Dayton recovery plan: Tear down properties, build new parks, invest in housing, Black and brown businesses

Dayton plans to demolish about 850 housing units using more than $15 million in federal rescue funds. A woman walks by two abandoned and vacant homes in East Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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Dayton plans to demolish about 850 housing units using more than $15 million in federal rescue funds. A woman walks by two abandoned and vacant homes in East Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton’s plans for its federal rescue funds include tearing down hundreds of blighted properties, constructing new spray parks, upgrading its parks and building a joint police and fire station.

The city also proposes investing in housing, amenities, economic development and Black and brown businesses, and 42 community projects and businesses could receive millions of dollars in assistance.

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Children play in the water fountain at RiverScape MetroPark in downtown Dayton.

Children play in the water fountain at RiverScape MetroPark in downtown Dayton.

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Children play in the water fountain at RiverScape MetroPark in downtown Dayton.

Multiple projects want to add new housing units or preserve and upgrade existing housing.

Funding opportunities like this come around once-in-a-lifetime, and most of the funds that are not being put aside for revenue replacement will go toward capital investments that benefit minorities and low-income residents and areas, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

On Wednesday, the city released additional details about a “recovery plan” for its $138 million in federal rescue funds.

The city proposes spending $15.8 million to knock down about 850 blighted housing units.

Demolition was the community’s top priority in a survey the city conducted earlier this year, and recent Census data showed that more than 11,000 housing units across the city are empty.

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Vacant properties remain a problem in many Dayton neighborhoods. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Vacant properties remain a problem in many Dayton neighborhoods. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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Vacant properties remain a problem in many Dayton neighborhoods. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton has about 1,025 structures on its nuisance list, and the city plans to remove all of them with the rescue funds and $2.5 million in federal community block development grant money, Dickstein said.

“We’ve never had — over a three-year period — this kind of funding” for demolition, she said.

The city has until the end of 2024 to spend its rescue funds.

The city also expects to allocate $18.7 million toward housing improvements, including new construction and rehab and repair assistance.

Dayton proposes spending $4.4 million to build eight new spray parks and upgrade four others with elements like water canons, dump buckets and in-ground sprayers.

The city plans to improve 28 parks, at a cost of $2.2 million, with new playground equipment, shelters, restrooms, courts, walking paths and other upgrades.

The city also wants to reconstruct sidewalks and curbs ($10 million) and plant new tree lawns ($1 million).

The recovery plan also calls for a new $11 million police and fire station with community space, likely in northwest Dayton, and $10.5 million for improvements to other city facilities.

Dickstein said the plan includes transformative investments in low-income areas and provides vital funds to minority businesses that hopefully will disrupt multi-generational poverty.

This includes $3.1 million in assistance to Black and brown businesses for capital improvements; $3 million for a new racial equity fund; and $1.5 million for a microgrant opportunity fund.

The recovery plan also includes $7 million for a first-floor fund to make loans in the city’s business districts and $3.8 million to support the redevelopment of the Wright brothers airplane factory site in West Dayton.

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Wilbur and Orville Wright opened the first airplane factory in the country in 1911 inside part of this building along Abbey Avenue in Dayton. The two buildings were duplicated and expanded for auto parts construction that ended with Delphi in 2008. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Wilbur and Orville Wright opened the first airplane factory in the country in 1911 inside part of this building along Abbey Avenue in Dayton. The two buildings were duplicated and expanded for auto parts construction that ended with Delphi in 2008. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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Wilbur and Orville Wright opened the first airplane factory in the country in 1911 inside part of this building along Abbey Avenue in Dayton. The two buildings were duplicated and expanded for auto parts construction that ended with Delphi in 2008. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Earlier this year, the city invited community groups and businesses to apply for some of its rescue money, and the city received 170 applications seeking more than $311 million.

A subgroup of the community and neighborhood development advisory board scored the 93 eligible applications, city officials said, and 42 organizations and businesses received recommendations to “advance” — meaning their applications will receive further scrutiny and evaluation.

The city will vet 35 community projects that could receive $19 million in awards, as well as seven applications from businesses and other groups that could get more than $2 million.

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Concept rendering for Homefull's new grocery market and food hub. CONTRIBUTED

Concept rendering for Homefull's new grocery market and food hub. CONTRIBUTED

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Concept rendering for Homefull's new grocery market and food hub. CONTRIBUTED

The largest potential award would be $2.5 million to Homefull, a local nonprofit that wants to build new housing and a new market and food hub on vacant land near its Family Living Center, which offers permanent supportive housing.

National Church Residences, which specializes in senior living, could receive $2 million, and Rebuilding Together Dayton could get $1.8 million.

Rebuilding Together Dayton applied for funding for its Seasonal Safe@Home program to help low-income senior homeowners with urgent home repairs and modifications, said Amy Radachi, the organization’s president and CEO.

“Long-term, the homes repaired will be easier to afford due to reduced costs (e.g., utilities, insurance, maintenance) and will increase in property value,” she said. “Neighborhoods will have greater stability as the current housing stock will be preserved, there will be a decrease in disparity of property values within neighborhoods and the identity/assets of neighborhoods will be preserved.”

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A construction worker on the roof of a home in the South Park neighborhood on Wednesday. Dayton plans to spend millions of dollars of federal rescue funds on housing and home repairs. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

A construction worker on the roof of a home in the South Park neighborhood on Wednesday. Dayton plans to spend millions of dollars of federal rescue funds on housing and home repairs. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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A construction worker on the roof of a home in the South Park neighborhood on Wednesday. Dayton plans to spend millions of dollars of federal rescue funds on housing and home repairs. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

St. Mary Development Corp. is hoping to get a $1.5 million award for a senior lofts project, and United Church Homes could get the same amount for the Longfellow midtown project.

St. Mary Development Corp. wants to use rescue funds to help add 78 units of affordable independent senior living housing to its existing Hoover campus in West Dayton, said Tim Bete, the group’s president.

The campus currently has 281 units, he said, and the new four-story apartment community building will have a fitness center, media room, free wi-fi and meeting spaces.

The project also will renovate a clubhouse into a new health clinic and help create outdoor meeting spaces.

United Church Homes has partnered with Weyland Ventures and the G.F. Bailey Companies on a $30 million project to redevelop the Longfellow School complex at 245 Salem Ave.

The project would rehab the historic school buildings into 54 apartments and a new apartment building would be constructed to hold 72 additional units.

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Longfellow School on Salem Avenue could become housing, other uses. CORNELUS FROLIK / STAFF

Longfellow School on Salem Avenue could become housing, other uses. CORNELUS FROLIK / STAFF

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Longfellow School on Salem Avenue could become housing, other uses. CORNELUS FROLIK / STAFF

The apartments will provide independent living options for residents 55 and older, and a historic auditorium on the property will be converted into a practice and performance space for a local theater group.

Dickstein said 35 of the 42 projects and applications that were approved to advance benefit minority or low-income populations.


HOW THE MONEY WILL BE SPENT

Improving neighborhoods ($55 million)

$15.8M to demolish blighted structures (850 units)

$18.7M for improving housing conditions; provide in-fill and new housing; rehab and repairs

$10M to reconstruct sidewalks and curbs

$4.4M to improve and construct new spray parks

$2.2M to upgrade parks

$1M to plant new trees

$800k to support neighborhood businesses and services

$2.1M for other amenities

Revenue replacement ($36 million)

Dayton expects to spend more than one-quarter of its rescue funds on plugging holes in its budget due to revenue losses from work-from-home changes.

Enhancing critical services ($21.5 million)

$11M to address community health and crime with a new joint police and fire station, with community space

$10.5M to improve city facilities

Catalyzing economic development ($10.8 million)

$7M to create a first-floor fund to make loans in the city’s business districts

$3.8M to invest in the historic Wright brothers airplane factory site in West Dayton

Support Black and brown businesses ($7.6 million)

$3.1 million to assist Black and brown businesses with capital investments

$3M to establish a racial equity fund

$1.5M to create a micro-grant opportunity fund

Aiding community and small business recovery ($7.3 million)

$4M to support community health and wellness

$1M provide educational opportunities

$1M to support community organizations

$500K to assist small businesses

$450K to incentivize savings through an earned income tax credit program

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