City of Clayton, Ohio
firmly focused on smart sustainable growth
With continued growth on the radar, the City of Clayton continues to provide top-tier amenities
With signs of growth and dynamic economic and infrastructure initiatives in the pipeline The city of Clayton, in Montgomery County Ohio is clearly on the rise. Providing residents with just the right mix of historical charm and modern amenities, the city also remains a great place to call home.
The city traces its roots back 25 years ago when the Village of Clayton merged with Randolph Township. As part of the larger Northmont Community, Clayton has a population of 13,269 and is a central location for schools, festivals, and gatherings. Although the city is only 50 miles from both Columbus and Cincinnati, and about 6 miles from Dayton, there is an ongoing effort to maintain Clayton’s status as a desirable place to live in and enjoy, offering many of the amenities required for a high-quality life.
Amanda Zimmerlin, City Manager shares, “We provide wonderful public services, our roads are top-notch, we are the home of Northmont City Schools, we have a golf course and a banquet facility that the city has begun to use as a focal point for the surrounding communities, hosting different events, like breakfast with Santa. We also do large fireworks displays over Labor Day weekend with food and activities for children. Clayton really is an integral part of Northwestern Montgomery County.”
As a growing community, Clayton is working to meet the need for more housing inventory, with three developments under construction, totaling 300 new residential units. One of these is the Grand Villas of Clayton, consisting of 118 single-story homes, geared to professionals and retirees.
“We have quite a number of retirees, grandparents who moved outside of the Northmont area because we didn’t have the type of low maintenance lifestyle housing options available here in Northmont and in the city of Clayton,” says Jack Kuntz, Director of Development.
“Now they’re calling us and wanting to find out how they can get on the waiting list for Grand Villa’s of Clayton because they want to move back to the community, be closer to their families, their grandchildren, with the amenities that we have here.”
Another project underway is Hunters Path, bringing 125 single-family homes to Clayton.
“They’re really targeting families that are currently living in an owner-occupied house and are looking to either graduate to the second or third generation of a house within Northmont, or they want to move into the Northmont region because of the schools and because of the amenities,” Kuntz relays.
He adds that as part of the Northmont City Schools district, Clayton is a draw for families, noting, “They are always ranked excellent in the state of Ohio. They have great reputations for sports, as well as extracurricular activities. We have families that are trying to get into the city of Clayton and the Northmont region, and Hunters Path is going to provide them an opportunity to get that next level of a house, as well as being part of the community.”
The third project underway in Clayton is the continuation of a residential community that Kuntz says was approved 15 years ago.
He recounts, “The project which is under construction right now is called Wenger Village section three. The first two sections were completed by Inverness. The third section was never completed. So, Oak Street Development came on, and they are working with DR Horton Home Builder to finish that project off.” Once completed, this development will offer an additional 70 new single-family units, with a combination of patio-style homes, and estate-type housing, attracting a variety of residents.
In addition, the city has three other housing developments which are in the planning stages, including a mixed-use project called The Village of North Clayton, located in the middle of the Northmont Community on US-40. Originally brought forward in 2005, this project was delayed for various reasons until Windsor Properties purchased the property in 2020.
“That’s approximately an $80 to $100 million project that is going to see an influx of anywhere between 150 to 200 new residential units, which is really going to drive the potential that was originally seen at that location. We’re really excited about that,” Kuntz says. With a mix of housing styles, The Village of North Clayton will feature high end apartments targeting young professionals along with townhouses, custom single-family homes and pocket neighborhoods, with shared community spaces, along with commercial areas.
Currently, Clayton’s major employers are Caterpillar and Northmont City Schools, along with a wide selection of small local businesses and service providers. The city is working to bring new industry, attracting companies like Roadstar Trucking, a Canadian trucking company, who have recently purchased a six-acre tract with plans to bring their operations to the US.
“In terms of access to the interstate system, it’s an ideal location for trucking or logistics,” Kuntz acknowledges. “Also, our access to the Dayton International Airport really lends itself to manufacturing, logistics, and all those industrial types of uses.”
With the goal of being open in 2023, Roadstar will be employing 15-25 people to start. “It really represents the city of Clayton as an ideal location,” he suggests. “There’s a lot of activity going on around the Dayton airport right now in terms of manufacturing and logistics. We’re located only six minutes from the airport, but the cost of living and the cost of doing business is cheaper.”
In an effort to attract more of this type of business, the City of Clayton has streamlined its zoning and permitting processes and transitioned to its own building department, which previously was part of Montgomery County.
“We are going to cut down the red tape, probably by about 75% in terms of timeframes. By doing business in the city of Clayton, we hope you find a pro-business community and staff that is willing to work with end users to get their product out to market as quickly as possible. We think Roadstar Trucking is going to be that first business that demonstrates how quickly we can get these projects to the finish line, and really demonstrate what the city of Clayton is all about,” Kuntz asserts.
On the subject of workforce training, Kuntz reports that Miami Valley Career Technical Center (MVCTC), and the MVCTC Adult Education Center are valuable resources for the city, while Sinclair Community College also provides vital workforce training opportunities. Montgomery County’s award winning BusinessFirst! Program also provides countless resources for new and existing businesses in Clayton, including the county’s Business Solutions Center and the Job Center ensuring workforce training is always at the forefront of the local economic climate.
He says, “When we have our regional business meetings we have those anchors, Montgomery County, Sinclair, MVCTC, Northmont City Schools, at those meetings, so we’re all on the same page. We’re fortunate that Montgomery County has done a nice job with their business development in terms of making sure that these different resources are well marketed, and that when we’re talking to businesses in different industry sectors, we are able to provide them with the resources to reach out for future employment opportunities.”
A valuable partnership with Montgomery County is part of Clayton’s success, along with strong relationships with Northmont City Schools, and the State of Ohio, which the city relies on for various grants.
As for other partnerships, Zimmerlin conveys, “We have the Northmont Chamber of Commerce, and we work closely with them. We also work with the Dayton Development Coalition, and Jobs Ohio.” On the community side, Clayton has an Adopt a Roadway program, where residents and civic organizations can clean up litter. The city also promotes local businesses, offering business spotlights that provide 5 minutes of video about a local enterprise, to be shared via social media, by the business and the city.
When Clayton acquired the Meadowbrook Golf Course through a donation in 2015, it provided the perfect opportunity for a community space, and it has become a cornerstone of the city. “City council and staff have worked very hard to make that 18-hole golf course and its event facility the place for our community to gather,” Zimmerlin explains. “Like a lot of cities that were townships at one time, we don’t really have a center city. We do have the old village, but we don’t have a gathering space that’s large and Meadowbrook has really serviced that.”
With several parks throughout the community, Clayton has recently secured a grant to add a new accessible parking lot to North View Park, through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. A Community Development Block Grant, and ARPA funds were also used to buy a new accessible playground for that park.
“It’s an inclusive playground. I know that one of the goals really is to make sure that everybody in the community has an opportunity to experience and use the parks that we have,” she maintains. Park path resurfacing is also in the plans for 2023, another effort to make sure the city is as accessible as possible.
Looking ahead, Zimmerlin says that there will be a continued focus on manageable and sustainable growth in the city of Clayton, following the land use plan that has been put into place.
She elaborates, “I think that if we continue to follow that plan, we are going to achieve the goal of sustainable, smart growth. We are not going to outrun our resources, and we are going to be able to make Clayton an even better place.”
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AT A GLANCE
City of Clayton
What: A growing city of 13,269, part of the larger Northmont Community
Where: Montgomery County, Ohio