Downtown Dayton's dawn

Downtown Dayton's dawn

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Above: A few of Dayton's downtown buildings have been refurbished in the past year.
Below: The historic square in the middle of downtown is one of Dayton's biggest assets.
// Photos by Sierra Breshears
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Over the past year, three historic downtown buildings have been refreshed, and in August the town began work on a strategic plan, according to Kelly Haverkate, program manager for the Dayton Community Development Association (DCDA). She says the plan, to be completed in December, will be used to guide the redevelopment of the downtown, along with being a business-recruiting tool.

Stoller wants to find developers for his properties, and he would like to see multiuse or even residential projects in them. “And Jim Seufert is there with his winery,” Stoller says. “It would be great to have a few more. We need that critical mass.”

Seufert founded his winery in 2005 and opened his tasting room in downtown Dayton in 2007. He also is on the board of the DCDA. Seufert thinks the town should build on its food roots: its agricultural history, wine country location and nearby organic farms. In addition, the town is home to the highly regarded Joel Palmer House restaurant.

“Each little town needs a clear calling card. Carlton has really staked out the wine angle,” says Seufert. “Because of Dayton’s history, food is a natural fit.”

What excites Seufert is the idea for a $5 million, 15,000-square-foot food-business incubator on or nearby the central square with three components: a shared production facility, retail space to sell food products made on site, and room for training and meetings. He says the DCDA is working on this idea and exploring setting up a nonprofit group to organize it and look for funding.

“The key is to figure out what Dayton wants to be, needs to be. And then you market it. We’ve always struggled with that,” says Stoller. “It’s going to take a long view and 25 years to get there. But I think I have that time to see it through.”