DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The City of Dayton will use millions of dollars in funding to start tearing down dilapidated and abandoned houses throughout the city over the next four years.

The City of Dayton used to not have it in the budget to take down all the blighted homes throughout the city, but since they’ve received American Rescue Plan Act Funds, and got feedback from residents, they’re making demolition a top priority.

“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve called down to the city inspection department to say, ‘this house is literally about to fall on the sidewalk,’ and the response was ‘ma’am, we don’t have any money,'” Dee Wooding with the West Right Project said.

Dee Wooding is a leader of the Westwood Right Project, which aims to stabilize and revitalize the Westwood neighborhood.

Wooding estimates there are at least 140 homes in Westwood that need to come down.

“It’s not only an eyesore, it’s a health concern, you have rodents living in these homes, you have safety concerns,” Wooding said.

Now, with the Dayton Recovery Plan, the city has designated $22 million to remove the blighted homes throughout Dayton neighborhoods.

“Almost every city neighborhood will be touched by this program,” Dayton Department of Planning Deputy Director Steven Gondol said.

The city is taking American Rescue Plan Act funds, combined with three other funding sources, to remove more than 1,000 vacant or abandoned houses.

They’ll start with the piles caused by fires, then work street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood.

“That was really our goal,” Gondol said. “Let this be impactful, let people really feel that the blight has been resolved, that we have now opened up the landscape for redevelopment.”

The city estimates it will take up until the end of 2026 to tear down all the houses they’ve identified as problems.

Wooding said what the city is doing is a great first step, but once the buildings come down, Wooding wants to see funding from the city go to revitalization.

“We don’t want a community that all you have is vacant lots,” Wooding said. “We want to see a plan for revitalization, and that is what the Westwood Right Project is advocating for.”

Gondol said the city also does not want to leave behind empty lots after this project.
They plan to work with community partners, several of which were funded through the Dayton Recovery Plan, to redevelop in those areas.