Executive Director at Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation
Chad Downing is a partner in the family owned and operated community and economic development consulting firm, Downing Community Advisors (DCA). After graduating from Wittenberg University, Downing had the opportunity to join forces with his father to create a consulting firm to work with small to medium sized communities in Ohio facing housing, community, and economic development challenges from the Great Recession. In doing so, Downing followed in the footsteps of his family to work in roles to serve the communities in which we live and work and the motto of his alma mater, “having light we pass it on to others.”
Since forming DCA, Downing has worked across Ohio with a focus on Western Ohio. With an emphasis on working with Land Banks and Community Improvement Corporations, Downing has spent his working career supporting communities struggling with vacancy, blight, and distressed real estate. A primary client for DCA over the past 10 years has been the city of Trotwood and the Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation (TCIC). In 2019, DCA was hired to serve as the Executive Director of the TCIC, under Downing’s direction, overseeing all economic and community development activities for Trotwood. Some other communities and non-profits DCA has served include Allen County, Lima, Riverside, Marion, and LADD.
Downing is also proud to serve on the “Friends of Aullwood” board of directors, which supports the Aullwood Audubon Nature Center & Farm in north Montgomery County.
Downing received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minors in East Asian Studies and Geography from Wittenberg University (2013) in Springfield, Ohio.
The city of Trotwood has been a community redefining itself since the Salem Mall closed in the early 2000’s. The community was setback in this process by the economic impacts of the Great Recession and the natural disaster of the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado. However, demonstrating resilience and determination, the Trotwood community has worked to demonstrate itself as a community that can be a choice for development. With the objective of expanding and diversifying our economy through creating partnerships around industrial development, the community is creating opportunities for new types of jobs—not just the primary retail base of the Salem Mall era. Furthermore, the City of Trotwood has taken efforts to expand our capacity through the utilization of the Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation and this has resulted in the community taking its seat at the table and telling our story. Through these efforts, we have been able to demonstrate to community members and outside developers that Trotwood is a good investment and presents real opportunities for economic growth. A key aspect of this has been prioritizing and articulating the opportunities on key development or redevelopment sites in Trotwood, many of which are owned by the Trotwood CIC, and creatively using incentive tools to support the sustainability and attractiveness of these sites—without compromising the government services offered to our community. This session will discuss the economic development progress the City of Trotwood has had in recent years and will highlight the policy decisions and partnerships created to drive this progress.
Site Selection for development is not always the same for each community. For those communities undergoing an economic revival and are redeveloping, the approach and considerations in working with developers and businesses is slightly different than a well-established community that has a strong track record of growth. As a result, different tactics and tools must be deployed to encourage and incentivize development in order to catalyze economic growth. Focusing on the unique attributes of the community and emphasizing these as opportunities helps communities distinguish themselves for businesses and developers seeking these opportunities to work with communities that are redeveloping. Furthermore, having the right types of community organizations in place to promote and work with these businesses and developers is key. However, the need for utilities, community amenities, and utilization of creative incentive/support tools is still critical. This session will focus on site selection tools and resources, especially from the lens of communities seeking to redevelop key sites or buildings in their redevelopment priority areas.