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Wright factory site to be converted into public green space soon

The Wright airplane factory in West Dayton by the West Branch Library.
Alejandro Figueroa
The Wright airplane factory in West Dayton by the West Branch Library.

City officials and community members met at the Dayton West Branch Library Tuesday to discuss updates to the Wright brothers plane factory site.

Part of the 54 acre site surrounding the factory was formerly classified as a brownfield — an area that might contain hazardous materials — by the Ohio EPA.

After investing over $5.3 million, the city and its partners cleaned and remediated the area to a commercial standard, according to Veronica Morris of Dayton's Department of Planning, Neighborhoods and Development. The work allows for new development on the property.

One of those new developments is the new West Branch Library. The city has also secured funding to convert the surrounding area into a public green space.

Morris said the timing couldn’t be better for new development on the site.

“It's a perfect storm. The energy here is great, there’s a lot of redevelopment opportunities here,” Morris said. “In addition to the fact that now we have committed partners that want to come in and actually see great things and leverage investment here in southwest Dayton.”

The green space is planned to have walking paths, lighting and benches, although Morris added it is only temporary until the city finds more partners to attract new developments and businesses into the area.

The city still has to secure contracts with landscaping developers and expects the project to still take some months to develop, according to Morris.

Two of the five hangars from the Wright factory are in the process of being purchased by the National Park Service, according to Kendell Thompson, the superintendent of Dayton’s Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

He said there's a lot of potential for the factory, but there’s no solid plan yet on what the site will become.

“We don't know what we're going to have here forever yet,” Thompson said. “We’re learning about the factory and have some ideas of what we might want to put in it, but it's really a blank.”

As the city moves forward with revitalizing and redeveloping the area, it still encourages community members to add their input on what they want to see on the site.

Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Support for WYSO's reporting on food and food insecurity in the Miami Valley comes from the CareSource Foundation.

Alejandro Figueroa covers food insecurity and the business of food for WYSO through Report for America — a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Alejandro particularly covers the lack of access to healthy and affordable food in Southwest Ohio communities, and what local government and nonprofits are doing to address it. He also covers rural and urban farming

Email: afigueroa@wyso.org
Phone: 937-917-5943