Candidates talk plans for future of downtown
City Commission hopefuls outline ways to improve region.
Staff Report


Four candidates are running for two seats on the Dayton City Commission in November.

Commissioners Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph are running against challengers Shenise Turner-Sloss and David Esrati.

The four candidates will be part of an election forum on Tuesday at the main branch of the Dayton Metro Library.

For our online voters guide, which goes live Monday at vote., we asked them a series of questions. Today we look at their plans for Dayton’s downtown.

The deadline to register to vote is Monday. Early voting starts Tuesday.

Q: What will you do to improve downtown?

Shenise Turner-Sloss: I will work tirelessly to make sure that downtown Dayton grows and redevelops, but not at the expense of our outside neighborhoods or our residents.

I will create a balance that will allow our core to thrive, attracting economic development within and in surrounding neighborhoods.

With the trend moving towards living in urban areas where people have easy access to all their basic needs, it’s important we provide opportunities that accommodate the interests of the 21st century.

Downtown Dayton requires a balance of affordable housing and affordable space for business owners.

I will work to attract, retain and secure commercial businesses that provide growth in our economy.

We need to rethink our development strategies to find solutions that will create a “win-win situation” for downtown and our residential neighborhoods.

Chris Shaw: While the city’s downtown has certainly been on the upswing in recent years, there is still much that is on the horizon.

Efforts centered around the Arcade, Levitt Pavilion and other downtown anchors are being buoyed by increased private investment. one of the most important things we can do is cut through red tape and make sure good development is not hindered by government. the city must also work to ensure that the success of downtown is shared by and accessible to all residents of Dayton. one way to do this is to continue to support developments like the incredibly successful levitt Pavilion, which brings free music and entertainment to downtown, open to all.

David Esrati: Downtown Dayton will be doomed as long as we have Austin landing — where people who work in tall buildings and wear the proverbial “white collar” don’t pay any income taxes and people working in retail and “blue collar” jobs in one-story buildings are taxed 2%. if you look at the businesses that left downtown to go there, you see why all but one major building downtown has gone through foreclosure.

We need a unified, lower, countywide income tax yesterday. that is one of the only ways to make downtown competitive again. the parking issue will be solved by self-driving cars, and alternatives like the free “Wright flyer,” bike and car share, as well as the growth of downtown living opportunities. i introduced the Bcycle bike share to Dayton, and if it had been implemented properly, it would have had a much greater impact than it’s had. We have to make redevelopment of old buildings competitive with new construction without sticking the schools with tax breaks. i have a plan.

Matt Joseph: Happily, development downtown has gained momentum so the city can let private investment take the lead and help only where needed. i will continue our programs to keep downtown clean and safe, and i will advocate for increased availability of retail and other commercial services and amenities for our downtown residents.


The candidates for Dayton City Commission will take part in a forum Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the main branch of the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third Street. The forum is sponsored by The League of Women Voters, UpDayton, Dayton Daily News, WHIO TV and Radio and DATV. The forum will be moderated by News Center 7’s Jim Otte. The forum will stream live on and and air at a later date on DATV.

Register to vote: The deadline to register to vote in the November election is Monday.