Summer events kick off with
Downtown Dayton Housing Tour


First Place at 330 W. First Street offers residents a prime location,
luxurious living spaces, and spectacular views.

By Sarah Monroe

One of the wonderful things (among many) about living in the city of Dayton and its surrounding areas is that there is no shortage of entertainment. We have the pride of a professional sports team, passionate local artists on display at numerous art galleries, live music literally every night of the week, a growing improv scene, and a hearty support system for live theatrical performances that is on par with any big city—in my humble opinion. I like to think of Dayton as the comeback kid. We have faced our own share of difficulties since our city’s inception along the Great Miami River in 1796, but every time we have been pushed down into the dirt, we get up with a greater tenacity than we had before. There is a drive within our communities to make this city better than it has ever been, a drive that is apparent when you look at the social activities that are available to us throughout the year, especially with the kickoff of the “Summer in the City,” that starts this May.

“That first weekend in May will be a doozy!” says Val Beerbower of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “Not only are we starting the DP&L Summer in the City with the first signature event (Downtown Housing Tour), the night before will be First Friday, complete with art gallery openings, live music, food and drink specials, and other entertainment. The fun continues Saturday with Derby Day in the District. When you’re all finished checking out downtown’s housing options, play games, shop sidewalk sales, enjoy Kentucky Derby-themed food and drink specials, and enjoy other entertainment in the Oregon District related to the big race.”

Summer in the City was formed in 2015 after a committee was assembled to investigate the levels of engagement that downtown Dayton was reaching. According to the review, street festivals were attracting a crowd into the city, but the influx of visitors weren’t necessarily leaving a positive impact on local businesses. The committee updated their strategy according to Val, “So people who enjoyed our events also learned more about navigating the city, finding attractions and businesses, and felt confident returning downtown independently. This model creates more long-term sustainability for our downtown business community. We developed the Summer in the City brand to reinforce the sheer volume of activities happening downtown on any given day,”
she reiterates.

The revitalization of the downtown Dayton area predates that, going all the way back to 2010. The Greater Downtown Dayton Plan was initiated and tasked with investigating other mid-sized cities that were successful and vibrant, a goal that they wanted Dayton to reach. The visual appeal of the city was the first undertaking to give rebirth to the streets, followed by an uptick in residential housing, and utilizing empty spaces for local businesses. This was done by a program called “Activated Spaces Pop-Up Shop,” a volunteer-based group that fills unoccupied street level storefronts with concept businesses and has produced many of the names that we have come to know such as Twist Cupcakery, The Vintage Barbershop, Spice Paradise, and the Baker Salvage Co., just to name a few.

As of 2017, “89,000 square feet of previously vacant first-floor spaces have been filled, representing a 21-percent increase in first-floor occupancy,” Val explains to me, “We nearly doubled the amount of residential units available downtown, and we’re still sitting at 97-percent occupancy rate for apartments. Small business is booming downtown; more than 70 startup businesses launched in first-floor spaces since 2010. Overall, we’ve seen more than 130 new start-ups since 2011.” On Saturday, May 5, you can view firsthand the beauty of downtown living via the Downtown Housing Tour. It is a self-paced excursion into the city, you can walk, take a free shuttle, or ride on a Link bike that is recognizable by its cheery green color. You’ll explore apartments, condominiums, and residential homes that surround the downtown area, as well as visit the local businesses that thrive in the area.

Throughout the summer there will be hundreds of activities that are free to little cost around Downtown Dayton, from weekday lunchtime activities and entertainment in Courthouse Square, to live music, fitness events, art exhibits, and theatrical entertainment. All of these activities don’t even touch the tip of the iceberg of what Downtown Dayton has to offer. We are lucky to live in a city that is always reinventing itself for the better. The hard-fought pride of our citizens is the pounding drum of this city’s heartbeat.     

More information about upcoming Summer in the City activities can be found at
www.downtowndayton.org.

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Sarah Monroe, a native to the Gem City, is currently writing her first novel. Reach DCP writer Sarah Monroe at contactus@daytoncitypaper.com

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