What’s life like in Dayton? Project offers answers to draw residents

Dayton wants and needs new residents after losing nearly half of its population in roughly the last 60 years. Now, a new project will try to help people find out which of the city’s 66 neighborhoods are the best match for them.

A city of Dayton planning consultant is launching the new, data-driven neighborhood marketing project, which is similar to programs in Cleveland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Detroit.

The program will create neighborhood profiles to provide information useful to housing-seekers, such as average home values, average house and lot sizes, and walkability and bikeability.

"It's a very interesting project," said Todd Kinskey, Dayton's director of planning and community development. "I think it's about showcasing what's going on in the neighborhoods."

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The Dayton project, which doesn't have an official name yet, is modeled after Live Cleveland!Live DetroitLive Baltimore and PittsburghCityLiving.com.

The online neighborhood profiles will feature photographs of properties in those areas and maps identifying retail districts, schools, parks and assets like hospitals, activity centers and bike paths.

“It’s really important in these initiatives to use a lot of imagery,” said Steve Gondol, a city of Dayton planning consultant who is leading the project. “It’s the best sales pitch for any city.”

Every neighborhood is different, and the profiles will tell each of their individual stories, Gondol said.

Gondol said he helped compile data on every neighborhood in Dayton that people could find valuable, such home sales, changes in residential sales prices and the age and length of time properties have been on the market.

The idea is to put information in a format people can use to make decisions about where they want to live, and context is important, he said.

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Home sales alone do not necessarily identify the hottest housing markets since neighborhoods vary in size, he said.

Belmont had the largest number of sales, but College Hill, Edgemont and Carillon had a greater share of sales, compared to the number of overall properties in the neighborhoods, he said.

Gondol said the project will share and update data to provide a tool showing objectively what’s going on in the real estate market.

Gondol said they plan to work with neighborhood leaders to help build profiles that accurately captures the areas’ sense of place and what it’s like to live there.

“It’ll be a thesis of what’s great about their neighborhoods,” he said.

The city owns a couple of website domains that could be used for the project, including Live Dayton or Live in Dayton. The website name has not been selected yet.

Gondol served as the executive director of Live Baltimore between 2011 to 2017. He stepped down when he moved to Dayton with his wife, who accepted a job with a family business.

Dayton has long wanted to attract new residents and grow its population.

In 1960, the city had about 262,000 residents. Today, it has a population of about 141,000.

Dayton living, by the numbers

66 — Neighborhoods recognized by the city

262,000 — Dayton population in 1960

141,000 — City population in 2019

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