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Residents Give Input On Largest Grant In Dayton History

An image of downtown Dayton, overlaid with the American flag and the words The American Rescue Plan Act.
City of Dayton website

Dayton is set to receive the largest grant in city history, according to city officials. About $138 million in federal aid will be distributed through the American Rescue Plan Act. The city is seeking local feedback throughout July to hear what community members want to prioritize.

Residents, business owners and workers can give input at neighborhood meetings on how to prioritize six focus areas determined by the city government. The areas include funding for neighborhoods, amenities, major catalytic projects, city projects, community investments and external awards. The federal dollars could potentially go towards sidewalk improvements, local businesses or city projects addressing crime.

On Friday, about 20 people brainstormed in small groups at the Montgomery County Business Solutions Center. Residents talked about wanting money spent on parks and swimming pools, paving neighborhood streets, and mental health services.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said using the funds to advance racial diversity, equity and inclusion is a priority.

“We are really focused on West and Northwest Dayton,” she said, noting that these communities were impacted the most by the pandemic. “There are opportunities for us to drive investment into West and Northwest Dayton.”

David K. Greer is the chairman of the Northwest Priority Board, a community organization. He attended the meeting and said the city is saying all the right things.

“If you could ever say the right things, the right things have been said, but we've got to get tangibles from what those narratives are,” he said. “We have to have that component of accountability in place.”

The city has five more meetings scheduled later this month:

Wednesday, July 14 at 5:00 p.m. – Lohrey Recreation Center
Thursday, July 15 at 5:30 p.m. – Wesley Community Center
Wednesday, July 21 at 10:30 a.m. – Lohrey Recreation Center
Monday, July 26 at 3:00 p.m. – Connor Child Health Pavilion
Tuesday, July 27 at 12:30 p.m. – Dayton Metro Library, Downtown