The Dayton area has proposed $30 million worth of economic development projects for Ohio’s 2015-2016 budget. It’s the first time in five years local groups have had a chance to request construction funds, and the governor’s Office of Budget and Management (OBM) is going through over 100 proposals from around the state now.
The state’s budget for infrastructure and construction projects, known as the capital budget, shrunk to zero in 2011 and 2012, then came back up to $1.7 billion in the current 2-year budget, but it’s been years since community development projects got a slice of that pie.
In fall of 2013, OBM put out a call for requests and designated coordinating organizations in six regions of the state to organize and prioritize local project proposals, following a community input model previously used in education funding. The Dayton Development Coalition was selected as the western regional representative, and in late December the organization submitted a list of 32 project proposals totaling over $30 million.
The top priorities for the greater Dayton area include a $2 million request for a new business site downtown, $1.5 million for a cyber security research lab to be housed at Wright State, and $1.5 million for a parking facility in downtown Springfield. The $2 million project, titled “Project Elwood,” would support an unnamed downtown company to expand and add an estimated 260 jobs over two years.
There was also a request for $1 million to help build a drone hangar in Springfield, but that request was filed before this week’s news that southwest Ohio was not selected as one of six regional drone testing sites. Missing out the site designation significantly changes the forecast for testing of commercial unmanned aerial systems in the Dayton/Springfield area.
Requests from across the state will be whittled down by Kasich’s staff and legislators before a vote later this year.