There’s been a conversation going on in Dayton over the past year–a discussion involving neighbors, businesspeople, community activists, elected leaders, city planners and administrators, financial analysts, and many others.
What’s the topic of that special conversation? Well, nothing more than the future of our city and an extraordinary opportunity to have a giant, positive impact on that future.
You may have already heard a few things about the Dayton Recovery Plan–a roadmap for helping our city emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, made possible by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and its $138 million grant to the City of Dayton.
Here are the priorities identified in the plan developed under my direction and adopted by the City Commission, following the community conversation involving meetings, a survey and other participation opportunities:
- Demolition of up to 1,000 blighted properties throughout Dayton;
- Park enhancements and eight additional spray parks (in addition to park improvements made possible by the voter-approved Issue 9 measure in 2016);
- Housing construction and renovation in targeted areas;
- Sidewalk/curb repairs and tree lawn upgrades in targeted areas;
- Support for black- and brown-owned businesses, economic development and job creation;
- Investment in essential City services and City facilities.
The plan provides a framework for infusion of ARPA funding into targeted areas and focus neighborhoods: Wolf Creek, Edgemont, Carillon, Miami Chapel, Five Oaks, Old North Dayton, Twin Towers and the Wright Factory Site in West Dayton, as well as other special investments across Dayton, all with a goal of disrupting multi-generational poverty, income, and health disparities, while enhancing the city as a community attracting further, ongoing investment.
An opportunity of this magnitude calls for what we might call a series of “I-words”: Inclusion (a broad community conversation); Imagination (creative problem-solving); and Investment (strategic, data-driven actions that can make a difference).
Though there’s currently a lull in the conversation, there is still much work going on to ensure the prudent finalization and then implementation of the Dayton Recovery Plan. That work involves evaluating available data to guide important decisions—for example, examination (on a case-by-case basis) of structure conditions, tax delinquencies, ownership status and more when making housing renovation plans, or analysis of neighborhood population data and trends to help determine new spray park locations.
During 2021, the City solicited applications from community groups and local businesses to apply for a portion of the recovery funds to address community needs. There were 93 eligible applications, with 42 recommended for potential funding. We expect the successful applications to be announced by the time spring flowers are in full bloom and awards to be finalized by mid-2022.
For more information on the Dayton Recovery Plan, visit the daytonohio.gov/arpa.