In December 2016, City planning staff began engaging residents of Carillon and Edgemont in a neighborhood planning process. Community meetings were designed to gain a better understanding of the area. Using the City’s asset-based development approach, staff engaged residents in deliberate dialogue about neighborhood challenges and opportunities through eight community meetings. The goal of the planning process was to create a blueprint for the communities’ future that captures resident’s hopes and aspirations and sets the stage for future investment.
Carillon and Edgemont are located within West Dayton, which is separated from the downtown core by the Great Miami River. The river provides a natural border on the east and south, defining the plan area. US-35 provides the northern border and Danner Avenue borders along the west.
While both neighborhoods share the same Census tract, a first look at this geography reveals that these two neighborhoods are bisected by I-75. Although a formidable physical barrier, the residents of both neighborhoods have a history of working together. Thus, when this planning process was conceived it was pursued as a joint venture recognizing that the neighborhoods share many of the same concerns, goals, and strategies that could complement one another.
Carillon and Edgemont are part of Greater West Dayton, a community with roots that can be traced back to before the Civil War. West Dayton experienced much of its initial population growth in the early 1900s as a result of the Great Migration and industrial boom during WWI.
The area now known as Carillon and Edgemont was founded in 1853 by John Patterson Brown and was first known as Patterson or Brownton. By 1909, the area, renamed to Edgemont, covered land south of Germantown Street and west of the Great Miami River.
In the early twentieth century, the area was highly industrial, anchored by two rail lines which allowed the manufacturing industry to thrive. African-Americans found employment there and later settled in the area. By 1960, the majority of the population of Edgemont was middle-class African-American homeowners.
Large employers such as Standard Register Co, the Sunshine Biscuit Company, General Motors, and St Elizabeth Hospital led to a robust economy at that time. Especially significant was the investment by Delphi Automotive Systems which operated four large facilities in Dayton including one on Wisconsin Blvd, in the heart of the Edgemont neighborhood. With the decline of manufacturing in Dayton, companies closed, leaving behind job loss, brownfields and a ripple of disinvestment and abandonment.
The Edgemont neighborhood also has hard boundaries with I-75 to the east, US-35 to the north, and the Great Miami River to the south. Danner Avenue, Edgemont’s western border is less defined. The neighborhood is divided into thirds by two railways that converge to the north. With two rail lines running through it, Edgemont has a massing of both large and small industrial uses.
Three separate residential nodes within the neighborhood are also a product of the rail lines. The densest and intact residential area exists southwest of Burkham Park. Edgemont is also part of Dayton’s Choice Neighborhood initiative, Renew Miami Chapel.
Edgemont has suffered from Dayton’s economic downturn, as large employers relocated, leaving behind large brownfields and abandoned industrial sites. Despite this hardship, there has been a resurgence of resident leadership and a desire to improve their community. Greater Edgemont Community Coalition experienced a rebirth with neighborhood leaders pushing for sustainability initiatives starting with the overhaul and restoration of the Edgemont Solar Garden.
The HUD Choice Planning Grant also created an opportunity to include Edgemont in future investment because of its close proximity to DeSoto Bass public housing.