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Funk Music Hall of Fame moving to Trotwood in 2024

The Funk Music Hall of Fame and Exhibition Center will occupy the old Sears building in Trotwood, Ohio.

In 2024, an iconic Dayton music museum is moving to Trotwood, Ohio — joining the effort to revitalize the former site of the Salem Mall. The Funk Music Hall of Fame and Exhibition Center will occupy the old Sears building. WYSO’s Kathryn Mobley spoke with Chad Downing — executive director of the Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation. He says this partner is a natural fit for the city’s larger development plans.

Chad Downing: As we're going to be working with them to now take this new opportunity to come and locate in about 15,000, maybe upwards of 20,000 square feet in this building and build out this that the long term vision they've had for the funky center. So we can really establish its cultural heritage right here in the city of Trotwood.

Kathryn Mobley: Why partner with the Funk Center?

Downing: This is a very natural fit. Some of the more popular and famous funk legends, some of them came right from Trotwood with the Zapp band, Roger Troutman have a long history here in the community, and it really brings in an element that was missing from this. Also, create an amphitheater-like space where we can create outdoor programming. But also it will go a long way to show that this is going to be a site that's going to attract people not only from Trotwood surrounding communities, but really from across the globe, quite frankly, who will be coming in and be coming to see this center so we can help attract other restaurants, other types of commercial that may see this as a benefit to locate next to this. And we really see this as a true force multiplier and is going to increase the success rates for both our projects now coming together under one roof.

Mobley: Chad, you also want to attract area food entrepreneurs.

Downing: How part of the Sears and Salem Mall redevelopment? So turning the former auto center, which really lends itself in its layout to creating a community style market and creating a space for these food entrepreneurs growing, selling or even making food based products with items that are grown and made here. We also have the small food entrepreneurs that are seeking to open restaurants or maybe have a food truck or semi-permanent options who have had struggles to find a good brick and mortar location within the community. So we're going to be able to use this as a way to incubate not only these other food producers, but some of our local restaurateurs who want to begin to establish themselves, build a brand in the market.

Mobley: You're also working to support small businesses. What are they looking for?

Dowing: Many of our small businesses looking for resources and having them closer to where they're located, going downtown, it could be a 30 minute trip, their 30 minute trip back, depending on where you are in Trotwood or even in one of our neighboring communities in the northwest quadrant of the county. So how can we bring those resources closer? You know, if you're somebody who uses bus transport or public transport is your primary mode of transportation. That time even gets longer. So that disincentivizes people to utilize those resources, or maybe they're not using it, utilizing them as effectively as they could. So we've been engaging with those and other organizations that provide those types of resources to come and provide those right here as well, whether it be a satellite location or full time. But through that, then also creating the opportunity for potential co-working space or even some small makers manufacturing space.

What we know is we have a lot of small businesses who are operating out of their homes. So why can't we step into that and make sure that our businesses have that place where they can meet with clients, where they can come in and organize together, collaborate and bring most of those resources that we've really seen adopted with the sharing economy when it comes to workspaces.

Mobley: And that builds into your other initiative, workforce development. Why is it needed in Trotwood?

Downing: Many of these resources are in the region. They're downtown. They're maybe on the other side of Dayton. And what we're trying to do is bridge the gap. So these resources are available right here in the community. The unique thing about this specific site is that it's located right next to the RTA Regional Transit Authority's western hub. So for those who utilize bus transportation or public transportation as their primary means of mobility, they can have full access to this site. All the bus lines that go through that area all come right next to this location. So we believe that we can help really bridge that gap and bring those resources here.

Kathryn Mobley is an award-winning broadcast journalist, crafting stories for more than 30 years. She’s reported and produced for TV, NPR affiliate and for the web. Mobley also contributes to several area community groups. She sings tenor with World House Choir (Yellow Springs), she’s a board member of the Beavercreek Community Theatre and volunteers with two community television operations, DATV (Dayton) and MVCC (Centerville).

Email: kmobley@wyso.org
Cell phone: (937) 952-9924