Fate of alcohol sales rests on two homes

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Imagine Oktoberfest where beer sales are illegal.

Depending on the fate of two homes in the area of Grafton Hill, it could be reality.

“That is not our primary objective,” said Cheryl Bates with the Grafton Hill Neighborhood Association. “We are trying to create a win-win situation where everybody gets what they need.”

The Grafton Hill Neighborhood Association wants to save two homes on Grafton Avenue. Those two homes, sitting on properties owned by the Dayton Masonic Center, are on land that will become a parking lot for the Masonic Temple.

Grafton Hill is home to the Dayton Masonic Center and the Dayton Art Institute which hosts large events like Oktoberfest, the Art Ball, and several weddings.

Bates said they want the homes moved to another plot of land instead of being demolished.

The battle to save those homes could boil over into making Grafton Hill a “dry” precinct if the homes are destroyed.

“The idea that we might pursue voting a precinct dry is simply a last resort,” said Bates.

The area where the homes sit is planned to become a parking lot and a kitchen entrance for deliveries.

In order to reach a compromise, the Dayton Masonic Center offered an agreement to the neighborhood association giving them time to move the homes. During that time, construction would begin on the empty lots around the homes.

“An agreement was reached with the Grafton Hill Neighborhood Association (owned by several of their residents) that we could perform a curb cut, to develop and construct an entrance to the west side of our building, but parking on that side of the building would be minimal,” said the Dayton Masonic Center in a statement to 2 News. “We also agreed to give the Grafton Hill Neighborhood Association (or Development Company) access to the buildings. We further gave them one year to organize and obtain financing to move the properties.”

An offer was also made to the Grafton Hill Neighborhood Association to buy the two homes for $1 each. But the neighborhood association said that offer would come after the homes were lifted off their foundations.

Until the homes are safely moved to an empty lot on Central Avenue, there is a potential for alcohol sales to be banned in Grafton Hill.

“I understand they want the houses moved,” said Bates. “Whether they are torn down or moved, it shouldn’t make any difference to them. They’re gone either way.”

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