In Dayton, Ohio, officials are counting on mixed-use development to give downtown a shot in the arm. Traditionally an office and light industry district, the downtown area waned following the construction of Interstate 675 in the mid-1980s. Now, revitalization plans call for creating 1,000 new jobs, increasing the number of visitors by 10 percent and adding 100 market-rateunits in each of the next five years.
The city plans to meet those goals by: * Encouraging businesses to locate and remain downtown. Increasing and diversifying downtown businesses are common goals of the city and the Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP), the special improvement district that led the downtown planning. DDP and city officials partner to recruit and market downtown, with city officials supplying incentives when possible.
For example, the $500,000 renovation of the commercial Mumma Building by locally based Duvall Associates, included $60,000 in public financing. The city also is redeveloping brownfields and is providing infrastructure improvements to make the area attractive to businesses.
* Creating entertainment amenities to lure businesses and individuals downtown. To help expand downtown's active hours beyond 5 p.m., the city, county and DDP are creating attractions including a performing arts center, RiverScape Park and a minor league baseball field.
The arts center will be built on the site of a demolished department store. It will provide 60 to 80 units of rental and condominium housing, 115 to 125 hotel rooms, a parking garage and a winter garden, in addition to performance space. The project is driven by private interests with additional city and county money and substantial state funding.
The RiverScape project, led by DDP with Montgomery County managing construction and finances, involves creation of a downtown park with an interactive fountain that becomes an ice skating rink during the winter. A trail honoring local inventors, including the Wright Brothers, also is planned. The $25 million project is funded by private interests, the Miami Valley Regional Transit Authority, Montgomery County and eight suburban communities.
Closely linked to the RiverScape, a minor league baseball stadium will "provide an anchor for downtown," according to County Administrator Deborah Feldman. Home to the new Dayton Dragons, the stadium is scheduled to open this spring. The project was funded by the city with some private support and $6 million from the county in cash and a land transaction.
* Promoting market-rate housing downtown. Attracting housing developers remains one of Dayton's biggest challenges for revitalization, says Joe Tuss, director offor the city. Current housing projects include the Beaver Power Building Loft Housing Redevelopment, which will provide 108 market-rate units this fall. Public financing accounts for $650,000 of the $11 million investment.
Major entertainment projects are scheduled for completion by 2003, when Dayton celebrates 100 years of flight by honoring the Wright Brothers. The plan provides development strategies for the downtown districts through 2007, when the city will revisit the plan.