From 2009–2016, several community leaders worked to bring regionalism to the Dayton area to make the region more economically competitve and to help make development more strategic. The tactic they settled on was a city-county merger that would also merge some major suburbs into Dayton.
Mayor Nan Whaley’s opposition tanked the initiative. She convinced large numbers of influential Daytonians that the initative would disenfranchise the black vote. Not willing to take a chance with voters, she then annexed property in Greene County, which effectively killed the iniatiative as this would require it to appear on the ballot in both counties.
Dayton Together was a bold initiative that could have drastically altered the Dayton region. Unfortunately, the goals of Dayton Together and the policies it would institute were not well understood by the public. This can be attributed to strategic misteps by the group, but it’s also an example of how local politicians will intentionally kill initiatives that will benefit the region if they believe it will weaken their power.
Dayton Together put conducted and compiled research to make their case. This research has been archived at Wright State University. If you’re interested in regionalism—espeically in the Dayton region—this archive is an essential starting point. Click the link below to see the archive.