Dayton View residents work to revitalize neighborhood

Local project funds revitalization and restoration of homes


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​​Many of Dayton’s former grand neighborhoods, like the Dayton View Triangle, have been getting face lifts lately, with the help of concerned and involved citizens, all of whom want to create family friendly communities that are not only safe but also attractive and inviting to people living in the suburbs.

Tony Shultz, a native Daytonian who graduated from Colonel White High School, said he moved away to pursue a career in boxing and returned last September to spend time with a friend and mentor who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He said his neighborhood is coming back quickly from what was once a deteriorating eyesore.

“I decided to come back and spend time with my friend and my family,” said Shultz, who today is a boxing promoter who travels the country. “I became personally involved with the Dayton View Triangle neighborhood group and The Phoenix Project once I returned.”

The Phoenix Project started about 10 years ago and is a partnership between Citywide and Good Samaritan Hospitals. It has invested millions of dollars into the neighborhoods surrounding the hospital, including parts of Dayton View Triangle. Residents around the hospital provided input and said they wanted their neighborhoods improved, old homes either rehabbed or demolished and crime reduced, as well as new public parks and amenities.

“The idea is to really revitalize the area,” Shultz said. “It’s gone downhill with General Motors leaving Dayton and the economic downturn. The hospital kept expanding and wanted to help create safer, more vibrant neighborhoods that would be inviting places for the doctors, nurses and medical personnel.”

Shultz said there are many financial incentives for people who are interested in moving into the neighborhoods, including grants to help rehab older homes and low-cost homes for sale.

“The idea is to get younger professionals to return to this area,” he said.

The Dayton View Triangle area was once considered the “Oakwood of the north,” according to Mike Dolinksi, a long time Dayton View resident and the vice president of the neighborhood group. He said the area is entirely different than it was 20 years ago when there were many more professional residents, from college professors to large corporate employees and police personnel and even a town mayor.

“Most of these great old houses are in pretty good shape today,” Dolinski said. “Though the original residents have mostly retired and left the area. Some of the houses fell into disrepair and some became rental properties, but in general we have unique houses here with good bones and great features.”

One major change is the crime rate, which according to Shultz has dropped dramatically since two police officers were dedicated to the area.

“Our group was talking about the problems we had at the end of 2013 with shootings, drug deals and break-ins,” Shultz said. “Once the officers came and increased their patrols of the neighborhoods, we had a 90 percent drop in crime in one month.”

Sergeant John Riegel is one of the officers overseeing the neighborhoods covered by the Phoenix Project.

“I’ve been involved about three years and I’ve seen some streets that were very rough,” Riegel said. “We had a lot of calls for drug and crime activity.”

Once Citywide and Good Samaritan provided the funding for two full-time officers, much of that has changed.

“Our two officers in the Dayton View neighborhood spend all their time on foot, riding bikes or slowly driving around,” Riegel said. “You can see them shooting baskets with the kids and they know each of them by name, they know their parents and where they live. It’s really a throwback to old-style policing.”

Shultz said that currently about 15 properties in the area are being rehabbed or remodeled. The neighborhood group is working together on street cleanup and with The Salem Avenue Business Association (SABA) to bring in new businesses and restaurants.

As a neighborhood organizer with The Phoenix Project for nine years, Amy Clanton also said she has seen many changes.

“We’ve helped put in 33 new homes and we have walking trails, baseball fields and basketball courts. We are trying to enhance the area in the ways the residents say they want,” she said. “Our goal is to restore it to the way it once was – a family friendly place to live.”

Clanton said even the young people have gotten involved, offering input into parks and playgrounds.

“We had the kids plan the parks and even pick out the water features,” she said. “Now they have ownership and they don’t let others come in and tear it up.”

Shultz said he wants the momentum to continue.

“We hope this has a cascading effect and solidifies the Dayton View Triangle as the premier place to live in the city,” he said. “It’s cheaper to live here and people have shorter commutes. We have great yards where people can play with their kids, a community garden, neighborhood get-togethers and cookouts all summer. The time couldn’t be any better for people to consider moving out of the suburbs and back into the city.”

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