New homes to be built in Dayton neighborhood

A new $4.9 million affordable housing project could increase homeownership and reduce blight in a West Third Street neighborhood, officials say.

Construction has started by St. Mary Development Corp. on 43 new single family homes in the area of West Third Street past North James H. McGee Boulevard.

The houses are offered lease-to-own with qualified renters having the chance to buy the house at a discount after 15 years.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday at the corner of Edison and North Mathison Streets for the project, called Roosevelt Homes.

The houses are being built in a priority development area for the city of Dayton.

The typical renter is a single mother and/or someone who’s never owned a home before, said Tim Bete, executive vice president of St. Mary Development, a Dayton nonprofit developer.

“For most of these people, they don’t have the money to buy it outright,” Bete said. “The nice thing about it is they learn home maintenance, mowing the lawn—it eases them in.”

Each new house built replaces about two blighted properties, said Amy Riegel, manager of Dayton’s community development division. The new housing will follow recent construction in the area of the Greater Dayton Recreation Center at Roosevelt Commons and the Dayton Boys Prep Academy, Riegel said.

“It will be an improvement to the housing stock within that neighborhood,” she said. “These are blighted structures that were not inhabited.”

LaShea Smith, Dayton’s director of recreation and youth services, said it’s a win-win.

“Our recreation center serves that community, so to be able to have new families in the area and be able to offer them an amenity I think is a great thing for us. There’s a lot of empty, vacant housing immediately behind our property, so to add new, vibrant housing can only help the community,” Smith said.

This brings the number of affordable houses built in the Dayton area by St. Mary to about 250 houses since 2005, Bete said. The most recent project involved building about 30 homes on Dayton’s East Third Street corridor. In October, St. Mary will break ground on apartments on the campus of the Dayton VA Medical Center meant for senior military veterans.

Eventually, Bete hopes to build more housing in the same area as Roosevelt Homes.

“We’re hoping these neighborhoods will turn around so in 15 years this a great place to live,” he said. “It can really change the dynamics of a neighborhood.”

The project is funded by federal stimulus money and tax credits — a group of large corporate investors pay most of the project’s cost in exchange for the credits. Approximately $1.2 million of Dayton Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds went to pay for demolition, property acquisition and construction, Riegel said.

Contact this reporter at (513) 705-2551 or Follow this reporter on Twitter @ChelsLevingston

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