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East Dayton food pantry allowed to remain in operation

Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 @ 6:45 PM

With God's Grace food pantry in Dayton ordered to stop operations

A popular food pantry in east Dayton that was violating the city’s zoning laws has been given a variance that will allow it to remain in operation.

With God’s Grace, a nonprofit that operates a mobile food pantry at locations across the Dayton region, also serves more than 600 families most Wednesdays out of its warehouse at 622 Springfield St.

Earlier this year, the city’s zoning administrator told the nonprofit it was in violation of zoning code because it was operating a food pantry in an industrial district that does not permit such uses.

RELATED: ‘Unauthorized’ Dayton food pantry ordered to stop operations

But city staff and With God’s Grace worked together on a plan to address issues with parking and the long lines that formed outside the warehouse during pantry hours.

This evening, the Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance with some conditions.

The decision allows With God’s Grace to continue distributing food in a section of the city that suffered a major blow to food access when the Food for Less was destroyed by fire last year.”

“There is a lot of need in the area,” said Nicole Adkins, executive director of With God’s Grace.

Nicole Akdkins stands inside With God’s Grace’s warehouse in east Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF(Staff Writer)

RELATED: Big crowds turn out to support East Dayton food pantry

With God’s Grace has a warehouse on Springfield Street where it stores its food donations and keeps its administrative offices.

The nonprofit operates a mobile food pantry that visits local communities including West Dayton, Brookville, Miamisburg, Huber Heights and Xenia.

But the group also allows families to pick up food from its warehouse on Wednesday mornings and evenings.

The city notified With God’s Grace that it was violating zoning laws for allegedly running an “unauthorized” food pantry.

City officials said improvements were needed to upgrade the property from a warehouse to a place where people can assemble. Lines outside of the Springfield Street property generated complaints from neighbors about parking headaches and safety concerns.

With God’s Grace was at risk of having to find a new home if it could not distribute food to from its headquarters, officials said.

But the nonprofit, with the city’s input, blocked off the staging area to protect people waiting in line from cars, and new entry and exit points comply with zoning rules and have improved the flow of foot traffic, Adkins said.

Many community members strongly support With God’s Grace and asked the city to allow it to stay put.

A land use meeting earlier this month where the variance request was discussed attracted more than 100 people, and the citizens board ultimately vote unanimously to recommended the city’s zoning board approve the request.

Some community members tearfully shared stories about personal hardship and how their families have relied on the pantry to put food on the table.

Diane Roberts, of Huber Heights, said her husband is deceased and she lives with her three grandchildren and daughter, who had back surgery and suffered a heart attack.

“If it wasn’t for them giving extra food to us, my grandsons might eat but would never be full,” she said.

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Big check means big things for Dayton Gem City Market

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 7:05 PM


            Supporters celebrate a $100,000 donation to the Gem City Market, which plans to be Dayton’s first food cooperative. STAFF/CORNELIUS FROLIK
Supporters celebrate a $100,000 donation to the Gem City Market, which plans to be Dayton’s first food cooperative. STAFF/CORNELIUS FROLIK

A giant cardboard check presented tonight was a giant leap forward for efforts to open Dayton’s first food cooperative, the Gem City Market.

KeyBank announced it has awarded $100,000 to help with the project to build a community-owned, full-service grocery store on the 300 and 400 block of Salem Ave., which is located in one of the largest food deserts in the state.

With KeyBank’s commitment, the market has now raised about 40 percent of its $4.2 million capital campaign goal.

“Our partners at KeyBank are joining the fight” against hunger, said Tony Hall, with the Hall Hunger Initiative.

RELATED: Could Gem City Market end Dayton’s food desert? 5 questions answered for you

But that’s not the only good news that was shared at the market’s community meeting tonight.

The food co-op has now sold about 1,385 shares, which is nearly 70 percent of the its membership goal.

The market seeks to have at least 2,000 members by the time the grocery store opens, which is planned for 2019, supporters say. The market had about 920 memberships in mid-May.

Gem City Market will be built on a vacant lot on the 400 block of Salem Avenue and will involve the former Ken McCallister Inc. art supply property at 300 Salem Ave.

Market supporters say do not yet know if the vacant art supply structure will be renovated and incorporated into the project or if it will be demolished.

This is the second major financial boost the market has received in the last 10 days. Last week, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley accepted a $150,000 CommunityWINS grant, from the American Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo.

RELATED: Mayor Whaley accepts national grant for Gem City Market

KeyBank wants to lift up the communities it serves, and this will give the community a place where it can get healthy food, said Joey Williams, KeyBank president.

“I think Gem City Market will be an incredible addition,” he said.

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Dayton’s iconic tree tower is open once again: 3 things to know

Published: Tuesday, May 01, 2018 @ 5:55 AM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:54 AM

Five Rivers MetroParks will spend as much as $390,465 to repair a tree tower and observation deck that closed in September after being damaged by fungal disease.

After closing for more than 600 days, one of Cox Arboretum MetroPark’s most popular amenities has reopened.

Reconstruction of the 65-foot-tall tree tower took place over the winter. Here’s what we know about the reopening of Cox Arboretum MetroPark Tree Tower:

» PHOTOS: 9 views of the Tree Tower, a must-see view of the region

1. CLOSING TIME

The tower closed in September 2016 after crews found soft spots in the structure’s three support logs. Fungus developed in the wood, and the tower was closed for safety reasons. Engineers determined the logs needed to be replaced. 

46-foot Tree Tower a must-see stop at Cox Arboretum #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

» GET OUTSIDE: Where to find the craziest slide in Dayton

2. SIGNIFICANT COST

The $475,000 tower, which first opened in October 2012, was funded by the James M. Cox Jr. Arboretum Foundation and Five Rivers MetroParks. The tower’s observation deck provides sweeping views.

» WHERE TO GO: 6 hidden playgrounds to explore in Dayton

The Tree Tower at Cox Arboretum MetroPark has been closed and awaiting repairs that will start next week. STAFF/BEN McLAUGHLIN(Staff Writer)

3. ICONIC STRUCTURE 

“We have worked diligently to restore this iconic structure to its original beauty and ensure that the tree tower can be enjoyed by the public for many years to come,” said Carrie Scarff, MetroParks chief of planning and projects.

Five Rivers MetroParks last June authorized spending as much as $390,465 to repair the tree tower.

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Downtown Dayton developer lands state funds for $18M project

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 10:14 AM

Developer Weyland Ventures plans to spend about $18 million converting the Dayton Motor Car building into new offices. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Developer Weyland Ventures plans to spend about $18 million converting the Dayton Motor Car building into new offices. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The developer behind one of downtown’s hottest new dining and drinking destinations and some of its newest housing has been awarded funding for another project.

The Ohio Development Services Agency today announced it has allocated $1.8 million in state historic tax credits to support the renovation of the Dayton Motor Car building at 15 McDonough St.

Kentucky-based developer Weyland Ventures proposes spending more than $18.2 million to convert the six-story building, just east of the Oregon District, into modern offices for high-tech, creative design and other firms and users.

MORE: As $8M project wraps up, here’s what’s next for developer

Within five years of operation, the building could house about 260 full-time employees, according to Weyland Ventures’ application for state historic tax credits.

“Dayton is kind of our second city at this point,” said Mariah Gratz, the CEO of Weyland Ventures.

Weyland Ventures used about $1.9 million it was awarded in December 2014 to rehab the old Weustoff and Getz building at 210 Wayne Ave. into the Wheelhouse Lofts, which offers 40 apartments.

The building is also home to the popular restaurant and bar the Troll Pub at the Wheelhouse, which opened around St. Patrick’s Day.

Weyland Ventures has completed many projects in Louisville that have helped transform its downtown.

Weyland Ventures says the motor car building, like many others in Dayton, is outdated.

But the firm said it has experience repurposing similar concrete industrial buildings and likes its open floor plates and abundant natural light.

The building, which is about 80,000 square feet, offers in-demand features, like large windows and flexible space configurations, the developer said.

RELATED: The $6M ask: Developers seek funds for Dayton office, housing projects

Gosiger, a robotics and technology company headquartered at 108 McDonough St., plans to occupy space in the building. Bill Weyland, the principal of Weyland Ventures, and the owner of Gosiger have been friends for decades.

Weyland Ventures plans to rehab the exterior of the building and put in new HVAC and mechanical and electrical systems, which will remain exposed inside.

The building’s eastern facade will be cleaned, repaired and repainted. The historic windows will be repaired or replaced.

Weyland Ventures hopes to get construction underway by the end of the year, with a roughly 12-month construction schedule, Gratz said.

Converting the building into offices will help build on the momentum in downtown and the Webster Station area, which is a hotbed of new housing, restaurants and breweries, the firm said.

Weyland Ventures’ development of the Wheelhouse and the Dayton Motor Car building are part of its efforts to create a new district called Oregon East.

The new district seeks to offer a mix of housing, entertainment, dining and drinking establishments and other amenities.

RELATED: Developer acquires 158-year-old Oregon District church

Future projects are expected to fill in some of the space between the historic structures with new construction, likely of housing and other components that make it a place where people want to be, Gratz said.

Weyland Ventures also has acquired Saint Paul Lutheran Church, located at 239 Wayne Ave., and is looking for tenants.

“We think it could make a fantastic restaurant or entertainment venue,” Gratz said.

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Gas prices to drop around 10 cents this week

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 8:16 PM

The average price of gas in Ohio drops 10 cents this week.

Ohio has topped the charts for the biggest weekly change in gas price averages in the country; Ohio is the 11th lowest in the nation at $2.70 per gallon.

Nationwide, 44 states have less expensive or steady gas price averages compared to last Monday. However, the cheaper trend may be reversing. “If demand continues to strengthen and inventories decrease in the weeks ahead, motorists can expect gas prices do a reversal and start to increase again,” said AAA spokeswoman Jennifer Moore. “AAA expects the national gas price average to range between $2.85 and $3.05 through Labor Day, likely seeing the summer’s highest prices in June.”

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: How fast heat can harm your child or pet

Moving into this week, another factor that will influence gas prices in the near and long-term will be outcomes from the June 22 OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria. The cartel, along with other major producers including Russia, will discuss increasing oil production ahead of the year-end scheduled dissolution of its production reduction agreement.

Motorists are spending $69 or more a month for gas compared to last year, but that won’t stop their summer travel. Gas expenses are accounting, on average, for 7% of an American’s 2018 annual income.

Visit https://gasprices.aaa.com/ to check the latest gas prices.

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