Grafton Hill- Home to Dayton’s Art Institute and many gorgeous Historic Homes

Grafton Hill was mostly developed in 1875 when John Stoddard, a wealthy and prominent farm implement manufacturer, opened the exclusive Belmonte Park residential area. Other upper middle class homes followed suit and the construction of the Dayton Art Institute (1919) and the Dayton Masonic Temple added to the affluent aura of the community.

Today the grand homes remain in tact and Grafton Hill is still a relatively sought after neighborhood for those who appreciate its historic charm and convenient access to Downtown. But its commercial corridor along Salem Ave is decimated greatly diminishing the neighborhood’s walkability. There is a fair amount of blight on the fringes as some pretty rough areas surround Grafton Hill. Rebuilding the neighborhood’s urban commercial corridor would be my first priority here. 
Click here to view my Grafton Hill album on Flickr


* Good sidewalk and ADA infrastructure throughout the neighborhood.
* Quality public transit throughout the neighborhood and Downtown is very convenient… literally just across the river. Its a 15-20 minute walk to the heart of Dwtn from Grafton Hill.
* Good street grid and connectivity.
* Decent bike infrastructure with a dedicated bike lane running along the Great Miami River and one bike share station. Would like to see more bike lanes crossing thru the neighborhood.
* Wonderful array of historic single family homes.
* Park amenities include the Miami river trail, a tennis court and McKinney Park a nice medium size park.
* Great tree canopy.
* A couple elementary school options in the neighborhood and several high schools options in adjacent districts including Dwtn.


* Okay diversity. Neighborhood is 75% Black. While 40% of residents are living in poverty still decent economic diversity with a sizable middle class.
* Only 30% of households are family but good adult diversity.
* Decent for sale housing stock. Maintained SF homes sell in the 100KS & 200Ks. Fixer uppers sell below 100K. So cheap condo product as well.
* Rental product is generally limited and cheap.
* Cultural amenities are pretty limited but Grafton Hill does host the Dayton Art Museum and the Dayton Masonic Center and is walkable to the many cultural amenities Dwtn.
* Retail amenities are limited to a dollar general, a couple salons and the post office. The neighborhood’s main commercial district, Salem Ave, is run down and mostly auto centric now.
* Generally pretty safe district, but on the edge with some other pretty high crime areas in Dayton and blight is prevalent along Salem Ave. 

Dayton’s Inner East- A neighborhood with great urban fabric and potential

The Inner East is comprised of two small city designated historic districts.. St. Ann’s Hill and Huffman. Both have wonderfully preserved architecture from the late 1800s, some of the best architecture in Dayton. The rest of Inner East is pretty blighted and underinvested especially 5th Ave, the eastern half of 3rd Ave, and the Southern quadrant of the district.

St. Ann’s is adjacent to the Oregon District and was platted in 1802 by German immigrants. Homes were erected in the neighborhood starting after the Civil War. William Huffman who was a local banker, real estate developer, and a producer of Huffman bicycles spurred development by building railway on Third Street northeast of St. Ann’s Hill creating the Huffman district. The neighborhood was built up between 1870 and 1890. St. Ann’s and Huffman were designated historic districts in 1974 and 1982, respectively.

Restoration of the historic homes has been occurring since then but redevelopment hasn’t spilled over into adjacent parts of the Inner East. A couple food & beverage businesses and some general retail is just popping up on 3rd Ave in St. Ann’s. Sadly, Dayton’s economy and limited urban culture prevents this urban area with great bones from getting the investment and retail amenities it needs to become a thriving urban area. Hopefully city leaders will realize the great potential of this neighborhood and put appropriate investment into it. 
Click here to view my St. Ann’s album on Flickr


* Good sidewalk and ADA infrastructure throughout the neighborhood.
* While public transit access is only okay, the Inner East is still very convenient to Dwtn. 10 minute drive and 15 minute bike and bus ride.
* Excellent street grid and connectivity.
* Decent bike infrastructure including a dedicated east to west bike lane and a couple bike share stations.
* Lots of family households (around 60%) and good age diversity.
* Good diverse of price points with for sale housing. Housing in the Southeastern quadrant of Inner East is under 50K. Fair amount of homes selling between 50K-100. Most homes in the historic districts sell in the 100Ks and 200Ks. Higher prices in St. Ann’s than Huffman.
* Good tree canopy overall.
* Well ranked Strivers high school for the arts is located within Inner East several other decent schools located within walking distance in adjacent districts. 


* Lots of blight along 3rd Ave and the eastern half of 5th along with the Southeastern quarter of the Inner East. Quite the difference between this and the Historic District of St. Ann and Huffman.
* Transit access is okay. Underwhelming for being 2 miles from dwtn.
* While racial diversity it okay good economic diversity mixing middle and upper middle class households with those below the poverty line.
* Rental housing is a bit limited and generally inexpensive.
* Bomberger Park is the neighborhood’s only park amenity. Nice park but not located on the district’s western edge.
* Pretty low density for an urban district so close to Dwtn.
* Some cultural amenities but not a ton… a handful of restaurants, a couple nice cafes, a couple dive bars, and a couple art galleries. Cultural amenities of the Oregon District and Webster Station only a 10-20 minute walk.
* Retail amenities are also pretty limited and include a couple Hispanic grocerias, a bakery, several thrift stores, and an antique shop.

Downtown Dayton, OH

Downtown Dayton is probably one of the better mid-sized American Downtowns thanks to its extensive remaining historic fabric, good transit network, great bike infrastructure, and quality parks. Downtown also holds a large college population attending school at Sinclair Community College (18,000 students) and is a major employment hub for the Dayton Region, even with the departures of several major fortunate 500 companies to the south.

I find that its easiest to divide Downtown Dayton into two halves. West and East of Ludlow Street. West of  Ludlow is  where the majority of Downtown’s urban renewal efforts occurred. It includes Sinclair Community College, the Montgomery jail and court complexes, some bland modern office towers, and a lot of surface parking lots. Not a lot of life and vitality on this side of Downtown. East of Ludlow  holds the bulk of Dayton’s historic fabric and architecture along with its better modern high raises, theaters, bus hub, public library, Riverscape Park, and the Courthouse Square. It is the more interesting and vibrant half of Downtown, seeing the bulk of new housing and development. Main Street forms the main spine of Downtown Dayton where the convention center, historic arcade, Courthouse Square, several theaters, and Dwtn’s best skyscrapers  are all locate.

My hope for Downtown Dayton is continued civic focus and investment as this could be a very special urban environment. Blight and dead space is what is holding Downtown back the most. It will be interesting to see if the opening of the renovated Dayton Arcade is the spark needed to set this all in motion. 
Click here to view my Downtown Dayton album on Flickr


* Dwtn has a good public transit itself. But transit service is a bit disappointing across the City of Dayton. Decent  service to many of the Dayton  suburbs depending on their age.
* Great bike infrastructure including a bike share system dwtn and to surrounding inner city neighborhoods and wonderful bike lane coverage within Dwtn and connecting to Dwtn throughout the City and region.
* Generally good racial and economic diversity dwtn both represented in its residential and daytime population.
* For sale product is a bit  limited and concentrated along the eastern edge of Dwtn near Webster Station. Good diversity of price points. 1-bedrooms range from 100K-350K. More 2-bedrooms available ranging from 125K-400K. 3-bedroom condos go between 400K-650K.
* Great of array of quality historic architecture.
* Over quality parks in Dwtn Dayton including the new Riverscape Metro Park, Courthouse Square (a decent well programmed civic plaza), and several other decent plazas spread throughout.
* Excellent ADA infrastructure throughout Dwtn.
* Good array of public & private elementary and high schools in and around Dwtn.
* Great college population dwtn with 18K students enrolled at Sinclair. 
* Pretty good streetscaping especially along the more investment parts of Dwtn. Helps that the City has streetscape guides for Dwtn.
* Pretty impressive employment hub with around 50K jobs. Generally positive outlook for Downtown with recent job growth but still low rents and high office vacancy rates.
* Cultural amenities include: a modern &  historic theater, two specialty movie theaters, several local museums (and the art museum across the river), a couple live music venues and nightclubs, and cultural amenities of Sinclair College.
* Other important amenities dwtn include the Dayton Convention Center, concentration of courthouses, City hall, Dwtn post office & library. 


* Dwtn rentals are a bit limited but modest price point. 1-bedrooms lease in the low $1,000s and 2-bedrooms anywhere in the $1,000s.
* Decent skyline but certainly nothing spectacular.
 * The majority of infill is ugly 60s-80s bldgs on Sinclair College. Some decent modern skyscrapers and newer apartment in-fill.
* The western half of Dwtn where Sinclair College is located was part of a pretty extensive urban renewal campaign. This part of Dwtn is pretty lifeless, uninspiring, and filled with lots of surface parking lots.
* Tree canopy is ok. Dwtn could use more street trees.
* Dwtn residential density is pretty low. Plenty of room for an expanded Dwtn population.
* Downtown Dayton still seems to have an image problem even with its quality form and decent amenities. This should continue to get better especially with the opening of the renovated Dayton Arcade.
* Some bars, restaurants and cafes dwtn but pretty limited for a Downtown. Only a handful of art galleries. The only major sports arena is the minor league ballpark in adjacent Webster Square district.
* While dwtn hosts a small discount grocery store and CVS pharmacy retail is pretty limited to a handful of boutiques, a couple bookstores, and neighborhood retail. 

Dayton Ohio’s Oregon District- the city’s premier urban neighborhood

The Oregon District lies to the east of Downtown and is Dayton’s most complete neighborhood. It is know for two things: excellent architecture protected through a local historic district and a lively commercial district along 5th Ave that can be rowdy at times. The Oregon Historic District includes one of the earliest surviving combinations of commercial and residential architecture in Dayton ranging from 1820 to 1915. Many streets are also the original red brick.

Yet there are still many areas the neighborhood needs to improve upon before it becomes a premiere district in the same category of other great Ohio urban neighborhoods like Ohio City, the Short North, and Over-the-Rhine. It needs a better variety of retail amenities especially a grocery store, more market rate rental housing, more population in general, and in-fill development along its north and eastern edges where there is still a fair amount of blighted or auto centric uses. 
Click here to view my Oregon District album on Flickr


* Pretty good bike infrastructure including several bike stations and a dedicated bike lane.
* Great access to dwtn being just southeast of it.
* Good racial diversity and pretty good economic diversity although high poverty rates around 40% live alongside upper middle class households.
* Also good generational diversity with 45% family households and a nice mix of young adults, and boomers.
* Good mix of for sale housing product with 2 & 3-bedrooms selling btwn 150K-350K. 4 bedrooms generally selling in the 300Ks.
* Several public housing developments located in the Oregon District provided affordable housing in a good neighborhood.
* Tree canopy is great in the residential portion of Oregon but pretty terrible in the north and eastern edges with most industrial uses.
* Newcome Park is a nice historic park located in the heart of the Oregon District. Bomberger Park is located on the eastern edge of the district. Not much else park amenity wise.
* Culturally the Oregon District has a nice array of restaurants, bars, cafes, several night clubs, a comedy club, walkable access to the Neon Indie Theater & Black Box Improv Theater in nearby districts. Many of Downtown’s cultural amenities are also walkable to the Oregon District.
* Retail wise lots of boutiques and creative stores, a bookstore, post office, and walkable access to Dwtn’s retail amenities like the public library, drug store and banks.
* Generally a pretty safe area but still blighted areas in the north and eastern edges.
* No schools within the Oregon District but two excellent high schools within walking distance. Also several elementary schools in Downtown Dayton. 


* Urban form not great in the eastern and north edges of the Oregon District. Hit or miss along Wayne Ave. Fair amount of industrial blight along the district’s northern edge.
* Density is only so .
* Rental product is a bit limited but nice mix of market and affordable. Market 1-bedrooms generally rent near or below $1,000 and 2 bedrooms in the low $1,000s.
* No walkable supermarket, 

Webster Station- Dayton’s historic warehouse district

Webster Station historically was a warehousing/manufacturing district with some housing and apartment buildings. Now the district has been transformed into one of Dayton’s best nightlife and residential loft districts anchored by the Dayton Dragons minor league ballpark. Webster Station also hosts Dayton’s only remaining public market.

The future is bright for Webster Station as many new apartments and condo buildings are in the works. Still lots of surface parking lots and blight to remove so hopefully new development is quality urban infill. 
Click here to view my Webster Station album on Flickr


* Some very nice warehouse architecture but also a lot of really gritty buildings too.
* Located just east of Dwtn, Webster station has excellent job access. One can easily walk, bike, or take a short bus ride to Dwtn.
* Good biking infrastructure including access to two waterfront bike trails and several dedicated bike stations.
* Not good numbers on from City Data on Webster station so difficult to determine its demographics.
* Decent park amenities with convenient access Riverspace park. Dwtn’s plaza spaces are mostly within a 10 minute walk.
* Cultural amenities include a nice range of food & beverage businesses, several nightclubs, a minor league ballpark and convenient access to all the cultural amenities of Dwtn.
* Retail amenities include the Dayton Public Market (hosts a nice mix of restaurants, food vendors, and hand crafted goods), a couple furniture stores and appliance stores, a couple banks, a fitness center, a florist, and several salons.
* Plenty of grit here but pretty safe area. 


* Very low density but this is getting better as lots of new development comes.
* Rentals are a bit limited and generally lease for around $1,000s.
* Decent mix of condo product. Limited 1-bedrooms, 2-bedrooms selling btwn 200K to the high 300s, and 3-bedrooms in the 300Ks & 400Ks.
* Tree canopy good in spots but overall not great.
* Lots of industrial and surface parking lot remain but get urban form when there are buildings.
* No schools within Webster Station but several quality ones in surrounding districts.