Millions will fund West Dayton development; Here’s what to expect

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

More than 2,000 plaintiffs to share $4.1 million deal involving Stony Hollow Landfill lawsuit

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The West Dayton Development Trust Fund was getting low on money, but a $5.25 million infusion means it is expected to be able to fund projects likely for years to come.

The money comes from a settlement with Waste Management Inc. over the operation of the Stony Hollow landfill. The landfill opened in the 1990s and its operators have made several cash contributions to the fund as part of settlements over the environmental impact of the landfill on the neighborhoods around it.

As originally permitted, the landfill was set to be full and to close in the mid-2000s. Permit changes have allowed it to expand its capacity and it now is slated to operate for another 20 years.

The West Dayton fund has paid out about $11.3 million in grants since 1997 to projects benefiting the city’s west side. Those grants have been credited with leveraging almost $95 million in investment, city officials say.

The West Dayton fund has attracted outside dollars to the neighborhoods.

The city is adding jobs, but there is a skills gap among some residents that the trust fund is being earmarked to help close, city officials said.

“We’re looking for projects that can be more readily filled by the residents in that area,” said Ford Weber, Dayton’s director of economic development.

MORE: Dayton to use $10.5M landfill settlement to boost West Dayton

A settlement with Waste Management Inc. over a dispute about the Stony Hollow Landfill is providing $10.5 million to the West Dayton Development Trust Fund and a new fund for the Fair Rivers Oak council and northwestern parts of the city, called the Northwest Dayton Redevelopment Fund. Those neighborhoods encompass everything in the city limits west of the Stillwater River.

The West Dayton fund provides grants to help stabilize and improve housing in West Dayton and develop health and wellness activities through outreach and development, said Veronica Morris, senior development specialist with Dayton’s department of economic development.

Grant money can be used for land and building acquisition, building renovations and improvements, new construction and investments in machinery, equipment, supplies and materials. The funds cannot be used for pre-development activities, inventory or collateral.

The West Dayton fund seeks to help create or retain jobs in West Dayton or help improve the quality of life for residents, Morris said.

“The program is to help development and community development in West Dayton to create job opportunities, to create neighborhood opportunities,” Morris said.

Eligible projects can include housing, youth and adult workforce development training programs and health care and social services activities.

Since 1997, the West Dayton Development Trust Fund has distributed about $11.3 million in grants. Those funds have resulted in about $94.8 million worth of investment, Morris said.

Since 2009 grant funding has helped retain nearly 1,800 jobs and create 500 new ones.

MORE: $4.1M settlement in landfill odor case approved

One of the success stories is Ziks Family Pharmacy, which received grant dollars to help open nearly a decade ago in the Wright Dunbar Business District.

The business continues to grow. Ziks Family Pharmacy & Home Medical Equipment this summer revealed plans to add as many as 250 new home health care jobs in the business district.

In 2017, the trust fund provided a $150,000 grant to Production Design Services Inc. for a project at 313 Mound St.

The company moved 90 jobs to the facility and announced plans to add 30 positions. The project was a $4.2 million investment.

Also in 2017, Elizabeth Place Holdings LLC received $250,000 to help with a $1.75 million project for capital and tenant improvements at 601 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. The money helped retain the largest medical tenant in the facility and funded interior demolition and a build out for new surgical units.

Money from the West Dayton trust fund can only be used in the greater West Dayton geography, which includes Arlington Heights, Carillon, Five Points, Lakeview, Little Richmond, MacFarlane, Residence Park, Roosevelt, Westwood and Wolf Creek.

Targeted areas given special consideration include Edgemont, Fairlane, Germantown Meadows, Highview Hills, Madden Hills, Miami Chapel, Pineview and Stoney Ridge.

“They are the neighborhoods directly impacted by the landfill,” Morris said. “They’re the ones who get the truck traffic, they’re the ones who get the smells, they’re the ones who are truly directly impacted.”

Last year, seven projects applied for grant funding, and three won awards. One application for funds has been submitted so far this year.

When the landfill is full, Waste Management’s deposits into the trust fund will cease, Morris said. The life expectancy of the landfill when it opened in the mid-1990s was about a dozen years.

But the landfill never reached capacity and was given authorization to expand a multiple times.

In 2014, the landfill was approved to increase its solid waste capacity vertically, extending its life for about 16 to 18 more years, officials said at the time.

But Kathy Trent, a spokesperson for Waste Management, said this month Stony Hollow Landfill could operate for about 20 more years.

“The number of years a landfill is expected to operate is based upon a number of items, including permitted disposal capacity, incoming waste types and volumes as well as technology changes in equipment over time,” she said.

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At the height of the program in 1996, the West Dayton development fund received $1.6 million in annual revenue from the landfill. Last year, revenue fell to a new low of $157,000, city documents show.

Payments into the fund fell sharply in 2003 because that’s when Waste Management lost its contract with Montgomery County to dump waste at the landfill, Morris said.

Earlier this year, however, the city and Waste Management reached a settlement worth $10.5 million to end litigation over the landfill.

The city reactivated the lawsuit after learning Waste Management years ago won back Montgomery County’s solid waste contact.

The city has received the first installment of Waste Management’s payment, and the second and final installment is expected probably later this year, city staff said.

The city still receives about 6 percent of gross receipts at Stony Hollow, and half of that revenue goes into the West Dayton Development Fund.

The fund balance was $182,971 last year, but rose to $228,745 this year.

Grant awards are project-specific, and an advisory board reviews and evaluates projects that apply for grant money

The grants are reviewed by city staff before they are submitted to a seven-member advisory board for consideration. The board then provides the city manager with a recommendation on whether to approve or deny the requests.

The city manager decides whether to send the funding requests to the city commission for final consideration and approval.