City Grant Used to Advance Dayton Neighborhood – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio

DAYTON – The City of Dayton is looking to spend more than $60,000 to revitalize a neighborhood in west Dayton.

News Center 7 spoke to city planners and residents of the Westwood neighborhood about what they hope this latest investment will do to stabilize and provide more opportunity for the area.

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The city said the grant money will help fund a future economic development and housing plan for the Westwood neighborhood, which is a place the city says is well worth the investment.

“It’s new to the neighborhood. It’s something that residents and stakeholders brought to us as something they wanted,” said Tony Kroeger, who is the director of the city’s planning commission.

The Westwood neighborhood is one of the largest in the city, twelfth in size and seventh in population. The study will focus more on housing economics than any other area, and it is long overdue.

“A neighborhood plan, specifically for Westwood hasn’t been done in my time here, it’s about 15 years,” Kroeger said.

City leaders said the $62,000 grant will help plan the sprawling neighborhood bounded by West Third Street, Gettysburg Avenue, James H. McGee and Wolf Creek.

Residents said they were optimistic about the potential plan.

“Dayton is coming back, but it’s going to take time,” resident Clarence Long said. Long also admits to being a bit pessimistic about how the process might unfold.

“Amazing how much money they spend and then it doesn’t go where it’s supposed to go,” Long said.

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City leaders said the money will be used to hire a consultant who will hold community meetings to develop community priorities and a plan to achieve them. Work has already been done to end the degraded and dangerous conditions here.

“The neighborhoods have changed a lot. It’s not as dense as before. There was a lot of demolition there,” Kroeger said.

City planners said there was more to do, but they spent as much money on nuisance abatement here as in any other part of town. Taking a drive down the street shows some of the empty lots, as well as a mix of new and older housing, some of which may need to be demolished.

“It could be a bigger, cleaner, greener neighborhood if it’s done right,” Kroeger said.

Most of the study will focus on housing since the neighborhood is almost entirely made up of single-family homes and heavily residential. Neighborhood residents said they would also like attention to be paid to potential retail opportunities.

“We need stores, we need groceries, we need places where you can spend your money without going 15 to 20 miles,” Long said.

There has already been a concentrated effort to replace older housing with newer homes and bring the neighborhood up to standard. Residents hope the new study is more than words on paper and will move the community forward.

Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims said he’s glad the federal government and the Biden administration have made grants like this possible.

Mims said the grant will be used to help prioritize what needs to be done in the neighborhood.

City leaders said they estimate it would take about a year to hire a consultant, hold community meetings and develop plans and priorities.

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