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Neighbors on Salem Avenue working to make their community the next big thing

Neighbors on Salem Avenue working to make their community the next big thing (WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) - Neighbors on Salem Avenue are ready to make their community "The Next Big Thing" in the Miami Valley. They formed a local group who outlined their vision Thursday night. They are looking for sponsors to help make the area a local hotspot.

The group is called the Salem Peace Corridor, and they are using parts of Cincinnati as a blue print for success. Neighbors said they are tired of the way the rest of the city perceives their community to be.

“If you're afraid, talk to one of us who lives here,” Fred Holley said. He is a member of the Peace Corridor.

Research conducted by the group showed that 25,000 cars go down Salem Avenue every day, and roughly 100,000 people live within a 3-mile radius.

“We need to take control of our community,” Holley said.

The group unveiled renderings for a potential skate park, raised bike path, retail areas, and a look at Gem City Market. The community owned grocery store is expected to break ground at the end of this year, and has raised $1.76 million for the project.

"Again, this is a vision and a concept," fellow Peace Corridor member Jule Rastikis said.

Since 2000, $150 million has been invested in the corridor, which is the stretch of Salem from Hillcrest to Riverview. With less retail and services, the group’s research said neighbors spend $300 million elsewhere.

"So, you can get a good idea of what we are trying to accomplish," Rastikis said.

Turning filth to fun isn't new for southwest Ohio. For years, Over The Rhine in Cincinnati saw heightened crime, and a 58% poverty rate, and now it's a hot spot locale. Urban developer John Yung had a hand in it.

“Build these partnerships between public and private entities,” Yung said to the Peace Corridor team.

Yung said Proctor and Gamble couldn't recruit with the eyesore next door, so a group of companies pumped $1.1 billion into the district.

“Depending on which players come aboard with us, I think there is going to be a lot of good ideas and good concepts too,” Rastikis said.

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