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One Example of a Middletown Consultant Study

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MUSA Citizen
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    Posted: Mar 30 2018 at 3:07pm
The following link contains the taxpayer-funded City of Middletown, Ohio Market Study prepared by Gem Real Estate Group, Inc. of Dayton, Ohio (12/31/2003).  It includes both an Executive Summary plus the entirety of said Market Study.

https://www.cityofmiddletown.org/DocumentCenter/View/157

The reader will find interesting observations and recommendations developed by GEM Real Estate Group, Inc.  You will discover which findings were/weren't followed by subsequent city managers and city council members.

Of particular interest are:

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - Section K. General Recommendations; and,
2.  MARKET STUDY - Section XII. Observations and Conclusions.

Both prior to and since 2001, the City of Middletown has utilized taxpayers funds for a large number of consultant-based market and community development studies.
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MIDDLETOWN MASTER PLAN (2005)

HOUSING AND NEIGHBORHOODS OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES OBJECTIVE

OBJECTIVE HN 1: Target resources on one neighborhood or redevelopment project at a time to create a noticeable and long-term benefit.
           ISSUE: Funds that are available to improve neighborhoods are often spent community-wide resulting
                        in little noticeable change in any one locale.
OBJECTIVE HN 2: Modernize the housing stock to enhance housing options for a new generation of residents.
          ISSUE: Housing is relatively old and does not offer the same amenities as newer housing found in
                       adjacent communities.
OBJECTIVE HN 3: Right-size the housing inventory so supply equals demand.
          ISSUE: Middletown’s housing value is currently flat and has not appreciated to the same extent as surrounding
                       communities due to housing surplus and deferred maintenance.
OBJECTIVE HN 4: Encourage private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods.
          ISSUE: Some neighborhoods are plagued by pockets of dilapidated and/or vacant housing that is a blighting
                       influence and a barrier to revitalization.
OBJECTIVE HN 5: Stop and prevent negative housing cycles in healthy neighborhoods.
          ISSUE: Pockets of desirable housing exist but are under stress from neighborhood or citywide trends.

Beginning In 2009 Doug Adkins, with the approval of Judy Gilleland, made several significant policy changes regarding the usage of HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Improvement Partnerships (HOME) program funding then totalling $1.1 Million annually.  Contrary to the 2005 Master Plan, these were:

1.  Eliminate the former Ward 1 and 2 CDBG target areas and make the ENTIRE CITY a target area (including the Highlands, Renaissance, Manchester, etc.);
2.  Eliminate the Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program;
3.  Divert over $500,000 from the Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program revolving loan fund to help conduct the nearly 400 house mega residential demolition blitzkrieg;
4.  Eliminate CDBG-funded First-Time Home Buyer Education Classes (during the last year of my tenure 300 prospective home buyers attended classes held at One Donham Plaza);
5.  Farm-out the HOME-funded First-Time Home Buyer Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance (DPA) Program to a Hamilton-based entity (funding allocated for this purpose is now about $200,000 compared to $400,000 plus during the last year of my tenure);
6.  Scale back the Elderly/Handicapped Emergency Home Repair Program from $500,000 annually during my tenure to $100,000 today;
7.  Wastefully spend HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds.  In contrast to the proposal that I prepared and submitted to Ginger Smith in late 2008, only 10 rather than 80 foreclosed homes were bought, rehabilitated and sold.  Furthermore, over $200,000 of these Residential Foreclosure Funds were siphoned off to acquire and demolish "downtown" properties that were eventually sold to Liberty Spirits LLC for $1.00; and,
8.  Nearly two-thirds of the city's annual CDBG allocation of $700,000+/- are devoted to administration, program delivery (a HUD term for related administrative costs) plus Housing Code Enforcement staff costs.  In addition, $25,000 in allowable HOME Program administrative funds are given to the Hamilton-based entity to undertake the downscaled First-Time Home Buyer Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance (DPA) Program.

Of course, Doug Adkins and Kyle Foooks succeeeded in haphazardly wiping out hundreds of former Ward 2 homes.  I encourage anyone to drive down some of the affected streets to see the results of their priorities.
The above facts speak for themselves!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 01 2018 at 10:29am

Consultant Studies - New course for Middletown’s downtown considered

  • Mike Rutledge
  •   Staff Writer, Journal-News
 4:34 p.m Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016  Community News

MIDDLETOWN

Five Middletown Studies

Here are five studies being conducted in Middletown, and the focus of each:

  • Middletown Master Plan — Conducted by McBride Dale Clarion — an overarching plan for the
  •  entire city of Middletown that will tie together all the other related city plans. It will consider
  •  future land-use possibilities, identify key topics that should make up the city’s “planning
  • agenda,” and evaluate priority development sites.
  • Community Visioning — Handled by Middletown Moving Forward Inc. and the Community
  • Building Institute — will identify neighborhood and economic issues, create a vision statement
  • that “clearly defines Middletown’s desired future,” and recommend solutions and strategies to
  • achieve them.
  • Downtown Master Plan — A project of Downtown Middletown Inc. and a consultant to be
  • named next week — unlike the Middletown Master Plan, this plan will focus on downtown and
  • how it connects with other parts of the city. It will evaluate existing conditions, recommend a
  • comprehensive streetscape design and preferred architectural styles for the downtown, suggest
  • future land-use patterns, evaluate market demands for the downtown, offer information about
  • prime sites for developments that development companies can use, and suggest funding
  • strategies to achieve the plan’s aims.
  • Housing Study — Handled by Danter Group — a comprehensive housing study for the entire
  • city that City Manager Doug Adkins has said he hopes “will tell us what kind of housing we need
  • in Middletown, to start balancing our housing stock and get our property values up.” It will
  • evaluate demand for housing in the city at various price points, evaluate housing trends and
  • growth projections, and will give special consideration to studying housing in the downtown.
  • Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan — Will evaluate existing conditions, analyze where new bike-
  • pedestrian connections should be made, prioritize the potential projects, and determine the types
  • of paths that should be built, and what amenities the paths should have.

The people creating the five plans “are all working together — all these plans, and all these consultants,

says Mallory Greenham, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc. “We’re not duplicating efforts,

but it’s real easy to get confused (about why there are so many plans)…. They just happen to be

happening at the same time.”

Source: City of Middletown and Journal-News research

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 01 2018 at 1:16pm
"Middletown Master Plan"

How many "master plans" do we need and how often do we need them? The old "master plan" talk seems to surface quite often it would seem.

"Community Visioning — Handled by Middletown Moving Forward Inc. and the Community
Building Institute — will identify neighborhood and economic issues, create a vision statement
that “clearly defines Middletown’s desired future,” and recommend solutions and strategies to
achieve them."

This isn't "community visioning" at all. If it were, the "community" would be asked to be involved. You know, it sure would be nice if the city leaders would ask the people who live here for input as to what they want for their city and the direction they would like to see taken. But no, they only allow MMF to have input thereby controlling all future plans while once again, excluding the very people who live here. Unbelievable lack of common sense coming from the city leaders. Has Middletown really prospered allowing the MMF group to call the shots all these years? Are we really better off with them around? Or, would we have seen more progress for the city by now if a group of common sense people, who truly cared for the city and without any special interests, were involved years ago?

"Downtown Master Plan — A project of Downtown Middletown Inc. and a consultant to be
named next week — unlike the Middletown Master Plan, this plan will focus on downtown and
how it connects with other parts of the city. It will evaluate existing conditions, recommend a
comprehensive streetscape design and preferred architectural styles for the downtown, suggest
future land-use patterns, evaluate market demands for the downtown, offer information about
prime sites for developments that development companies can use, and suggest funding
strategies to achieve the plan’s aims."

Well sure. Of course there will be the ultimate focus on their dam downtown and, of course, forgetting all other parts of town as usual. It is really getting old city leaders. One track mind running just the downtown horse in every race mentality. Ridiculous. Neglecting all other parts of town while focusing entirely on your downtown will only come back to hurt the city. Try equal attention for a change city leaders.


"Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan — Will evaluate existing conditions, analyze where new bike-
pedestrian connections should be made, prioritize the potential projects, and determine the types
of paths that should be built, and what amenities the paths should have."

Why the focus on the bike path? Since when is it an intelligent thing to do to appease such a small percentage of the community who would use this bike path and omit any and all concentration on what the MAJORITY would prefer? Tell me, in the overall scheme of things, just what does this bike path do to grow Middletown and how is this worth the effort and money spent to activate it and maintain it? If the bike path were not available, would it hurt the city in it's attempt to show progress? How does the bike path add any real value to the city compared to a focus on decent paying jobs, decent streets and sound infrastructure, reduced crime and drug usage, better schools, adequate police and fire coverage, upgrading the city population quality, etc? Why the focus importance on this when there are many other initiatives to focus on that are far more important? Shouldn't we take care of the important things first?

"Housing Study........" Do you really need to hire a consultant for this? Seriously leaders, you can't figure how to handle your housing shortage and establish decent housing for this city? No idea as to the type of people you want locating here, the demographics of the neigborhood and the type of housing to provide them? No idea how to fill all the empty lots you have created through demolition with the proper type of house in any given location? No one in your city government that has a clue on how to do this? If not, why not schedule a meeting with a successful city around here that can give you some information about building housing stock without spending money on a consultant for this.

"Mallory Greenham, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc. “We’re not duplicating efforts,"

Would she know it if she was duplicating efforts?


I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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