City needs more than booze and canoes

Editor’s note: This column is written by a resident of Piqua and it does not reflect the views of the Piqua Daily Call and its staff. This is a contributed column provided by the writer to the newspaper for printing on the Opinion page.

The first thing we have to do is stop this obsession with downtown Piqua. It is not our future. It is our past. It produces very few economic benefits for the overall prosperity of the average citizen. lf you do a cost benefit analysis, you will find that, for the vast amount of time and effort being put in it, the actual financial output is minimal.

Take one average size factory in Piqua. They produce more taxes and economic benefit than all of downtown. Yet, year affter year, we continue on this notion that if only we could get some nice restaurants downtown, it will ignite us into a highly prosperous community.

I’ve got a newsflash for ya! It ain’t working. We still got three bars that serve food and pizza in downtown.

Nothing is changed, despite the fact that the hotel was sure to be the beginning of a new era in Piqua.

Or, wasn’t five years enough time? Wasn’t the $30 million or so not enough of an investment?

At the end of a June City Commission meeting, Commissioner Wilson , urged all of Piqua to eat downtown. First of all, a lot of people don’t want to eat in a bar or a pub. Secondly, since when did our city commission become an advertising forum for bars and pubs? Lastly, why would a commissioner want to take business from all the other nice places to eat in Piqua?

If Piqua wants some nice restaurants and eateries downtown, then implement a sound economic development plan that will make us a more prosperous community. lf we could add $14,000 a year to our median household income, like Troy, downtown would be hot. Restaurateurs would flood our downtown.

I love our downtown. I raised my family on Main street, I’ve spent hundreds of thousand — if not millions — there.

I can tell you the following. There is an exact amount of booze that is going to be sold downtown each week. There’s an exact amount of mouths weekly downtown to drink it. When there is an oversupply of people selling booze, then the sellers have to compete for the same amount of mouths. The booze sellers in our downtown are doing it by dropping prices.

The problem with this is that our downtown abuts a large concentration of Piqua’s low income people. A lot of the cheaper rental homes are there also. It’s a rougher group. It is not the projected audience the city of Piqua had in mind.

In addition, a lot of these people sit home and drink because it’s a lot cheaper. Then after the sun goes down, they head downtown. A lot of them will sit in their car and chug pints. So, by the time they actually arrive, they don’t spend money because they are already buzzed.

In addition, the city of Piqua needs revenue to cover the cost of the Fort Hotel because it loses money. So now, they’re in the booze business. They expanded the size of the pub by adding city sidewalk and walk through to the pub that is there. It’s an unfair competitive advantage that bolsters the financial condition of their renter.

They also get a hefty percentage of the booze revenue from the banquet hall. Like almost all wedding receptions, the last few kids hang around getting plastered drinking free booze. One of these days, a drunk kid from a wedding reception is going to come down stairs, walk out onto this outdoor pub area and find himself face-to-face with someone that can cause them harm. Words are going to be exchanged and someone is going to end up dead. The city of Piqua thinks they’ve outsmarted some sharp attorney who’s going to sue them for wrongful death. Wrong, the taxpayer is going to spend millions suing the city’s insurance company because these people just don’t fork over millions until you make them.