Dayton Development Coalition

A three-day conference on unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, starts Tuesday in Dayton. This is the third Ohio UAS conference, and the first one since the greater Dayton area was turned down in its bid to become a federal testing site for commercial drones; Mo McDonald with the Dayton Development Coalition says he still expects the industry to grow in Dayton.

wright-patterson air force base gates
Flickr Creative Commons user soundfromwayout

Congress is working on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2015, the major policy bill for the military. The latest House version of the bill prohibits a Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC in the next couple years, although it does allow the military to start planning for one.

BRACs let the Pentagon recommend military bases and operations to close or move. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton is the biggest single-site employer in the state, which means the BRAC process is closely watched in the Dayton area.

Dayton - MarkDonna/Cincinnati - Paul Armstrong / Wikimedia

Cities across the country have been given a deadline extension to apply for federal money to support manufacturing. Dayton and Cincinnati are filing a joint application for the funds. 

Ten federal agencies will distribute $1.3 billion dollars to 12 designated ‘manufacturing communities’ nationwide.

Dayton, Cincinnati, Montgomery County and the Dayton Development Coalition are all collaborating on regional application.  The federal program is called "Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership." 

Jeff Hoagland, CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition,
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

This week on Under Construction we’re talking accountability: how are public funds for economic development spent and how are they tracked? Dayton Daily News investigative reporter Lynn Hulsey recently found the Dayton Development Coalition isn’t forthcoming with that information. The coalition, which is a nonprofit, funnels millions in government funds to local development projects.

A Lockheed Martin F-35 air plane air force
Mark Jones Jr. / Flickr

President Obama’s budget proposals have been making waves this week. He and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are pushing to downsize the Army and Air Force and finally end the war in Afghanistan.

But buried deeper in the President's defense budget, are line items for scientific research, says Michael Gessel with the Dayton Development Coalition.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The Federal Aviation Administration handed down its decision earlier this week that the Dayton region was not selected as one of the six national test sites for commercial drones. The news comes after months of preparation from business and industry officials, as well as Ohio’s political leaders. But Chris Ford with the Dayton Development Coalition says it won’t change the game for the drone industry in the region.

Open Clipart User nebu

 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.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

 Southwest Ohio was passed over as a drone test site. On December 30, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it will develop test sites for unmanned vehicles in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia, which the agency says together provide the necessary climatic and geographic diversity for testing.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Right now, if you can spare the cash, you can buy your own drone—or unmanned aerial vehicle, as the industry likes to call them. You can buy local, too, because the Dayton area is trying to shape itself as a hub for the growing commercial drone industry. In a couple years local companies would like to be using them for agricultural purposes, emergency response, entertainment, even surveillance.

"The FAA really needs to address the procedures and policies associated with flying these systems," says Maurice McDonald at the Dayton Development Coalition.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Click here for the extended story on American Public Media's Marketplace.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to make a decision soon about where to open up air space for the testing of commercial drones. Southwest Ohio is competing to become one of six sites around the country as the FAA prepares to regulate the commercial drone industry by late 2015.

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