Dayton to clean up stalled downtown project site


The Dayton City Commission this morning approved spending $294,500 to finish demolishing and cleaning up the majority of the former downtown Dayton Daily News property in the hopes of setting the stage for its redevelopment.

The city has approved hiring Bladecutters Inc. to work on the nearly 2-acre site, which has been stuck in limbo for several years after a student housing project failed to move forward. The city recently declared the property a nuisance, which will allow demolition crews to remove the problem conditions.

Earlier this year, Dayton commissioners authorized the city to spend about $450,000 to purchase the property from Steve R. Rauch Inc.

Rauch, a demolition firm, was expected to be granted the deed to the land from its owners as part of a settlement over unpaid demolition costs. But that transfer has not yet happened.

The city wants to make the property “development ready” to speed up the time line for its return to productive use, said Aaron Sorrell, Dayton’s director of planning and community development.

“We felt like we needed to get this moving so we could get this site in better condition prior to winter,” he said. “It’s been languishing.”

Demolition activities will depend on the weather but could take about six weeks week to complete, he said.

This project will help the city avoid anymore delays to marketing the site to attract new developers and investment, he said.

Also, it will repair and rebuild the sidewalks on Ludlow and Fourth street so they can reopen for pedestrian use, officials said. The property has drawn interest from a handful of developers, whose initial concepts included housing and other uses.

Bladecutters will be tasked with repairing the foundation wall of the remaining 1908 historic newspaper building structure and backfilling, grading and seeding the rest of the property.

“A lot of debris was scraped out but the foundations haven’t been broken up — the old foundation walls need to be removed,” said Sorrell.