Miamisburg pilot project seeks to attack blight, drugs near downtown

The city of Miamisburg is teaming up with Wright State University, neighborhoods near downtown and businesses to rejuvenate residential areas as part of a pilot program, Made in Miamisburg. Part of the pilot area includes East Pearl Street. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF PHOTO

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The city of Miamisburg is teaming up with Wright State University, neighborhoods near downtown and businesses to rejuvenate residential areas as part of a pilot program, Made in Miamisburg. Part of the pilot area includes East Pearl Street. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF PHOTO

A city-sponsored pilot program aims at rejuvenating downtown area neighborhoods by combating blight, beefing up code enforcement and driving away drug use.

The year-long project, called Made in Miamisburg, focuses on upgrading an area with about 200 of the city’s older houses – many of them built before 1950 - north of downtown and east of the Great Miami River.

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The year-long initiative involves the business district, residents, Wright State University students and city staff working to “reinvigorate” the area through various programs and with the help of a Community Development Block Grant, said Miamisburg City Manager Keith Johnson.

“We’d like to measure how these neighborhoods improve after we’ve given them attention over a period of time,” he said. “And how it relates to reductions in drug overdoses, and reductions in the police going out to make visits based on domestic issues…..on code complaints about houses.

“If people are investing in their houses, if they’re organized through a neighborhood watch…does that improve the neighborhood? And we think it will.”

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The area was among four considered for the pilot project. It was chosen through survey responses and property assessments by WSU public administration grad students, according to the city.

It was “identified either through housing conditions, code complaints or through police activity,” Johnson said. “These are all areas that have high rental units….a lot of single parent households out there as well.

Yet, he said, “they are very energetic and excited about doing things to improve” their neighborhoods.

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Using a $75,000 Montgomery County grant and matching city funds, the program will assist residents in a variety of ways – repairing property, sidewalks, fire hydrants; replacing smoke detectors, street lights and street signs, according to the city.

“These areas – if they’re strong – help support the downtown corridor,” Johnson said. “And these areas if they begin crumbling – or become blighting influences - that also affects downtown investment.”

On Thursday and Friday, the Made in Miamisburg program will host a neighborhood garage sale from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Households between Main and Fourth streets and north of Central Avenue will be participating. In addition to their homes, sellers will also be able to use the vacant lot at 120 N. First St, to display their items.

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A key finding in the surveys was a desire for neighborhood watch groups, said Tom Thompson, Miamisburg assistant city manager and until last year a captain in the city’s police department.

A prime concern is drug activity, he said, as the number of overdose deaths in Miamisburg – as they have countywide – have surged in recent years.

“People are worried about drugs,” Thompson told city council members recently. “So we’ll be able to do some education through neighborhood watch groups. Hopefully, it sticks in this neighborhood and we continue to have that.”

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In the coming months as the initiative moves forward, Wright State’s students will return and reassess the homes, Johnson said.

“We’ll be able to measure (changes) by police calls, by overdoses, by code enforcement issues, by the condition of the houses – if this program works,” he said. “And we think it will.”


The following are among the initial steps the city is taking as part of the Made in Miamisburg initiative:

• Block party program kick-off;

• Installing complimentary smoke detectors;

• Community garage sale and large trash pick-up;

• Property maintenance remediation;

• Repairing sidewalks and curbs;

• Replacing street lights and street signs in poor condition;

• Landscape beautification;

• Neighborhood Watch Group monthly meetings.

Source: The city of Miamisburg

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