South Park Neighborhood of the Year 2008? Nationally!

The Dayton Daily News has the good news for once:

Local neighborhood among finalists for national award
The Historic South Park Neighborhood Association is a finalist for the 2008 Neighborhood of the Year Award.

The award is presented by Neighborhoods, USA (NUSA), which announced finalists on Monday, April 14.

NUSA, which says it is the oldest grassroots organization in America, works to support neighborhood groups and presents yearly awards recognizing outstanding achievements by neighborhood organizations, businesses and municipalities.

The Historic South Park Neighborhood Association, representing the historic district south of downtown, is one of five groups being considered in the “physical revitalization” category…

…Representatives of South Park and other neighborhood nominees will put on presentations about their projects at the 33rd NUSA Conference on Neighborhood Concerns to be held May 21 to 24 in Hampton, Va. Winners are to be announced at the conference.

When I bought my house in 1986, I hardly thought I’d be in it more than 5 years- or in Dayton for that matter. Now, I’d have a hard time living in a different house, in a different neighborhood.

South Park is truly a remarkable place to live- with amazing people committed to creating a “neighborhood” with sense of place and a community spirit. NUSA couldn’t be too far off in making this neighborhood a finalist.

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redlady in daytonDavid EsratipizzabillJ.R. LockeTheresa Gasper Recent comment authors
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Teri Lussier

Congratulations to South Park for creating something of real value! Best of luck for your continued progress.

Theresa Gasper
Theresa Gasper

I met with a local realtor last week who, after hearing a couple of us talk about South Park, decided he wanted to get involved. He made an excellent point that we talked a lot about South Park is “becoming this” or is “on its way back” or “is about to become” and said we need to stop that immediately and instead focus on what South Park is now. As a realtor, his point was that so many people are so freaked out about the housing/foreclosure/vacancy/mortage crises that the present is scary enough, but the future is downright frightening. We need to focus on what South Park is NOW. So what is that? I personally believe South Park is a good investment, not because of what Michael DiFlora & I have done (buying a critical mass of houses to restore) but because of the people that live there. Talk about a Creative Class neighborhood! It’s easy to drive through the neighborhood and see the houses that aren’t quite up to par, but it’s not so easy to recognize the PEOPLE that live within the neighborhood. We’re talking architects, attorneys, university professors and staff, firefighters, IT professionals, WPAFB employees, budding politicians (you’re welcome, David), artists, philharmonic members, realtors, scientists, historians, etc. You may have a multi-generation welfare recipient family living right next door to a millionarie – but that’s the beauty of South Park – it’s diversity! Professions aside, South Park is a place where you can start out as a young single, get married, move into a larger house as your family grows, and move into a smaller house as your family shrinks, and still be there as a widow or widower – and know your neighbors will be watching out for you. There are groups for the women, for the men, for the families, for the knitters & crafters & book readers…and there is the South Park Tavern for Friday nights with the neighbors. South Park has solid neighbors in Miami Valley Hospital, UD, Woodland Cemetery and hopefully a new Midland development (aka Kroger store). The housing stock is… Read more »

J.R. Locke

I thought about buying a house last year in the South Park neighborhood a small bungalow just rehabbed. But I think if I do buy a house I want to rehab it myself.

Anyway Theresa you make some great points about South Park and the diversity is very important in my decision of where to live. And the ability to walk to my entertainment choices.

Congrats to the South Park neighborhood and all those people who invested time, resources and effort there.


South Park is where I decided to put down my business roots, so to speak. I learned a lot about the value of community as a young business owner on Salem Ave. in the Dayton View Triangle, and when I decided to open another shop over ten years ago, South Park had the good neighborhood feel back then. And it has continued to improve every year in both quantitative and intangible ways.

A great test of the fabric of a community is to ask people to name five TV or movie stars, and then name five of their neighbors. This isn’t meant to be embarrassing, but simply as a consciousness raiser. Like many communities, South Park in particular works hard at encouraging its residents to interact and weave that vitally important fabric of community. I’m proud to be a part of the business community in South Park, and will continue to support the neighborhood in any way I can.

Awards are nice and appreciated, especially if we can be an example to other communities, but win or not, I predict South Park will continue to improve as a neighborhood in the truest sense of the word.

David Esrati
David Esrati

And even if South Park doesn’t win- we still have Pizza Factory pizza and the other 4 nominees don’t. That makes us winners already.
Disclaimer: yes, my ad agency does work for the Pizza Factory- but, I’ve never seen another business so integrated into the soul of a neighborhood.
If there was an award for corporate citizenship- PF would be the winner- year in, year out.

Theresa Gasper
Theresa Gasper

I could not agree with you more about Pizza Factory. Bill is always there feeding the masses for various events. It’s been great to see the crowds grow at the Tavern and to see the neighborhood support Bill as much as he supports the neighborhood. Between Bill donating food and Hope Lutheran Church donating space (as well as Emerson), South Park is very fortunate to have such solid members in its community.

redlady in dayton

Planning a celebration in South Park for June, being a finalist for NUSA is reason enough. Invite all of Dayton to join us for music, food, and a communal pat on the back. South Park works very hard, and it is shaping up to be another very busy summer. We need to take a moment to celebrate and play a little before the work all starts again.