Dayton wants redevelopment options if Wright factory hangars cannot be saved

Dayton has hired a local developer to create a master plan for the Wright brothers airplane factory site in West Dayton that will provide options if the hangars that were recently damaged by fire cannot be salvaged.

The city has hired Dillin LLC to design and create a site plan and identify uses, financial sources and partnerships to help a redevelopment project at the property to move forward, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Dickstein said the city is still waiting to see what a structural integrity analysis says about the property’s hangars after they were badly damaged by a blaze in late March.



But she said the master plan will provide alternatives if the buildings cannot be saved.

“This will allow us to advance that project with good or bad news, with regards to the hangars,” she said.

Dayton has agreed to pay Dillin $280,000 to produce a master development site plan for the 54-acre Wright factory property, located along West Third Street in West Dayton.

The city-owned site is home to five hangars, two of which are the historic buildings the Wright brothers used to manufacture some of the world’s first airplanes.

But four hangars, including the two historic buildings, were significantly damaged by a three-alarm fire that broke out on March 26.

Veronica Morris, Dayton’s supervisor of economic development, said the city has informally worked with Dillin for a long time and planned to hire the company for planning work long before the fire occurred.

“This contract will allow us the opportunity to engage the community, it will allow us to look at market analysis and research and have someone on board to help the city look and think about this property every day,” Morris said.

She said, “This is not a knee-jerk reaction to the fire. This is something that the city has been really purposeful with and planning for at least the last 24 months.”

The master plan should be completed within about nine months, Morris said.

Dayton proposed spending $3.4 million of its $138 million in federal COVID relief funds to improve the Wright factory site.

The city and the National Aviation Heritage Alliance also received $1.4 million last year from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to stabilize and beautify the Wright factory site.

The city also plans to use some federal Community Development Block Grant funds to beautify the site.

The city commission is expected to soon consider a $2.1 million project that would “scrape” and seed the site, install gravel walking paths and complete stabilization work, Morris said.

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