City may buy old school in northwest Dayton for $11M joint police/fire project

Dayton is considering spending millions of dollars to create a joint police and fire station on Salem Avenue that officials say would reduce emergency response times and improve public safety in northwestern neighborhoods.

“This strategic location also provides rapid accessibility to major thoroughfares throughout all of west Dayton and the downtown core of the city,” said Dayton fire Capt. Brad French.

The Dayton City Commission last week had the first reading of legislation authorizing the city to spend $2.8 million to buy a former school property at 184 Salem Ave.

The 64,000-square-foot facility once operated as Sowing Seeds of Knowledge and Richard Allen Academy.

Before that, the United Way of Greater Dayton had services in the three-story building.

Dayton proposes relocating some police and fire resources to the property to better serve the northwest corridor of the city, says a memo from Dayton fire Chief Jeff Lykins.

The relocation of fire apparatus would improve response times and service delivery in that part of Dayton, Lykins said.

The closest fire station is about one mile away, at 300 North Main Street in downtown.

Two other fire stations are about 1.5 to 2 miles away, on the 2200 block of North Main Street and the 1700 block of West Third Street.

The former school facility is one block south of an existing Dayton police district station, located at 248 Salem Ave.

The city proposes spending about $11 million of its $138 million in federal COVID rescue funds to create a new joint police and fire facility.

The city’s police and fire stations are more than 40 years old and the operational costs for maintenance and related capital investments for these facilities has increased significantly, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Northwest Dayton also has been impacted by the closure of Good Samaritan Hospital, Dickstein said, and the city wants to prioritize emergency transport transit time.

The former school property is in good shape after undergoing more than $1 million in repairs in the last decade, and it also has a parking lot with spaces for 250 vehicles, Lykins’ memo states.

The city also plans to create new community engagement and education space in the facility.

The building would need some major changes to accommodate fire and police operations, city officials said.

The city is still analyzing a deployment plan for this facility, and it’s unclear if its public safety facilities will be consolidated or sold or repurposed, said Capt. French.

“There is no intent to reduce the total amount of emergency response resources available to Dayton residents,” he said. “Staffing of the fire station portion of this new facility will occur through the relocation or redeployment of current personnel resources and apparatus in the most effective and data-validated manner.”

The property owner is 4 The Kids LLC, which purchased the 3.5 acre building and parking lot for about $500,000 in early 2021.

The city had an independent appraisal of the property in May, which concluded it is worth about $2.4 million, officials said.

The seller’s appraisal from March estimated the property to be worth about $4.2 million, the city said.

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