Nearly a year after Premier Health announced it was closing Good Samaritan Hospital, the culminating meeting in what might become of the site is scheduled for early next month.
An open house will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Jan. 8 at Fairview PreK-6th School, 2314 Elsmere Ave., where the public can view proposals and provide feedback.
In a pledge to the community when it closed the hospital, Premier — Good Sam’s parent company — said it would provide $10 million toward its redevelopment.
Premier, CityWide Development Corp., and Columbus-based Planning NEXT have been guiding a planning process for the future of the site and the surrounding area. Several preliminary concepts have already been shared with the public.
A final plan must be approved by the board of trustees for The Phoenix Project, which was started 15 years ago by Good Samaritan, CityWide, city officials and other community members to revitalize the neighborhoods around the hospital. Phoenix Next is the name given to the Good Samaritan redevelopment planning process.
Jamie Greene, principal at Planning NEXT, said that along with recommendations for the hospital site, 0ther recommendations will be presented for the immediate surrounding area, for the neighborhoods beyond the study area and for programs and initiatives beyond brick and mortar development.
Greene said the future success of the site depends on the broader area’s success.
At the August planning meeting, three concepts for how the 13-acre site could be re-purposed were presented: one concept centered around new housing, one around jobs and businesses and one around civic and community space, though all had a mix of different types of development.
Feedback on those three concepts will be used for the final recommendation.
Development on the site presents challenges. For example:
- Not a single Small Business Administration loan was made in the two surrounding ZIP Codes — 45405 and 45406 — in 2016.
- The area has lost 28 percent of its business establishments since 2008.
- Home values lag behind the city as a whole.
- Population in the Phoenix Project neighborhoods has dropped 5 percent since 2009 (although the rest of the city has dropped more during that time).
As the Dayton Daily News has previously reported, neighborhoods like this one — which is 85 percent black — also face lending barriers. In 2016, black applicants in the Dayton metro area were 2.1 times as likely to be denied a conventional home mortgage as white applicants, even when controlling for applicants’ income, loan amount and neighborhood, the newspaper found.
The planning process ishappening amid criticism of the decision to close the hospital — which had employed 1,600 at its main campus — as well as calls by some residents to preserve the buildings on the Good Samaritan Hospital and maintain major health services at the site.
A group of west Dayton clergy filed a civil rights complaint, saying the hospital’s closure harms women and African Americans and follows a pattern of Premier investing in whiter and wealthier communities.
Premier has said high numbers of empty beds, the high cost of facility upkeep and its proximity to Miami Valley Hospital all played a role in its decision to close Good Sam. Premier offered jobs to remaining Good Sam employees and supports Five Rivers Health Centers, a community health center, which remains in operation at the site.