City approves $2.5 million for Homefull’s new West Dayton grocery store

Another $1.8 million in federal funds will go to the East End social services hub, and a Habitat home repair effort

Dayton has awarded $2.5 million to Homefull’s new full-service grocery store, food hub and farmer’s market in West Dayton, plus $1 million to a new family service hub and wellness center for East End Community Services in the Twin Towers neighborhood.

The city also approved $800,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton to pay for roof repairs for about 80 owner-occupied homes in the city.

These are just the latest investments in community projects Dayton is making using some of its $138 million in federal COVID rescue funds.

“We’re very excited about these investments not only because they are going into our community, but they also are going to longstanding partners who have been grinding for a while to attract investment and improve quality of life and services to our most vulnerable Dayton community residents,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

New grocery store

Homefull will receive $2.5 million for a project in the 800 block of South Gettysburg Avenue, which is vacant land that used to be home to Carlson Elementary School, just south of U.S. 35.

Homefull plans to construct a 14,000-square-foot, full-service grocery store; a 3,900-square-foot regional food hub; a 2,500-square-foot entrepreneurial farmer’s market; a 2,500-square-foot healthcare clinic; and a community education center and pharmacy, according to city documents.

The $17 million project will redevelop the front six acres of the property, and a groundbreaking is expected to take place within the next several weeks, said Tina Patterson, CEO of Homefull.

“The community deserves quality healthcare choices and access to food,” she said. “This project demonstrates Homefull’s commitment to providing high-quality amenities to address the disparities that have been ongoing for far too long in West Dayton.”

The new 48,000-square-foot building will be two stories and likely will take about 12 to 18 months to complete, Patterson said.

Homefull will put its administrative headquarters in the facility, as well as its rental assistance, housing stability, behavioral health and workforce development programs, she said.

There will be some space left over for tenants that provide services the West Dayton community needs, she said.

Homefull will operate the grocery store as a nonprofit, which means it will be able to offer low prices and jobs and training, potentially supported by grants, she said.

The food hub will have spaces for refrigeration, prep and storage and will seek to be the “middle man” between small- to mid-sized food producers and suppliers and others who “share the farm-to-table philosophy to source locally grown produce,” Patterson said.

The project is in the heart of West Dayton in one of the poorest zip codes in Montgomery County, she said, and Homefull also hopes to build housing on the remaining 10 acres of the former school property.

The project, similar to the Gem City Market on Salem Avenue, will help increase higher-quality food options in areas that have been food deserts, officials said.

The project satisfies multiple city and Dayton Recovery Plan priorities because it supports housing, green space, workforce opportunities, minority businesses, vulnerable economic sectors and strengthens asset-based development along Gettysburg, Dickstein said.

As part of the project, Homefull will relocate about 45 jobs from Moraine to Dayton, she said.

Homefull owns and operates the Family Living Center, a 34-unit permanent supportive housing complex at 829 S. Gettysburg Ave.

“These are very important steps to strengthen West Dayton and especially a very depressed area that I’ve grown up in,” said Dayton City Commissioner Chris Shaw.

East End project

East End Community Services plans to spend about $6.4 million expanding and improving its campus, located on Xenia Avenue in the Twin Towers neighborhood in East Dayton.

East End, with the help of Dayton’s $1 million in grant money, plans to renovate two interconnected warehouse buildings to create a new Whole Family Services Hub that has classrooms, offices, programming spaces, a computer room and other areas.

“It will double our space,” said Jan Lepore-Jentleson, executive director of the organization. “All of the services that we provide will move into that location, and we will be joined by several other agencies and organizations that provide complementary services to our community.”

A second phase of the project will turn East End’s current facility into a family wellness hub, which basically will be a community center.

The city’s funding will help pay for architectural and demolition services for the family service hub and wellness center.

East End has raised about $4.5 million of the $5 million it needs for the first phase of the project, Lepore-Jentleson said, and the project should get underway by April and be completed by the end of 2023.

East End served about 5,000 people last year, and it was a diverse mix of community members, she said.

East End also plans to use some of the funding to help design and landscape the Ruskin School Common project, which seeks to create a new entrance to the school from Xenia Avenue.

There will be a community gathering space in front of the school, said Paul Woodie, president of East End Neighborhood Development Corp.

East End plans to partner with Mission of Mary Cooperative to construct backyard gardens and a teaching kitchen.

East End, in cooperation with New Hope Church, will help activate underutilized store fronts along Xenia Avenue for small neighborhood businesses, Woodie said.

Roof repairs

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton will receive $800,000 from the city for roof repairs to homes belonging to residents with low to moderate incomes.

The program will help families stay in their homes and help stabilize and revitalize the Carillon, Miami Chapel, Wolf Creek, Five Oaks and Old North Dayton neighborhoods, the city said.

If there is money left over, it can be spent on roof repair in eligible Census tracts.

Habitat for Humanity has been a good partner for 37 years and has provided critical home repairs to local families, city officials said.

The roof repair program will preserve the homes of families that have seen disinvestment in their communities, said Norm Miozzi, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton.

“We have individual stories of homeowners who lived in homes with holes in their roof the size of automobiles,” he said. “You think about the health effects it has on families, let alone the effects it has on neighborhoods.”

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