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Dayton Seeks Input On Plan To Address Blight, But Neighborhood Group Says It’s Not Enough

A half-finished demolition site in Dayton View West Dayton
Juliet Fromholt
A half-finished demolition site in Dayton View

Monday is the last day for Dayton-area residents to give feedback on a five-year plan for community development that addresses issues like safety and blight.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gives out millions in funds under several grant programs based on what’s called a consolidated plan, which Dayton and Kettering submit jointly. Dayton’s planning director, Aaron Sorrell, says the purpose of the five-year HUD plan is to “assess the community’s needs from all angles,” including infrastructure, housing and workforce development. Much of the money received from HUD goes to demolition, but it also covers public housing and safety programs as well as road and bridge upgrades.

As part of planning for the 2016-2020 consolidated plan, the city is required to get public feedback. But a new group called Neighborhoods Over Politics says Dayton hasn’t done enough to reach regular people, especially on the west side, about what the priorities should be.

“Everyplace else seems to be getting their needs met, but no matter how loud the people over here yell, scream and holler for help, they’ve been ignored,” says Yvette Kelly Fields, director of the Wesley Community center.

Neighborhoods Over Politics, a grassroots group of several dozen individuals mostly based in West Dayton, has been pushing for a neighborhood-by-neighborhood plan for demolition and redevelopment.

Sorrell says the city’s doing what it can with the resources it has, and has met with many organization heads and stakeholders as part of the public involvement process since June. He also says HUD requires a very technical, long document with specific constraints.

“This community took it on the chin during the mortgage foreclosure meltdown,” says Sorrell. “The neighborhoods that Neighborhoods Over Politics are concerned about were some of the hardest hit…they got devastated.”

The city will also face a likely cut of about 3.5 percent from the Community Development Block Grant funds, which make of the bulk of the money tied to the consolidated plan. The project 2016 total for entitlement grants from HUD is $6,322,529, down from this year’s $6,606,614.

The draft document can be requested from Erin Jeffries by emailing erin.jeffries@daytonohio.gov. A final version is due to HUD in November, and people who want to give feedback can still show up at a meeting Monday at 5:30pm on the 6th floor of City Hall, 101 W. 3rd Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402.

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