Phoenix Next, Dayton, OH

In early 2018, the neighborhoods in northwest Dayton received significant news: Good Samaritan Hospital—a community fixture for over 80 years—would be closing by the end of the year. While the announcement remained emotional for many, the Planning NEXT team, including Ninigret Partners, began work in partnership with CityWide Development and the community to explore opportunities for the future. The geographic focus was on the to-be-cleared 13-acre hospital campus and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Understanding of economic opportunities

Declining population and disinvestment have greatly challenged the neighborhoods surrounding the hospital site in the past several decades. But a spirit of perseverance and a belief in the possibility of reinvention have also helped community members work together to build community assets, like a new branch library. Phoenix Next built upon 15-years of work in the community to address these challenges. It integrated community engagement with focused technical work, including an unconventional approach to market analysis to gain an understanding of economic potential.

A guide for investment

Throughout the process, hundreds of community members came together to help shape two development concepts for the site and dozens of other recommendations for the site and the surrounding neighborhoods. A draft Re-use and Investment Vision was created, centered on two themes: Promoting Health and Wellness, which focused on getting “upstream” from health issues and connecting people who live and work in the area to wellness opportunities, and Advancing Next Generation Learning, which focused on supporting a “game-changing” partnership approach to education and wrap around services for families.

Action steps for progress

In November 2019, the final plan was released and the City of Dayton committed $15 million to investment in the site and surrounding area to match a commitment by Premier Health. A new nonprofit organization was formed in order to guide the next stages of the work, including attracting private investment. Perhaps most importantly, many community members have embraced the plan for the future, vowing to come together to see it come to fruition through a sustained commitment and ongoing collaboration.

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Project Type: strategic plan
Community Type: organization
Client: Premier Health
Services: strategic planning, community engagement