A Road Map for Growing the New Dayton
The Dayton of today is incrementally and steadily repositioning itself for a new generation of economic vibrancy. We have significant assets that provide stability and growth as well as opportunities to reimage and grow a healthier and greener city for Dayton’s citizens in the future.
Nan Whaley understands that leveraging assets to encourage smart growth is a difficult task and can only be achieved through smart leadership. As an advocate for Dayton’s future and candidate for Mayor, Whaley is committed to building a thriving, vibrant community that provides opportunities for everyone in every part of the city. She believes efforts to build the new Dayton must integrate the following principles:
- Formulate rational and realistic goals — the ideas must be doable and achievable.
- Leverage our resources — the ideas must take advantage of Dayton’s assets.
- Support collaboration — the ideas must have willing, engaged and enthusiastic partners that share a common vision.
This “Road Map for Growing the New Dayton” will provide Commissioner Whaley’s plans for building this new Dayton, adhering to the principles of smart leadership mentioned above. It will provide an outline of Whaley’s goals and objectives in key areas impacting the lives of Dayton’s citizens and important to nurturing a growing, thriving community of the future.
The Road Map:
- A Jobs Vision for Dayton
- A Vision for Thriving Dayton Neighborhoods
- A Vision for an Open Vibrant Dayton
A Jobs Vision for Dayton:
Dayton has many opportunities to grow jobs, not only in the city but throughout the entire region. Nan Whaley recognizes that the region’s assets can be used to promote efforts to retain, attract and create jobs that will grow the long term economy of our city and improve the livelihoods of its residents.
Community Asset—An Abundance of Water
The water system must first continue to provide first class water and sewer service to our customers. But it must also act as the economic development opportunity it actually possesses. If we do not do this, we are not using the water system to its full potential.
Attract Large Commercial Water Users. Nan Whaley will support a long-term strategy of attracting breweries, computer chip processing companies and other businesses that need large amounts of water. Leveraging this community resource is a meaningful way to attract new businesses that will bring new jobs as well as bolster our underground aquifer.
Develop Water as an Energy Source. Nan Whaley will champion discussions to create geothermal utility districts throughout the city. Geothermal technology may provide opportunities to provide a clean, cost effective energy source that will benefit the region and its residents and lower energy costs.
Create Green Corridors. Nan Whaley supports endeavors to create green corridors throughout the city. As we update our water system infrastructure, Whaley supports efforts to bury overhead power and transmission lines and grow emerald corridors of tree-lined streets that result in more attractive and desirable thoroughfares. Additionally, this is an opportunity to improve our city’s fiber infrastructure.
Community Asset—Dayton International Airport
The Dayton International Airport is a $1 billion asset that served more than 1.3 million passengers in 2012. It is a centrally located, modern day port with unmatched convenience and accessibility, a prime location for expansion both as a commercial passenger and cargo facility.
Invest in Modernization Efforts. Nan Whaley will continue to support capital projects to update and modernize the airport terminals, runways and other facilities. Maintaining the airport as a modern transportation hub recognizes its importance as a jobs generator and economic anchor.
Develop a Comprehensive Transportation Plan. Nan Whaley favors the development of a comprehensive transportation plan for this region. A strategic plan that connects our various transportation centers together – road, rail and air — will allow the region to more readily take advantage of its ideal location as a travel and freight hub to further economic growth.
Community Asset—Education & Workforce Development
With the recent completion of the Dayton Public Schools rebuilding program and the success of the groundbreaking work of the neighborhood school centers, Dayton is poised to refocus on the relationships that can create a successful workforce. Linking schools, neighborhood faith-based anchors, service organizations, cultural institutions, neighborhoods and the assets of the city as a giant classroom, we can create conditions of opportunity to grow a successful workforce and prepare our young people for the growing number of technology-oriented jobs.
Support the Learn to Earn Initiative. Nan Whaley supports this initiative to increase the percentage of adults in the Dayton Region with a college or post-secondary degree to 60% by 2025. Investment in our children’s education must be viewed as the long term economic development plan for our region and the best path towards job growth for our citizens.
Champion the Local Public School System. Nan Whaley sees the role of Mayor as the local school superintendent’s partner in supporting and championing Dayton Public Schools. We can connect with our residents and encourage their participation in our neighborhood schools through mentorship programs and by celebrating educational attainment. We must create a culture of learning throughout our community.
Support Workforce Development. The region’s job base has changed significantly over the past decade. In order to compete for the jobs of today and tomorrow, we must retool not only some of our factories but also reskill our workforce. Nan Whaley supports the continued collaboration and the leadership of Sinclair Community College to train Daytonians so they can win in today’s competitive job market.
Community Asset—The Greater Downtown
For the 42,000 men and women who work there, Greater Downtown Dayton is more than the visual and symbolic center of our region. With more than seven million visitors per year, a student population of 40,000 and annual sales revenue of $5 billion, it represents the strategic economic foundation for both Dayton and the entire region. A thriving and prosperous downtown is a key element to Dayton’s future job growth.
Champion the Greater Downtown Plan. Nan Whaley will continue to advance and champion the Greater Downtown Plan as developed by Dr. Mike Ervin and hundreds of other dedicated community volunteers. This plan is a portal through which Dayton’s growing community of creative young professionals is taking ownership of our city, generating changes that fit into the new vision of the 21st century Midwestern city. Whaley will work with building owners, investors and developers to create incentives for rehabilitating vacant and underutilized downtown buildings to infuse new economic life and create an 18-hour-a-day thriving street level environment.
Invest in Downtown Housing. Nan Whaley will promote and support investment in more market rate housing in downtown Dayton. The current occupancy rate for downtown housing exceeds 90%. Adding a significant number of new housing units is a key ingredient for an economically competitive and sustainable downtown.
Develop a Comprehensive Parking Plan. Nan Whaley supports the development of a comprehensive downtown parking system that is meaningful, interconnected and hassle-free. Parking downtown – valet, on-street parking, surface lots and garages – must become the supportive underpinning of our downtown that encourages growth.
Community Asset—Health and Education Campuses
The various health and education campuses located throughout the city have proven to be strong anchors to our neighborhoods and their residents. These campuses are economic engines, bringing jobs and vibrancy to our neighborhoods. As these campuses grow and thrive, so does our city.
Strengthen Initiatives to Accelerate Growth. Nan Whaley will promote opportunities to continue to build on the strong relationships between our neighborhoods and our health and education campuses. She will support initiatives that encourage these campuses to be job importers, creating employment opportunities for Dayton’s citizens. An example of this is the recent expansion of the Veteran’s Administration mission to create veterans housing on its campus.
Encourage the Redevelopment of the Fairgrounds and Waterfront. Nan Whaley will partner and encourage efforts to redevelop the Montgomery County Fairgrounds and areas along the city’s waterfront. These locations are some of the strongest development opportunities in the entire region and could contribute to a number of projects including the work of the University of Dayton to grow the community’s research and development initiatives.
Community Asset—Manufacturing Base
Making high quality products has been a key part of the local economy and will continue to be so in the future. Without manufacturing the Midwest and its cities cease to be a meaningful economic generator for America and the world.
Focus on Advocacy and Workforce Development. Nan Whaley formed the city’s Manufacturing Task Force as a Dayton City Commissioner to leverage the region’s infrastructure and advocate for state and federal policies that encourage manufacturing. The development of long-term strategies that encourage the reuse of manufacturing facilities, attract high tech manufacturing jobs and will prepare our workforce for the new, highly technical jobs of the future is an important part of Whaley’s jobs vision.
Community Asset—Spirit of Entrepreneurship
We must recognize that a Fortune 500 company is more likely to be grown in Dayton than to move to Dayton. This region has a rich history of entrepreneurship that must continue to be cultivated.
Recruit Small Businesses. Nan Whaley supports recruitment efforts that target businesses with less than fifty employees and have a high potential for growth. The Entrepreneurs Center and Tech Town should be promoted as an attractive option for growing these small businesses. Additionally, the city should work with downtown property owners to identify and create low cost locations for small startups as well as offer tax incentives to attract and retain these businesses.
Develop an Outreach Plan. Nan Whaley will promote the development of an aggressive outreach plan for small business owners and startups. Through the creation of a Council of Entrepreneurs, we can promote our local success stories and initiate a social media campaign to reach entrepreneurs throughout the country, recruiting business plan competition winners, incubators and other job creators.
Community Asset—Wright Patterson Air Force Base
Wright Patterson Air Force Base stands out as one very bright spot for the Dayton region over the past decade with an economic impact of more the $5 billion annually. The base employs 27,000 military personnel, civilians and contractors as well as thousands of support personnel working off–base. As the federal government continues to look for ways to consolidate bases and functions, Wright Patterson Air Force Base continues to provide opportunities for growth.
Attract Defense-related Businesses. Nan Whaley will work with the city’s Aerospace Hub partners to establish explicit goals for attracting defense-related businesses and jobs. Meeting these goals will require staff members who understand the Air Force, who understand the various needs of defense contractors in terms of space and location, and who are directed to build a close working relationship with the Dayton Development Coalition, the Hub, the University of Dayton and others.
Strengthen the Connection between the City and the Base. Nan Whaley will do more to promote the city’s housing, entertainment, cultural and educational opportunities to those who work at the Base. Many of the people employed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base are young, professional and technical workers, exactly the demographic who may want to live and play in the city. Building on the historical connection between the City of Dayton and WPAFB will benefit the entire region.
A Vision for Thriving Dayton Neighborhoods:
Dayton has always been a mosaic of unique neighborhoods differing in character, assets and challenges. There are 65 neighborhoods within Dayton’s boundaries. Nan Whaley believes that recognizing the differences in each of these neighborhoods, building upon them and focusing on quality of life issues is the key to fostering a healthy, thriving city where its residents can raise their children and nurture their families, develop meaningful relationships and can be proud to call Dayton their home.
Providing Excellent City Services
Nan Whaley’s first priority is maintaining strong city services for every neighborhood while increasing our investment in the public infrastructure. Excellent city services and an attractive public infrastructure is the basic foundation for any city renaissance.
Focus on Service Delivery. As Mayor, Nan Whaley will be relentless in demanding that citizens in every neighborhood be provided excellent customer service in the delivery of basic services. The city’s most recent public opinion survey indicated a high level of satisfaction in the delivery of city services. Whaley is committed to not only maintaining but improving upon this high level of satisfaction.
Monthly Billing for Water Service. Nan Whaley supports monthly billing for water services. This will allow Dayton homeowners to better manage their monthly budgets and will benefit both landlords and tenants by allowing them to manage their monthly expenses and to address property utility issues in a timelier manner. Given the city’s investment in technology, a change to monthly billing will not be significantly expensive and will provide improved customer service.
Invest in Infrastructure. Nan Whaley recognizes that budget reductions have had an impact on the city’s ability to properly maintain city streets and thoroughfares. Whaley will work to allocate additional resources toward the maintenance and repair of city streets.
Maintaining a Safe Neighborhood Environment
Our neighborhoods will not be healthy, thriving places if their residents do not feel protected in their homes or safe to walk around the block, to talk to their neighbors or to allow their children to go outside and play.
Support for Our Safety Forces. Recent surveys indicate 87 percent of respondents were satisfied with the city’s police services and 95 percent were satisfied with fire and paramedic services. To continue this level of satisfaction, Nan Whaley supports bolstering the number of police officers in our neighborhoods and will work to ensure there is solid fire protection across the city.
Reduce Gun Violence. Nan Whaley is committed to doing whatever it takes to protect our community from gun violence. She supports initiatives to require background checks on every gun purchase in order to limit access to guns by criminals and the mentally ill. Additionally, Whaley advocates closing the gun show loophole and is committed to being an active leader in the work of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Fighting Property Abandonment and Blight
Vacant properties have been a scourge on our City for too long. There are now thousands of abandoned, empty and dilapidated properties in Dayton. These properties become havens for drug dealers, prostitutes and squatters, as well as targets for arsonists. They drain city resources and drag down the value of the other well-maintained homes in our neighborhoods.
Direct Resources to Eliminate Blight. Nan Whaley is focused on eliminating vacant properties, directing resources toward removing run-down properties and fighting to gain federal grants for demolition. Removing the blighted properties will improve the appearance and landscape of our neighborhoods, which will aid in maintaining the value of our present housing stock, and serve as a deterrent to a wide range of criminal activity.
Return Abandoned Property to Productive Use. While some properties are beyond repair, others may still be saved and rehabbed. Nan Whaley knows that there has to be more than just demolition; where possible, she supports returning vacant properties and lots must to productive use, whether that be in the form of new housing developments, commercial development or community gardens that help to green Dayton. She will continue to be a leading advocate with stakeholders in the community to rehab or rebuild houses on land that was previously abandoned. She also supports the Lot Links Program that allows residents to gain control of adjacent vacant lots in their neighborhood.
Support the Mission of the County Land Bank. With the creation of the county’s land bank, Montgomery County officials have in place a new tool that can be an effective resource in the battle against property abandonment. Nan Whaley has been one of the leading advocates for the creation of a county land bank, and as mayor she will continue to serve on the land bank board of directors to ensure that the city takes full advantage of this resource.
Promoting Neighborhood Uniqueness
Each neighborhood in Dayton is unique and needs different tools to promote sustainability and growth. Neighborhoods must be encouraged by the city to be self-governed: to create a system that leverages and multiplies the talents and assets of each neighborhood.
Create Neighborhood Housing Protocols. Housing in our city is diverse and very different in each neighborhood. The city should not treat each neighborhood the same in regard to housing inspection, the availability of low income and market rate housing and demolition. Nan Whaley supports neighborhood partnerships with the city administration in establishing realistic protocols for their community based on available resources. These protocols should be assessed every three to five years and adjustments made as the partners fit.
Redefine Housing Inspectors as Program Managers. Nan Whaley supports redefining the role of city housing inspectors to include responsibilities as program managers that provide support to neighborhood volunteers and activists. As the do it yourself campaign rolls out across the city, neighborhoods cannot be made to feel they are alone in these responsibilities. The city must not walk away from a neighborhood that takes control of its destiny, but must work in concert to show strength and value in making Dayton and their neighborhood their own.
Customize City Services. Nan Whaley advocates allowing neighborhoods to customize city services that go above and beyond Dayton’s basic quality services. An example already in place in some neighborhoods is decorative lighting. Neighborhoods must be encouraged to create their space and the city must be a willing partner in this effort. Further, these costs should be shared with the neighborhood and the City. If there is support for a neighborhood assessment to fund these types of initiatives, Whaley believes the city should help lead and assist these efforts.
Strengthen Neighborhood Leadership. Training and development programs in neighborhood leadership should be expanded to include not just how the city works, but also the challenges involved and what it takes to be an effective neighborhood leader. Nan Whaley recognizes that the City must continue to work to grow its leadership pool by offering strong, legitimate programming that challenges future leaders and makes them stronger and better advocates for their neighborhoods and Dayton.
Leverage Neighborhood Assets. Nan Whaley will encourage and nurture relationships between a neighborhood and its assets. For example, neighborhoods must be incentivized to recognize their neighborhood school as an asset. Creating relationships between neighborhood members and students can help bolster student performance at the grassroots level. Reading programs, mentoring and after-school programs promoted and connected to neighborhoods should be encouraged. Neighborhoods must also be incentivized to create relationships outside of their neighborhood boundaries. For example, neighborhoods in North Dayton have created a relationship with Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City to strengthen families and both neighborhoods.
Connecting Our Neighborhoods
In 1961, the great thinker Jane Jacobs wrote in the Life and Death of Great American Cities, “a city center needs an intricately woven diversity of uses that reinforce each other economically and socially if it is to be successful.” Our neighborhoods need to be well defined by space, but they also need to be connected to one another.
Create Neighborhood Boundaries. Nan Whaley will lead efforts to identify and use anchors to define a neighborhood’s central mass, creating definitions around the edges of our neighborhoods as well. These neighborhood boundaries need to be discussed and defined with significant citizen input, especially as the city transitions to a more grassroots effort in citizen engagement. The Mayor should provide leadership in this effort.
Promote Commercial Nodes. Nan Whaley will promote commercial nodes across the entire city. The city and other partners must invest in business districts that promote walkability in our neighborhoods. Further, these nodes can assist in connecting neighborhoods to one another. Whaley believes these business districts need to be nurtured along specific areas along Dayton’s thoroughfares and should be smaller areas of high density.
Establish Neighborhood Entryways. The corridors of the city are our front doors to the entire region. Nan Whaley advocates the establishment of avenues of green space along these corridors, allowing them to become entryways to our neighborhoods. This will require the removal of areas of blight, and it will require patience, but over time, establishing neighborhood entryways will support and accent the business nodes along our thoroughfares.
A Vision for an Open Vibrant Dayton
From the moment Nan Whaley first arrived on the campus of the University of Dayton to attend college, the City of Dayton and its citizens welcomed her with open arms. This spirit of warmth and openness moved Nan to make Dayton her home, and it is one of the reasons Nan loves this city and wants to serve Dayton as its next Mayor. The people of Dayton’s zeal for acceptance and tolerance can provide the foundation for fostering a more open, vibrant community in the future.
A City that Supports Active Lifestyles
A vibrant city is one that supports the active lifestyles of its residents, its youth and its out of town guests. Such support will help identify Dayton as an entertainment destination for the region, highlighting the attractions that are unique to our urban core.
Support Multi-Modal Transportation. As a city commissioner, Nan Whaley took the lead in efforts that resulted in Dayton being designated a bicycle friendly city. Whaley also sponsored the livable streets policy, promoting all forms of transportation in the city’s infrastructure investments. As mayor, Whaley will continue to champion multi-modal transportation and walkability to create vibrancy and development on our streets.
Create a Recreation Attraction. A founding member of Ohio’s Great Corridor, Nan Whaley is working to connect all the communities located along the Great Miami River to create a recreation attraction to serve area residents as well as out of town visitors. The Great Miami is an Ohio designated water trail and boasts one of the most robust trail systems in the country. Whaley is committed to providing the leadership necessary to market this amenity both regionally and nationally, promoting opportunities for those who are seeking these types of activities when deciding where to reside or visit. The removal of the low level dam is an important step in encouraging connectivity and the active use of our waterways.
Promote Hosting of the NCAA Tournament. The Dayton area has a rich basketball history and the people of this region are known as college basketball enthusiasts. Nan Whaley is an active member of the First Four Local Organizing Committee and has worked energetically to support Dayton and UD Arena as the host site of the NCAA First Four Basketball Tournament. She recognizes the importance of this event as an opportunity to showcase and build excitement for our city as well as the boost it provides to the local economy. As mayor, Whaley will work with other community partners to advocate for continuing to host the First Four Tournament games in the future and to make the occasion a first class entertainment event for the entire region.
Support Young Professionals Initiatives. An active and engaged population of young, creative talent will add to the overall growth and vibrancy of the city. UpDayton is one organization of young professionals working to attract and retain this segment of the population to spur economic growth and make Dayton a better place to live. As Mayor, Nan Whaley will be a vocal, involved supporter of these efforts, offering leadership and providing access to resources to assist these professionals in their work to address important issues such as alternative transportation, diversity and the creation of an exciting urban core.
A City that Welcomes Diversity
Efforts to welcome anyone who desires to make Dayton their home — to live, work, play and make a positive contribution to our community – should be a major priority. Welcoming new people with new ideas regardless of their backgrounds, orientations, and cultural differences is one of the keys to growing Dayton’s population in the years ahead.
Support for the Welcome Dayton Initiative. Nan Whaley supports the goal of making our city more immigrant friendly. As Mayor, she will champion the various elements of the Welcome Dayton Initiative, promoting a community where people of diverse cultural identities are welcomed, treated with respect and encouragement, and afforded economic, educational and cultural opportunities.
Overcome Language Barriers. A city that welcomes residents with diverse backgrounds must address issues that limit access to services caused by language barriers. Nan Whaley supports offering incentives to city employees to encourage them to learn a foreign language to better communicate with different segments of the city’s customer base. And, she will advocate for the establishment of a city/countywide volunteer interpreter service for the most widely used languages to assist those residents who are limited English proficient.
Use the Municipal Equality Index to Identify Opportunities. Nan Whaley has been a leader on LGBT issues in Dayton including the passage of the non-discrimination ordinance regarding housing rights in 2007, and the city commission’s passage of the domestic partnership registry. To make our city more inclusive, Whaley advocates making application to the Human Rights Campaign to include Dayton in the Municipal Equality Index. This will provide a scorecard, an assessment of where the city stands as it relates to the LGBT community and can be a tool to identify areas of opportunity to more fully serve city residents and make Dayton more inclusive.
A City that Promotes Entertainment and the Arts
Recent studies by the Brookings Institute showed that communities with arts districts had increased wages and fostered entrepreneurship and innovation. Arts and entertainment add to a community’s vibrancy and creates a sense of place in the urban core while providing an aide to economic development efforts that benefit the entire city.
Promote Downtown Dayton as an Entertainment Venue. A thriving cultural arts and entertainment community focused in the greater downtown area is one of the key elements in making Dayton a more vibrant city. The concentration of these activities in the downtown district enables their success by creating a critical mass that promotes excitement and further development. As mayor, Nan Whaley will champion the sustainability of our arts community in downtown Dayton and support efforts to strengthen these community gems.
Support Cultural Arts within Our Neighborhoods. In addition to downtown Dayton, we have opportunities in the city’s neighborhoods to use the arts to embrace our various cultures and to celebrate our differences. Whaley supports a creative partnership with CityFolk and its Culture Builds Community program as well as other organizations to empower our neighborhoods to develop opportunities through the arts to both recognize and celebrate the diverse cultural heritage found in our different communities.
A City with Creative, Alternative Spaces
As our city continues its efforts to remove the blight and decay in many of our neighborhoods, consideration needs to be given to alternative uses for some of these spaces. The creative use of open space is another opportunity to increase vibrancy in our city.
Increase Spaces Devoted to Urban Agriculture. Community gardens as a form of urban agriculture should be promoted as a vibrant element within Dayton’s neighborhoods. Nan Whaley will encourage and assist neighborhood leaders in identifying and creating spaces as plots devoted to growing fruits and vegetables. These spaces can become central nodes within neighborhoods that can be connected with our schools as a learning tool as well as provide healthy alternative food sources for neighborhood residents. Additionally, community gardens have proven to be a successful means for engaging residents from different cultures and encouraging them to become actively involved in the community.
Develop Additional Urban Prairies. City Commissioner Whaley is proud of her efforts to facilitate the partnership between the City of Dayton, Aullwood Audubon Center, and Central State University that led to the creation of an urban prairie out of a former brownfield site. The development of urban prairies provide low maintenance educational and research opportunities that can assist in determining if the prairie roots help remediate toxins in the ground. Whaley supports the further development of such sites where appropriate.
A City with Active, Accessible Leadership
The role of local officials in taking the lead to enhance an image of vibrancy within a city cannot be overstated. Energetic, active leadership that works vigorously to represent our community can do much to develop a positive impression of Dayton throughout the region as well as statewide and nationally.
Provide Full-Time Leadership. Nan Whaley will approach the role of Mayor of Dayton as a full-time responsibility. She will make herself available and accessible for all of Dayton’s various constituencies — business leaders, labor leaders, community activists, other officials and city employees – to work in the best interests of the city. She will be an active presence at City Hall and will continue her practice of regularly meeting with neighborhood groups throughout the city to maintain an open dialogue regarding various issues and concerns. And, she will be a vocal and active participant in community and regional events as an enthusiastic representative of Dayton.
Use Contacts to Promote Dayton’s Interests. During her career, Nan Whaley has developed an extensive network of working relationships and professional contacts. She knows how to use these contacts to promote Dayton’s interests and to get things done on behalf of her constituents. She believes the next Mayor of Dayton should use that position of leadership to develop relationships that will further Dayton’s image and influence. Whaley will work with officials from the county and other local communities as well as state and national leaders to impact issues meaningful to Dayton and its citizens.