The mayors of three Miami Valley cities will pitch the economic benefits of their communities to defense contractors Feb. 5 in what’s believed to be a first-of-its-kind forum in the region, an organizer said.
The Dayton Area Defense Contractors Association has organized the gathering at the Hope Hotel and Conference Center at Wright-Patterson in Fairborn.
The mayors of Dayton, Beavercreek, Fairborn, and an economic development leader in Riverside were expected to speak at the forum, said Deborah Gross, executive director of Dayton Defense, the contractor’s association.
“The strength of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the very large contractor base around Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is critical for the health and stability of our region,” she said.
Robert J. Murray, planning and economic development director, said defense contractors have a “huge” presence in Riverside, which borders the sprawling base.
Despite impending sequestration cuts, which have not yet been outlined for this fiscal year, Wright-Patterson still has a “lot of money at the base” key to the regional economy, he said.
A Department of Defense imitative to partner with small businesses could open the door to more economic growth around the base, he said. “Although the defense budget is reducing as a whole … we’re nowhere maxed out with the percentage of contracts that are available,” Murray said.
The city offers tax breaks, county economic development grants and office space for start-up companies, among other things, he said.
On site registration for the Feb. 5 breakfast forum, “Spotlight on Our Cities,” will begin at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $20 for Dayton Defense members and $30 for non-members, Gross said. Attendees may also register at DaytonDefense.org.