Dayton sees drop in number of vacant buildings

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – 2 NEWS is making good on a promise to stay on top of a story, a land survey by the City of Dayton that would assess the condition of buildings in its jurisdiction. It also would determine if the millions of dollars invested in the effort to restore and demolish is working.

Dayton residents have complained of vacant, unstable buildings in their neighborhoods.

In July, city officials surveyed more than 74,000 properties, of which more than 53,000 are structures.

Officials said results were expected in September. When 2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé didn’t receive those, we kept checking.

4 months later, Edmé has obtained the survey’s results, and learned much has changed but there’s still work to be done.

For the “Gem City” it’s struggled with the outer appearance of the city.

Physically, a gem is special, breathtaking even. It’s that same reflection officials want the city to have, but a walk around the city may show something different.

“Lots of factors have led to the vacancy rate, including additional construction throughout the region despite a relatively flat population,” explained Aaron Sorrell, director of Dayton’s Department of Planning and Community Development.

“…between city funds, federal funds,state funds, it’s been about $18 million dollars,” to demolish Dayton’s vacant and unstable structures.

This Summer, more money,$140,000 federal dollars of $30 million recession recovery funding, went to study what’s working and what’s not.

According to Sorrell, the survey found, “There are less vacant structures then we had originally estimated.”

In 6 years, the city has removed 2,000 structures. About 6,000 vacant structures remain, which equal 12 percent of the buildings in Dayton.

The question is what does the city do with those buildings.

“We judge the properties on a 1 to 5 scale, 1 being best, 5 being worst and 5s are almost entirely demolition candidates,” the director explained.
“What we’re going to look into is the middle group the 3s.”

About 1,900 buildings are ranked at 3, and the city will decide which of those should be renovated to go onto market or demolished.

But some are sure to go, including some of the 500 buildings ranked at 4 and more than 160 ranked at 5.

Next step is strategizing for each neighborhood and getting more funding for demolition.

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