The City of Dayton, CityWide Development Corporation and Wright-Dunbar Incorporated have announced the formation of the region’s newest asset-based community collaboration to advance and improve the historic Wright-Dunbar area of west Dayton.
Through support from the City of Dayton’s West Dayton Development Fund, Wright-Dunbar, Inc., and CityWide, professional community development services will be provided to the Wright-Dunbar Board of Trustees to advance community and economic development in the near-downtown west Dayton district.
Efforts to redevelop and restore the greater Wright-Dunbar area began in earnest in 1990s, to prepare for the Centennial of Flight celebration in 2003. The initial work began through community leaders and Dayton Aviation Trail and focused on saving remaining buildings and sites linked to the historic achievements of the Wright brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar. This effort leveraged broad community support for the community’s restoration and more than $145 million in investment to date.
Wright-Dunbar, Inc., a non-profit community development corporation formed in 1999, continued this work through the restoration of the historic Third Street business corridor, returning many of the iconic buildings to their original grandeur. For the last decade, Wright-Dunbar, Inc., has worked diligently to improve conditions in the district, promoting its unique heritage and attracting business investment. The transformation of the greater Wright-Dunbar community has seen the rehabilitation and construction of new housing, new educational facilities, improved infrastructure, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park site and a business district that now boasts a pharmacy, two banks, art studios and a host of professional services.
The new collaboration recognizes the need to apply the best 21st century community development practices of building and strengthening partnerships to maximize leveraged investment and create economic and community sustainability. CityWide has over 40 years’ experience in community and economic development, and for the last 15 years has delivered comprehensive community development programs in the Dayton area.
- Management of real estate holdings.
- Creating redevelopment plans for key properties including working with developers and structuring financing to complete building renovations.
- Working with a Realtor to market certain Wright-Dunbar holdings to development partners who have clear business plans and the ability to secure financing.
- Building stronger relationships with the residential community surrounding the business district.
- Building strategic partnerships to bring more investment and interest to the community.
“CityWide believes in the potential of west Dayton and is proud to be part of this new collaborative,” said Steve Budd, President of CityWide.
The formalizing of this partnership follows in the footsteps of local collaborative efforts such as the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan, the Genesis Project, the Phoenix Project, the DaVinci Collaborative and the Dayton Public Schools Neighborhood School Centers Initiative, all of which have demonstrated the power of strategic partnership to leverage investment. The City of Dayton has tracked more than $3.6B in major investments in Dayton since 2001. Much of that investment has been asset- and collaboration-based.
“Over the last 20 years, the City’s asset-based investment and development strategy has been key to its ability to leverage and sustain economic and community development in Dayton” said Shelley Dickstein, Assistant City Manager.
“The City of Dayton has been a key partner in the revitalization of the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood and business district and we are grateful for their continued support. The Wright-Dunbar Board is pleased to have the opportunity to work with CityWide’s community development team who have a proven track record in community revitalization” said Harry Seifert, President and Chairman of Wright-Dunbar, Inc.
CityWide will report monthly to the Wright-Dunbar Board and submit written reports on progress to the City of Dayton quarterly. The initiative is designed to continue for three years. The value of staff support provided by the initiative’s three partners is estimated to be $92,000 annually.