COMMENTARY: Partnerships can power economic development

You may think of DP&L as the energy provider for more than a half-million customers in the Miami Valley. However, throughout our communities, DP&L also serves as a dedicated civic partner who holds a role in job creation, expansion, and retention in the region —- a role DP&L has proudly supported for more than 100 years.

In the last few years, DP&L has invested millions in a wide range of projects designed to create and keep jobs in local communities, efforts that provide a strong economic base for future growth. Since 2011, these efforts have initiated more than 19,000 jobs, retained 51,000 more, and helped convert vacant commercial properties into active business space. These investments make the Miami Valley a better place to live and more attractive to businesses owners looking to make investments that keep our communities vibrant.

Through our Economic Development grants, we’re helping local businesses stay and prosper in their communities. We proudly partner with local development leaders including the Dayton Area Chamber, Dayton Development Coalition and CityWide in identifying the best opportunities to grow our community. Recently, DP&L’s $250,000 grant to Candle-Lite helped develop 50 new jobs and retained 417 others. This type of strategic investment is important to the business but also to the village of Leesburg, which Candle-Lite calls home. Our grants support dozens of companies including Clopay in Troy, Plastipak in Jackson Center, and JR Manufacturing in Ft. Recovery, investments that keep those communities strong and resilient.

Communities also need viable sites to offer potential new and expanding businesses. This is where our Sites Certification program comes in. Since 2014, DP&L has invested to help local communities make potential commercial sites build ready, meaning infrastructure, zoning and other critical build components are already in place. These certified sites help businesses get up and running faster, bringing jobs and pumping revenue into our local area. There are seven available sites ranging from 46 to more than 1,500 acres in communities as diverse as Xenia, Washington Courthouse and Dayton.

The DP&L Foundation has granted more than $38 million to community projects, and the funding will continue well into the future. The Foundation has assisted local groups with relief efforts and educational programs for children and job seekers. Recently, the Boonshoft Museum has received $100,000 and Crayons to Classroom $50,000 to support their efforts to provide a fun, safe, learning environments for children.

The DP&L Foundation understands the importance of arts in our community, and has supported Victoria Theatre Association, the Dayton Art Institute, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company to continue their innovative programs. DP&L has shown its commitment to workforce development by supporting organizations that help put people back to work. With a Foundation grant, Clothes that Work expanded its educational and job readiness programs for job seekers and Goodwill Easter Seals’ Miami Valley Works helps the unemployed and under employed learn new skills to help put them on the path to financial independence and stability.

DP&L stands alongside the efforts of thoughtful, committed citizens working to drive growth and prosperity. We have spent considerable effort to become an outstanding community partner by working with more than a dozen development groups seeking to spur regional development.

From our humble beginning in 1911, Dayton Power and Light has done more than keep the lights on. The company has worked tirelessly with local businesses and community groups to make investments in our region’s future by supporting local organizations that drive growth and create jobs. At DP&L, we want to help keep communities strong by making sure jobs are attracted to and remain in the Miami Valley. It’s a role we are proud of and look forward to continuing.

Tom Raga is Executive Vice President at DPL Inc., the parent company of Dayton Power & Light.

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