you’d be eager to come visit and let me show you around Dayton and my neighborhood, South Park.
In fact, my out-of-town friends love to come visit because of Dayton’s unassuming quirkiness and uncompetitive sophistication. Today’s corporate cool-hunters who relentlessly follow trends will tell you that the qualities that constitute true “cool” these days have to do with not trying too hard.
In the past, it’s only when I’ve tried to convince area natives of the big and small pleasures of Dayton’s emerging “new urbanism” that I’m confronted with doubt. Recently, I’ve seen that changing. There’s been an influx of young people, open to the experience of living in denser urban areas, walkable, bikable places that need to be explored. Places of involvement and confrontation, diversity and surprise.
As a lover of city life, especially after having lived in New York for a decade, I’m happy to find that younger people especially are seeking something less predictable outside of mass culture, but without the expense associated with a major metropolis. It’s no secret that Dayton is a patchwork of areas of disinvestment interspersed with gentrified neighborhoods and business districts, so the transitions in between appear a little rough. But those of us who consider a little grit to be part of the authentic urban experience take it in stride.
My husband and I moved to Historic South Park because we prefer older homes, and a friend told us about the neighborhood’s brilliant location (just minutes from everything) and its many social activities. He said candidly, “It’s not for everybody.” But if you’re comfortable in an economically mixed group, and don’t need the orderliness and control of the suburbs, you’ll find what so many people are searching for these days, a sense of community. It’s the friendliest place we’ve ever lived.
On Saturday, April 30th, the public not only has a chance to enjoy South Park’s unique architecture and history, but is invited to use digital technology to further enrich their experience of this wonderful 1880s-era neighborhood. Historic South Park’s 2011 Spring Home Tour, Saturday, April 30, 1-6pm, includes a ScanDayton ScanVenger Hunt™ with a chance to win an Apple iPad2! (Everyone who buys a ticket can enter their name in our raffle.) Thanks to Sean and Shawntay at Comtactics, one of the exciting entrepreneurial businesses officed in Tech Town, visitors will use their smartphones to find out more about our award-winning neighborhood and why we so enjoy living here. Cost is $10 in advance at www.historicsouthpark.org and $15 the day of the tour at Brown Oak Studio, 860 Brown Street. Free to Realtors who present a business card. Advance-purchase tickets can also be reserved in person at Brown Oak Studio, 860 Brown Street, 10am-5pm, Tuesday through Saturday; call 226-1196. Admission price includes the chance to enter the raffle. Plan to spend two hours enjoying the sights. For tour information call (937) 225-3801. Historic South Park thanks our title sponsor, Liberty Savings Bank, for making the tour possible.