2004 HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment
Wright-Dunbar Village Preservation and Redevelopment (Dayton,OH)
The neighborhood in West Dayton,Ohio that nurtured the genius of the Wright Brothers and poet Paul Laurence
Dunbar was once a thriving African-American community. In the past 50 years, however, highway construction, civil
disturbances, insurance redlining and disinvestments have devastated the area. In 1992, the determination of two small
groups of ordinary citizens - one black and one white - became the catalyst for the most aggressive urban revitalization
effort to occur in Dayton's black community.
Despite the City's best efforts to persuade them to sell their property,
24 long-term residents said "no". Along with a group of aviation enthusiasts, who in 1988 had vowed to stand in front of
bulldozers to stop the City from tearing down several historic structures, the minority homeowners initiated a chain of
events that led to the creation of a new National Park and the revitalization of the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood.
This unique undertaking coupled Dayton's aviation history with its African-American heritage to leverage over $75 million
in economic and community development investments for a neighborhood that had suffered from racial segregation for decades.
HUD Secretary's Awards