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Dayton a Dying City

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    Posted: Aug 07 2008 at 12:25pm

Forbes: Dayton one of 'fastest-dying' cities

By John Nolan

Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dayton is one of the nation's fastest-dying cities, earning mention among communities considered to be decaying because of loss of jobs and population, Forbes.com reported on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

The report accurately reflected the struggles of U.S. urban areas in general and the loss of jobs in the auto industry and related heavy manufacturing, Dayton City Manager Rashad Young said. What it didn't mention was efforts by Dayton and the surrounding region to encourage commercialization of developing technologies, to fashion the work force of tomorrow, and to invest in startup businesses in growth areas, he and other regional leaders responded.

"To stop after that data ... is to miss what we are doing in terms of working with industry here and reinvesting in the growth areas," Young said. "There is no one magic bullet."

He said the city has allotted land and money support for Tech Town, planned as the site of businesses dedicated to getting new technologies to the market. The city is also working to free up 400 acres of land at the city-owned Dayton International Airport to establish companies there, Young said.

Forbes made no mention of the 1,100 jobs coming to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base by September 2011 in a relocation from other bases of aerospace medicine, sensors and other research programs to complement existing programs at Wright-Patterson, said Deborah Gross, president of the Dayton Area Defense Contractors Association. That will bring in high-salaried jobs that likely will boost the housing industry and encourage development of support jobs, Gross said.

The region's National Composite Center, the Edison Materials Technology Center and University of Dayton Research Institute have been working with either startup companies, existing businesses or the Air Force to commercialize new technologies.

The report by the Forbes Web site, part of the financial reporting empire that includes Forbes magazine, lumped Dayton in with other Rust Belt cities including Detroit and Flint, Mich., Springfield, Mass., Scranton, Pa., and the fellow Ohio cities of Cleveland, Canton and Youngstown. It singled them out as examples of decaying areas with loss of jobs and population over the years.

The Forbes piece can be found at http://www.forbes.com/business/2008/08/04/economy-ohio-michigan-biz_cx_jz_0805dying.html.

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