NAHA, NPS official meet in D.C.
to discuss Wright Company factory
NAHA Chair Tony Perfilio and Executive Director Tony Sculimbrene flew to Washington, D.C. on Monday, May 20, to meet with a senior National Park Service official about the Wright Company Factory Site. They met for 75 minutes with Vic Knox, the agency's associate director of park planning, facilities, and lands.
Despite having a huge area of responsibility, Knox showed a strong interest in the buildings where America's aerospace industry was born and asked many questions that extended their meeting beyond its allotted time, Sculimbrene said. He said the meeting was important because Knox will have a critical role in determining how the National Park Service ultimately acquires and manages the site, which includes the original two Wright Company buildings and three adjoining buildings that were added later to produce aircraft parts during the First World War.
The buildings are located on the 54-acre former Delphi Home Avenue automotive manufacturing plant in west Dayton. Home Avenue Redevelopment LLC, formed by Hull & Associates Inc. of Mason, acquired the site for redevelopment and is clearing it of all non-historic buildings with major funding from a $3 million Clean Ohio Fund grant. The city of Dayton has said redeveloping the site for commercial use and historical tourism could transform the surrounding blighted neighborhood.
"We wanted him to know that NAHA is a strong advocate for having the National Park Service in Buildings 1 and 2, but the transformation of this site won't be fully successful unless there are activities in Buildings 3, 4 and 5 and other commercial activities on the surrounding acres," Sculimbrene said. "He made clear the park service is receptive to have commercial development around Buildings 1 and 2 that would complement their activities. He understood that having NAHA as a partner in that development might make it easier for the National Park Service to make that happen."
"We said we understand that one of Director Jarvis's interests is make the national parks more accessible to America's minorities," said Sculimbrene, referring to National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "The Wright Company Factory Site is embedded in a minority community, and it would allow the park service to have a direct and immediate positive impact on that community."
This kind of transformation has taken place in inner west Dayton, just two miles east of the factory site, with the creation of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and a public-private partnership that restored the historic Wright-Dunbar neighborhood.
Visit www.aviationheritagearea.org for more information about the Wright Company Factory Site.