$200K grant helps Salem Mall cleanup

The footprint of the former Salem Mall is covered in snow after clearing and grading of the land was performed in the past week. The old Sears store, right, is all that remains on the site. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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The footprint of the former Salem Mall is covered in snow after clearing and grading of the land was performed in the past week. The old Sears store, right, is all that remains on the site. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The city of Trotwood started cleanup of the Salem Mall site last week, more than a decade after most of the mall was demolished.

Trotwood was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Montgomery County Community Development Block Grant to clean up the site, to appeal for future investments and businesses.

“Montgomery County is pleased to be working with the city of Trotwood on the Salem Mall site cleanup,” said Montgomery County Commission President Debbie Lieberman. “This investment represents a great use of Community Development Block Grant funds, which aim to eliminate blighted properties.”

The city hopes with the cleanup, it will attract potential businesses to have an interest in the site.

“More importantly, the Salem Mall cleanup will create a fresh site for future development, which means more business and more jobs in our county,” Lieberman said. “My fellow commissioners, Judy Dodge and Carolyn Rice, and I are committed to the continued success of business in Montgomery County, and this site will be a great resource for our future.”

The property was demolished in 2006 and debris remains at the site. The mall opened in 1966. JCPenny and Lazarus, former anchor stores of the mall, closed in the 1990s and as a result the mall suffered a decline.

Mayor Mary McDonald said the city will spend additional dollars, if needed, to help with the cleanup or redevelopment of the area.

The former Sears building still stands on the site. The Sears & Roebuck Company still owns the building and the parking lot.

The city had been in talks with Sears to purchase the property and hopes to continue conversations to acquire the property. It has been closed for more than five years.

The Dayton Daily News has reached out to Sears about the property and has not received a response.

Area mall owners have sometimes struggled with redevelopment efforts because big-box department stores such as Sears prefer to own their own real estate, such as the Salem Mall location and Dayton Mall location that closed last year.

Residents have asked for something to be done with the property since the mall closed.

“I think that it’s a good thing considering the lot has been empty for so long,” said Camesha Cooper, former Trotwood resident. “However, Trotwood has gone down a lot in the past 10 years, so they should definitely try and revamp that area with something that can benefit the whole city.”

Cooper is a 2012 graduate of Trotwood-Madison High School.

The contractor for this project is Outdoor Enterprise, LLC, based out of Casstown. Montgomery County is overseeing the cleanup.

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