DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – For a long list of reasons, there are many neighborhoods in Dayton that are not what they used to be.
For many of the same reasons, most of them can’t, don’t or won’t do much about it, but there is one shining exception.
Just eight years ago, Dayton’s Twin Towers neighborhood found itself in double trouble.
One-fourth of its homes were vacant and deteriorating. Some were operating as crack houses and the youngest residents were paying the price.
“What we noticed is that the children were not doing well they were not doing well in school there were more kids who dropped out than who graduated it was pretty terrible,” said Jan Lepore-Jentleson, East End executive director.
It called for drastic measures, so they called in the bulldozers. East End Community Services, along with the city and other partners, launched an $18 million revitalization project called Twin Towers Crossing.
“What East End Community Services has done is literally rebuild this neighborhood. They have knocked down more than 100 blighted homes in a 16 square block area and built in their place more than 80 single family homes.”
The transformation has been dramatic. The streets are now lined with new, affordable, energy efficient homes that are leased with the option to purchase. Building homes is just the beginning.
“Build community, build relationships among the neighbors and they begin to have a stake in that community. They care about it, they care about their neighbors and most importantly they care about the kids.”
East End also offers educational, job and support programs for children and families, many at Ruskin School which mirrors the Twin Towers design.
Most of all, it offers hope to young people looking to break free and break the cycle.
“When they come over the bridge on McClure Street and that beautiful mural that was done with so many partners, it says people care about not only the community, but about them and that gives a young person hope for the future.”