Group seeking $5M grant to invest in Trotwood and Dayton redevelopment

Trotwood officials are seeking a $5 million grant from JPMorgan that supporters say would lead to new jobs and redevelopment of sections of Trotwood and Dayton.

Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation is leading the effort, which if successful would improve industrial and residential areas in the western parts of Dayton and eastern Trotwood, according to Fred Burkhardt, executive director of the Trotwood CIC.

“What we’re really doing is creating something that is scalable and that says we will start this in this place, and watch it expand,” said Tim Forbess of the Collaboratory. “It’s ultimately watching how one community can identify how to reverse itself.”

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The Collaboratory, located in downtown Dayton, is a non-profit group with a mission of unleashing Dayton’s potential.

The grant would give the group $1 million per year for five years to cover the costs of the development.

Cities such as Detroit, Denver and Washington, D.C. have received this grant in the past. The plan here is to model what Detroit planned because the Dayton area has seen similar losses that Detroit has.

The targeted area is near Olive Road, Hoover Avenue, North Gettysburg Avenue and Wolf Creek Pike. James H. McGee Boulevard and the northwest connector of Ohio 49 run through the area.

The industrial upgrades could bring more jobs near Greenwich Village and Westwood neighborhoods. The idea is to bring industries that are start-ups or in their first or second year as a company.

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The buildings will be flex buildings and offer open floor plans. The companies will generate sustainable jobs, create opportunities for move-up jobs and bring in more residents, supporters say.

The residential upgrades would rehabilitate the area close to Gettysburg and Gardendale. The grant would help rehab or rebuild homes for those who are 55 and older, plus families and those seeking re-entry from incarceration.

Within the neighborhood to be rehabbed, approximately 50 percent of the units are delinquent on their taxes. The homes will become rent-to-own with help from Huntington and PNC banks.

“Build it and they will come,” Burkhardt said.

The residential areas will include an indoor farm, according Forbess. The farm will be considered an organic farm using aquaponics, or aquafarming, which involves fish and uses 97 percent less water.

They hope to have artificial intelligence infrastructure to make the neighborhood a smart community that will also be CO2 neutral. Forbess said that would attract a younger population because of the degree of curiosity.

The Collaboratory was founded by Peter Benkendorf. It is a center for entrepreneurs that works with nonprofits and community initiatives, according to Benkendorf.

The redevelopment area is part of an opportunity zone, which is a program for investors that provides tax incentives to re-invest some of there extra dollars gained through taxes.

Burkhardt said many parts of the project have been discussed over the years, but when the JPMorgan grant was announced, it was the “vehicle that got everything rolling.”

“People move to three things: jobs, payroll and opportunity,” Burkhardt said.

The cities and the non-profits seeking the grant will wait for a decision, which will be made by the spring of 2019. JPMorgan will choose up to 30 U.S. cities to receive the grant.

For more information regarding the potential project coming to Trotwood and Dayton, contact Burkhardt at 937-854-7244. For information on The Collaboratory, contact Benkendork at 847-287-6702.

The Dayton Daily News will continue to work on updates about this process.

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