Monday, December 31, 2007

Daytonology Man & Women of the Year 2007

Dayton Most Metro has an excellent Dayton Wish List for 2008. Very little to add to it, except a wish for a cultural revolution in the Dayton, where people would turn from an anti-urban bias to appreciating citys and city culture. Yer humble host believes the greatest problem the Dayton area faces is not necessarily economics and leadership, but the people who live here,

With that in mind here is Daytonology's Man and Women of the Year, as a way to feature role models of the kind of spirit the people in this area so often lack.

The envelope please.

The winners are:

Leon Bey

Joanne Granzow

Maribeth Graham

....the founders of Freinds to Save the Arcade.

Leon Bey would have been in the running at least for those Gem City Circle Tours he was leading; historical walking tours of the downtown. Note that it wasn't Preservation Dayton, it wasn't Dayton History, it was a retired librarian who was doing this on his own initiative. And as a history buff I really appreciate this.

And it was on one of those walking tours that Tony Staub, standig outside the Arcade, invited Leon and his tour group in for a look. And asked for help.

Leon could well have replied "Gee, Tony, sorry, I'm just a lowely retired librarian", and moved on.

But he didn't.

Leon engaged Maribeth and Jeanne to help form the Friends to Save the Arcade. These two ladies then energized their network of freinds and volunteers to help obtain support and interest, and were able to tap into connections and resources that led to the opening of the Arcade during the last Urban Nights.

These two ladies are excellent examples of the kind of citizens this area needs more of; enthusiastic, postive, and whats more, people with a vision of a what the city could be. They are also suburbanities but see themselves as part of the greater whole that is Dayton, the antitheses of the rejectionist/"Scary Dayton"/tear-it-all-down negativity one sees too much from suburbanites and city residents.

The fate of the Arcade is still uncertain. But a local developer is in negotiation with the owner to aquire the property for a redevelopment.

Would this have happened without Leon Bey not wanting to save the Arcade, and Maribeth Graham and Jean Granzow not agreeing to join him? And without the publicitiy and interest the FSA was able to generate?

One might never know.

But the point is that these three gave a damn and said No! to pervasive negativity, apathy and cyncism.

And thats why they are Man and Women of the Year.

(I dont have good pix of all three, but here is a newspaper clipping of Leon in the Arcade)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I'd like to add one more person to your excellent list: Susan Gruenberg. She single-handedly convinced the city to allow tours of the Arcade on Urban Nights. Originally, the safety people said it was too dangerous to open the place up to public tours, but her professional and thorough briefing convinced the powers that be that the public's safety would not be in jeopardy. These tours on Urban Nights, and then at the Grande Illumination, placed the Arcade in the community spotlight which hopefully will bring about a successful outcome.