For immediate release
June 20, 2016
Timothy R. Gaffney
Director of Communications
(937) 219-8277 (mobile)
EDITORS: Photos of the Wright Company Factory Site are available upon request. In social media posts, please use the hashtag #wrightfactory for the Wright Company factory site.
Update July 4, 2016:
Read Dayton Metro Library’s announcement here.
See the press conference speakers’ complete remarks in this video.
The next free, public tour of the Wright Company factory is scheduled for July 21, 2016. Visit the Facebook Event Page.
DAYTON, Ohio—The Dayton Metro Library has chosen the Wright Company factory site for its new West Branch, officials with the library and the National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) announced today in a press conference at the Wright factory.
The West Branch Library will consolidate the current Madden Hills and Westwood Branches into one new, larger facility to be located on the northeast corner of U.S. 35 and Abbey Avenue.
The library will occupy approximately seven acres of a 54-acre site that straddles Abbey Avenue between U.S. 35 and West Third Street, said Tim Kambitsch, executive director of Dayton Metro Library. The overall site was formerly a Delphi automotive parts manufacturing plant, which had its beginnings in two factory buildings the Wright brothers built in 1910 and 1911.
The announcement marks a major milestone in the Dayton Aviation Heritage Redevelopment Project, NAHA’s ongoing effort to restore the Wright factory as a national park unit and redevelop the remainder of the site in ways that benefit the national park and the neighborhood.
“We can’t imagine a better next-door neighbor to a national historical park and a better asset to the neighborhood than a brand-new library. They share similar missions to educate, inform and serve the public, and each will help draw visitors to the other,” Frank Winslow, chair of NAHA’s volunteer board of trustees, said in a prepared statement.
“We’re confident our beautiful new library and the national park site will serve as a catalyst for additional investment and development in this site and all of West Dayton,” Kambitsch said. He thanked NAHA, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and the city of Dayton for working with the library to develop “a combined vision of what this site could be.”
Kambitsch said the library chose the location after careful consideration of several locations. “We received valuable input from the community at three public forums. Through consensus, this site was one of the community’s top preferences.” The site also happens to be equal distance from both current branches, he said.
The 54-acre site is currently owned by Home Avenue Redevelopment (HAR), LLC. Starting in 2012, NAHA and the City of Dayton worked with HAR to acquire the site and demolish all but a row of six structures that include the two Wright factory buildings. HAR also prepared the site for redevelopment, including soil cleanup and asbestos removal in the remaining buildings.
The work was done with the aid of $3 million from the Clean Ohio Reutilization Fund and $ 1 million from DPH Holdings (formerly Delphi Automotive Systems). The Dayton City Commission committed $500,000 to HAR for the preparation of the site for redevelopment and reuse, including the preservation of the Wright factory and infrastructure.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley congratulated NAHA and Dayton Metro Library for working together to leverage their work “and make sure we have something truly spectacular here in the heart of West Dayton.”
The next steps in the redevelopment project will be for NAHA to acquire the entire site, sell a parcel to Dayton Metro Library for its West Branch, stabilize the now-vacant factory buildings and provide security for up to five years as it pursues further redevelopment projects with an emphasis on STEM education, aviation workforce training and aerospace business.
To make this happen, NAHA is raising $4 million in public and private funds. In 2015, the state of Ohio awarded a $250,000 capital grant. Recently, the Ohio General Assembly approved an additional $1 million. Additionally, the National Park Service has requested $450,000 in Fiscal Year 2017 funds to acquire the two Wright buildings as the Wright factory unit of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
NAHA is also conducting a philanthropic fundraising campaign and recently received a discretionary grant of $50,000 from The Dayton Foundation. Other significant support from Dayton Foundation funds includes $75,000 in grants from the Wright Family Foundation, a fund advised by Stephen Wright and Amanda Wright Lane, the Wright brothers’ great-grandnephew and great-grandniece, and a $50,000 grant from the Harry A. Toulmin, Jr., and Virginia B. Toulmin Fund.
NAHA’s near-term efforts including building a workshop in one of the attached buildings where Wright “B” Flyer Inc. can complete the construction of a new Wright Model B lookalike airplane. Since 1982, the all-volunteer nonprofit has been flying a lookalike of the first airplane the Wright brothers built in their factory, and it’s begun work on a new airplane to take over the mission.
Wright B Flyer, a NAHA partner, hopes to do the final assembly in the original Wright factory, making it the first Wright airplane built there in more than a century.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) is a nonprofit chartered by Congress in 2004 as the management entity for the National Aviation Heritage Area, a region of national historical importance encompassing Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Warren, Champaign, Shelby, and Auglaize counties. The Heritage Area is one of 49 National Heritage Areas in a program administrated by the National Park Service, and the only one dedicated to aviation heritage. Visit aviationheritagearea.org for more information.