The village of Yellow Springs, on the surface, is hopping economically. Property values are headed up, and downtown vacancies are low. Antioch College is growing and just opened a renovated fitness and wellness center. But just below the surface, the village has a lot of the same issues as other parts of the region. A lack of well-paying jobs means it’s becoming more of a bedroom community.
Janet Bednarek, a professor of history at the University of Dayton, specializes in airports—and in the idea of the airport as a hub for economic growth. She thinks airports bring a lot of potential, but there are also limitations; ultimately, she says, corporations decide where they want to go, and an “if you build it, they will come” approach can backfire.
“Dayton has always tried to capitalize on the fact that we’re at the intersection of two major interstates,” says Bednarek. “It just seems like the ability to capitalize on that hasn’t seemed to happen yet.”
Dayton’s got a problem with brain drain—young people get an education here, then leave to use those skills somewhere else. The organization UpDayton was created in part to combat that, and it’s now in its sixth year and holding a summit this Friday.