The $4 million initiative seeks to preserve and transform the 54-acre area for airplane production, now abandoned, into a historical site where visitors can see how aircraft were built in the early 20th century.
NAHA plans to acquire the property before the year’s end: So far, the group has raised around $2 million, the Dayton Daily News reports, with the city putting down $500,000 and the state, double that.
Like nearly every Rust Belt city, Dayton was hit hard by deindustrialization and harder still by the 2008 recession. With major employers like National Cash Register (NCR), the Mead Paper Company, and General Motors downsizing or gone altogether, the city’s population has declined by 100,000 since the 1960s.
Yet city leaders believe that aviation tourism, bolstered by strong transportation links to Indianapolis, Columbus, and Cincinnati, will draw visitors to Dayton to learn about airplanes and you know, spend some money, although the economic impact of heritage tourism is unclear.