The work at the center will focus on reducing poverty, educating individuals and families and creating pathways to employment, advocates said.
Omega Baptist Church acquired the property in 2005 and this year, the church completed the Omega Senior Lofts, a complex of senior apartments located adjacent to the Hope Center site, noted Daryl Ward, pastor emeritus of Omega and father of Pastor Joshua Ward.
The younger Ward said the church’s mission is to serve families and communities.
“With this project, we ensure that our shared vision, with the Omega Community Development Corp. ... with all of these community partners, of making Dayton a better place for everyone who lives works and plays here will continue not just for the next five years or the next 10 years, but for generations,” Joshua Ward said.
Al Wofford, board chair of the Omega CDC, called the ground-breaking a “milestone that we have been pursuing for several years.”
Rev. Vanessa Ward, president of the Omega CDC and pastor emerita of Omega Baptist Church, also hailed the moment. In 2014, the vision of a social-, health- and educational-services center began to coalesce, she said.
“Out of those dream sessions came the concept of evidence-based two-generation model for sustaining families who are finding it difficult to move from poverty to sustainable living with sustainable wages,” she said.
The Dayton Region New Market Fund, affiliated with CityWide Development Corp., advanced the project this summer with $8 million in federal new market tax credits.
Omega Baptist Church commissioned the nonprofit Omega CDC to develop the master plan for the overall grounds, with an eye on a larger campus revitalization of the former United Theological Seminary campus.
The 32-acre campus is found in the Dayton View Triangle neighborhood.
The groundbreaking was streamed live on Facebook Friday morning.