A Dollar General that neighbors have been critical of will close in South Park, and some residents won’t miss what they say was a bad neighbor.
“I’m disappointed they couldn’t be a good neighbor, and I’m worried what an empty property will attract,” said Jill Davis, chair of the parks committee with Historic South Park Inc. “I’m disappointed it didn’t work out.”
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Dollar General Corp. has decided to close the store at 1431 Wayne Ave. as part of the company’s continual review of how to best meet its customers’ needs, said Angela Petkovic, a company spokesperson.
Dollar General moved into the property after the Rite Aid closed more than a decade ago.
The store is expected to continue operating under normal business hours until January, Petkovic said.
Employees will have the opportunity to transfer to one of Dollar General’s nearby stores.
Wayne Avenue still has a variety of low-cost retailers. A Family Dollar is about two-tenths of a mile north of Dollar General.
Dollar Tree is less than half a mile south of the property. There also is a Kroger, Walgreens and Sunoco nearby.
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Mark Keller, president of Historic South Park Inc., said he and most neighbors are happy to see Dollar General go.
Keller said some residents shopped at the store, but it had poor service and the property was not maintained and he hopes a new business will move in that helps revitalize the Wayne Avenue commercial corridor.
“There’s so much progress in the neighborhood, specifically along the corridors — so Wayne Avenue, Wyoming, Warren,” he said.
Wayne Avenue, the eastern border of South Park, has seen some recent investment: Branch & Bone brewery opened at 905 Wayne Ave., and months later, Wholly Grounds coffee shop opened across the street.
Keller said the Dollar General building is sizable and has a large parking lot, which are in short supply among commercial buildings in the neighborhood. Online listings say that the building has about 11,180 square feet of leasable space.
Keller said neighbors would love to have a boutique bodega or small grocery store. But other types of uses also would be welcomed, possibly like a pharmacy or an independent business.
He said the neighborhood is actively trying to identify potential tenants and residents want the highest and best uses for all available commercial properties in South Park.
But South Park residents also say they are nervous that something undesirable could take Dollar General’s place, like an irresponsible retailer or a blood plasma center.
The 1431 building and parking lot were constructed in the late 1990s, and the neighborhood hoped Rite Aid’s opening would provide an economic spark to the Wayne Avenue and Wyoming Street area.
After the Rite Aid closed, neighbors were told the Dollar General that leased the property wanted to attract middle class customers and would be clean and well maintained, said Davis.
But problems with cleanliness and neglect began shortly after Dollar General opened, she said.
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She said the business has allowed the grass to overgrow, has not cleaned up trash in a timely manner and has not kept the property safe and secure.
The inside of the business was seldom cleaned and employees did almost nothing to prevent dumpster diving, which created a big mess of trash behind the store that spilled over into the park and open spaces, Davis said.
Davis said she believes Dollar General corporate was “starving” the understaffed store.
Neighbors fed up with the property’s appearance took part in a cleanup at the site on Oct. 6 that was concentrated on the Wyoming and Wayne sides.
They pulled out weeds, cut down overgrown vegetation and removed trash, including a microwave oven and an air pistol.
The property, at Wayne and Wyoming streets, may be attractive if a proposed apartment development several blocks away on Wyoming Street moves forward. The developer has proposed building more than 200 apartments, but the original design has been criticized by residents and members of Dayton’s planning board.