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Trotwood Residents Petition To Keep Target Open

Lewis Wallace

A citizens’ group has gathered1,700 signatures on a petition asking the Target store in Trotwood not to close. Target recently announced that its Trotwood and Middletown stores in the Dayton area are set to shut down May 3.

Trotwood city council member Bruce Kettelle compared the news from Target to a break-up.

“We’ve had a great relationship with Target over the years, and they’ve done great things in our community,” he said, and what really hurt was that Target didn’t even contact the city directly with the news. Most people in Trotwood learned about it from a Dayton Daily News article—kind of like getting dumped by text message.

“It just makes us sick to see it go,” said Kettelle.

“We felt as a city that we had a partnership between the local Target store and the city,” said City Manager Michael Lucking. That partnership included a property tax abatement of at least ten years to sweeten the deal for Target to come to Trotwood in 1998. Lucking is working to get the details on the abatement from county officials, but he believes the company owed it to the community to stay more than a few years past the tax break.

Of course, Target’s departure from the suburb west of Dayton is not just a story of broken relationships: Trotwood residents have been watching big box retailers pack up and go for years, taking property taxes and jobs out with them.

“This area has lost K-Mart, Cub Foods, Sears, and now we’re losing that Target store...it’s horrible,” said Rick Martin, who started a Facebook page called Keep Target in Trotwood. The Trotwood Target lies directly across from a boarded up K-Mart store and empty parking lot.

Martin and others are hopeful that residents' show of support for the store will convince Target to reconsider.

The strategy hasn’t worked yet: Target continues to have little communication with the city, despite the fact that, according to Lucking, city officials met with Target managers just days before they heard the news and were told that holiday sales were strong.

The corporation declined an interview with WYSO, but in an email, a representative says the company decided to shut down the Trotwood and Middletown stores after “careful consideration of the long-term financial performance.”

The two stores combined employ 170 people, some of whom will be offered transfers, although it was not clear from Target’s communications exactly how many.

The petition on Change.org is addressed to Target’s CEO and to the area’s federal elected officials, Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman and Representative Mike Turner.