Concert entitlement program

Levitt Pavilion bulldozes Dave Hall Plaza

By Mark Luedtke

As any honest economist will tell you, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Or free concert. Somebody provides the supplies and does the work, and somebody pays for it. The question is, who?

Home of the Dayton Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Reggae Festivals as well as AleFest and numerous other events, Dave Hall Plaza is a popular locale in downtown Dayton. Its shaded, tree-lined pathways and brook surrounded by open areas for activities create a unique and interesting park. Its character and location make it a favorite venue for events.

But a year and a half ago, when the Levitt Pavilion boondoggle plan dangling fake free concerts like fish bait first came to light, Dayton’s rulers turned against it. The Levitt Pavilion Dayton website leads the propaganda campaign. “In its initial years, Dave Hall Plaza was used as a site for several annual outdoor concerts during the summer months. But in recent years, the park has suffered from a lack of consistent programming and general neglect,” it claims. “The park’s design, with its earthen mounds, prohibits clear sight lines to the street, thereby discouraging people’s use of the site and raising safety concerns. What was once conceived as a central gathering place for the city has instead become a forlorn site with little to no activity—a missed opportunity for all Daytonians.”

The people who use the park all spring, summer, and fall would disagree. The political activists who camped out there for months would disagree. Furthermore, for the sake of argument, if the park were neglected and unsafe, city rulers would be to blame since they control the park. They use their power to steal and coerce to change circumstances to advance their personal interests. If Dave Hall Plaza has problems, the proposed Levitt Pavilion will have the same problems because it will be controlled by the same rulers.

The Levitt website reeks of central planning propaganda. “The future site of Levitt Pavilion Dayton, Dave Hall Plaza, will provide a central destination for our community to connect and unwind,” it promises.

Central planners undermine individuality by grouping people into herds they can control. They centralize people and money into corporations, governments, music venues, etc. This concentrates power and wealth into their few hands.

Here’s a summary of the boondoggle. The cost of the pavilion is estimated to be $5 million with Levitt providing 10 percent seed money. Friends of the project, i.e. the people who plan to profit from it, organized a nonprofit called Levitt Pavilion Dayton to raise the $5 million. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley loves every socialist boondoggle—they pay for her runs for mayor and governor—so city rulers donated $1 million they stole from taxpayers to further advance the project. Then they began shaking down the usual big donors for donations. So far the group claims it has raised $4.61 million, and it is so confident it will reach its goal, it already booked the first concert.

In other words, the fix is in. If they can’t raise the remainder by strong-arming donors, Whaley and her cohorts will fund the rest with more taxpayer money. With a run for governor on the horizon, Whaley can’t let her pet boondoggle fail.

While promoting Levitt’s propaganda, the Dayton Daily News coverage makes clear the pavilion was never about economics or music—it was always about politics. Executive Director of the Levitt Foundation Sharon Yazowski told the DDN, “Dave Hall Plaza is an ideal spot for a future Levitt Pavilion because the park and this part of downtown is accessible to a wide range of socio-economic groups.”

She also claimed, “As with all Levitt-funded creative place making projects, Levitt Pavilion Dayton in Dave Hall Plaza will amplify community pride; enrich people’s lives through the power of free, live music; and illustrate the importance of vibrant, public spaces.”

Leftist political drivel. The diabolical Levitt model masquerades as investment and voluntarism to promote stealing people’s money and advancing socialism.

Dayton already has plenty of wonderful music venues. By design, Levitt’s fake free concerts will become a never-ending entitlement, but Levitt will only pay $150,000 in annual support. That’s nothing. When donations dry up, taxpayers will be forced to pay the rest with rulers skimming off the top. That’s why they love this project—so the pavilion will end up a ghetto.

Already, city rulers shelled out an additional $30,000—which was never mentioned up front—to move a statue. Taxpayer costs will mount as this boondoggle bulldozes forward.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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