DAYTON — A groundbreaking ceremony in Dayton on Friday, Oct. 28, began a community-inspired transformation of the former Good Samaritan Hospital site.
More than 100 people attended the ceremony headlined by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. Afterward, the project’s six partners smiled as their shovels turned over dirt, signaling the start of a promising future for the 13-acre campus.
“This is such a big deal for Dayton,” Brown said in a press release release. “This revitalization initiative obviously represents an investment in health and wellness for the residents of this community, but it’s also the economic wellness of this neighborhood. This new campus will help to resource the community in ways I don’t think we can quite imagine yet.”
The Premier Health YMCA will serve as the centerpiece of the new destination, offering residents health and wellness services, educational opportunities, job training, and assistance for prospective and current homeowners. The site will be a true amenity for local neighborhoods and larger community, officials said.
“We will respect and advance the legacy of community-focused work that Northwest Dayton has come to expect from Premier Health and all of the partners here today,” said Michael C. Riordan, president and CEO of Premier Health, iin the release. He plans to transfer his membership to the new YMCA after it opens in late 2023.
After Good Samaritan Hospital closed in 2018, Premier Health hired a consultant to partner with the community and help reimagine the site on Salem Avenue at Philadelphia Drive. That effort, called Phoenix Next, builds on the Phoenix Project, a 15-year community redevelopment initiative. More than 600 stakeholders and residents offered ideas during meetings, workshops, interviews, and through online surveys.
The community’s desire for an anchor promoting healthy living and next-generation learning was loud and clear, said Eloise Broner, Premier Health’s chief of shared services and chair of the Phoenix Next board.
“The community is driving what we do,” she said in the release. “This is an opportunity to thank them for the input they provided and to make sure we are repurposing the 13 acres to the highest and best needs of the community.”
The Premier Health YMCA, together with Premier Health, will occupy a majority of the 52,000-square-foot facility. Premier Health will provide urgent care services at the campus, as well as physical therapy, lab services, and medical imaging alongside physician offices. The Premier Health YMCA – nearly half the proposed facility – will have a fitness center, full basketball court, four-lane pool, aerobics area, and multipurpose rooms.
“On behalf of the board and staff of the YMCA of Greater Dayton, we are excited to be part of a collaborative project serving Northwest Dayton,” said Dale Brunner, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton YMCA, in the release. “The YMCA of Greater Dayton has served the Miami Valley for over 150 years and we look forward to the positive impact this Y will make for years to come.”
The building will also house services and programming for four other partners: CareSource Life Services, County Corp’s HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton, Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley, and Wright State University. Altogether, the partners are expected to employ about 80 people at the new site.
The inclusion of multiple partners greatly leverages the facility as a community asset, Brunner said.
“This facility will be a one-stop shop for the community. Most importantly, we looked at what the community surveys asked for and then we secured partners to provide the services.”
Premier Health committed $15 million toward redevelopment of the campus and surrounding neighborhoods, according to Broner.
“When I look back over 20 years and think of all the work that Premier Health and other partners have done in the community, it’s pretty astonishing,” she said. “Development breeds development, so we believe that there will be future development on the site as well. And we’ve already started thinking about what some of that future development could look like.”