DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – City leaders hope an effort to designate Dayton’s downtown neighborhood an historic district will lead to a faster revival of the city’s core.
It recently applied to become Ohio’s largest downtown historic district, submitting an area bordered in part by Monument Avenue, Sixth Avenue, I-75 and State Route 4.
Dayton Planning Division manager Tony Kroeger said the buildings within the proposed district represent a swath of the city’s history ranging from the mid-1800s to 1980.
“Nothing really can represent Dayton better than the story of downtown,” Kroeger said. “The highs, the lows, the struggles, the political change, the economic change, different market forces: all of these things combine to tell Dayton’s story.”
Kroeger explained the motivation behind the distinction is to streamline downtown’s revitalization. Rather than individually applying to be on the National Register of Historic Places, he estimates 87 buildings in the area, not already labeled as such, would qualify for state and federal historic tax credits.
For owners and developers looking to remodel or invest in preservation, the financial assistance could potentially save a year in development stages and close to $10,000 in consulting fees.
“It’s another economic tool that helps us revitalize downtown, specifically renovating underutilized buildings in our downtown,” said Sandy Gudorf, the president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.
Such tax credits helped with both the Dayton Arcade and Fire Blocks restoration projects. Gudorf hopes for similar success with a district-wide designation.
“The goal is to try to repurpose and save these historic buildings because you can’t get them anywhere else,” she said.
The city will present its case to the Ohio Historic Preservation Board on March 22. If the board approves its application, the Secretary of the Interior could sign off on the downtown historic district by late spring or early summer.