Can A Neighborhood Improve Without Gentrifying? WYSO’s Lewis Wallace Talks To Jan Lepore-Jentleson

Dec 5, 2013

Twin Towers in Dayton. St. Mary's Church, in the background, is central to the neighborhood's history.
Credit Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The Twin Towers neighborhood in Dayton was established more than a hundred years ago, and it’s been through a lot. Recently 84 new houses opened in the area for low-income families through a public-private partnership organized by East End Community Services. But what does this mean for a neighborhood trying to turn itself around?


Jan Lepore-Jentleson, the director of East End Community Services, says she’s not worried about gentrifying the neighborhood and pushing people out. She’s more concerned about meeting basic needs: 63% of the children in Twin Towers live below the poverty level, and their parents face problems with jobs and quality housing.

“You can always get a fast food job,” she says, “but you can’t raise a family on a fast food job.”

Lepore-Jentleson says Twin Towers used to be thriving neighborhood, but over the years, the quality of the rental homes declined and the neighborhood saw massive turnover exacerbated by the departure of manufacturing jobs.

“Under Construction” is WYSO’s series on growth in the greater Dayton area. We dig underneath the physical and economic markers of growth to look at the human consequences. Check back Thursdays for new installments.