Dragonfly Foundation considers Butler County for next project

An area non-profit’s plans could make Butler County the home of a new cancer care model believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.

The Landing 3.0 is the next stage of evolution for The Dragonfly Foundation, according to Ria Davidson, who co-founded the Symmes Twp.-based non-profit in 2010 to help meet the patient care needs of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute patients and families from birth to age 30.

The $25 million to $30 million development is envisioned as a neighborhood that brings together young cancer and bone marrow patients and their families in short-term housing, and also includes a 60,000 to 70,000-square-foot hotel and 230,000 square feet of apartments.

Of the 200 apartments, 50 will be for short-term use for Dragonfly families with the remainder available for members of the general public who want to live in a socially conscious community, Davidson said.

“Think about this space as being more than just for Dragonfly,” she said. “We’re a non-profit serving a specific part of the population. If you brought in the definition of who are community is to supporters, we can build a community where supporters can specifically rent or purchase homes or stay in a hotel where they know a portion of what they spend on either HOA fees or rent or the hotel fee would come back to supporting our mission.”

“They’re making a specific choice to live in a community with the understanding that their money is going to be used for something other than going for their taxes. It’s a mission supported community.”

That model of cancer care would be the first of its kind in the nation and possibly worldwide, Davidson said.

“I’ve gotten calls about that where other non-profits are saying ‘This is going to totally change how we think about public-private partnerships,’ ” she said.

The project would be 20 to 30 acres, allowing the Dragonfly Foundation to expand from its current 6,000-square-foot facility and build a new 15,000 square foot permanent location to serve Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, its Liberty Campus and other area hospitals.

While Davidson said the foundation cannot disclose the location at this time as talks are still underway, she said it was “somewhere along the I-75 corridor,” offering convenient access to Children’s locations in Liberty Twp., Cincinnati and Dayton.

“(Cincinnati Children’s) downtown location is always going to be our number one focus because they serve many more cancer families there, but with the new proton therapy center (coming to Liberty Campus) and new treatment options and expansion that Liberty offers, it certainly makes it appealing,” Davidson said. “It’s something that obviously came up in discussions. We wanted to be accessible, but we also wanted to be accessible to Dayton and Cincinnati.”

“Our preference is to be in or near Liberty Twp.,” she said.

Cincinnati Children’s started construction in 2014 on a more than 80,000-square-foot proton therapy and research center for cancer treatment in Butler County at the site of the hospital’s Liberty Campus.

A fourth floor that adds inpatient beds is also being built onto the hospital, which can be seen from Interstate 75, and is located off the Ohio 129 interchange.

The larger size of The Landing 3.0 will be better suited to accommodate growing numbers of patients and allow Dragonfly the opportunity to enhance services and programs that help patients and caregivers navigate the journey from admission to treatment and long-term recovery, Davidson said.

The new space will be a home-like environment with both activity and quiet areas for the foundation’s patients and families to enjoy “a home away from home.”

The property is planned to feature private foundation-only amenities, including The Landing, a mini-golf space, a Zen garden and more, as well as a shared fitness center and a park-like setting with walking trails, a handicapped accessible playground, outdoor amphitheater and water features.

“Even if we make a hospital warm, we can’t make it like a home,” Davidson said.

The Dragonfly Foundation recently launched a campaign to raise $15 million over the next two years or sooner, hoping to breaking ground for The Landing 3.0 by the end of 2015 and completing the project by 2017, Davidson said.

The foundation currently serves patients and families from 46 states and six foreign countries who are treated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s CBDI, Davidson said. Local families, as well as families from outside the Greater Cincinnati area, welcome having a place to go besides home, the hospital, their motel or hotel room or a room at the Ronald McDonald House, she said.

The Landing is available to any registered Dragonfly Foundation patient and their immediate family members.

Caroline McKinney, Liberty Twp.’s economic development director, said it’s “fantastic” to hear about the Dragonfly Foundation’s growth plans in the region.

“There is no doubt that Cincinnati Children’s new proton therapy facility will have an incredible, far-reaching impact on children and families across the globe,” McKinney said. “And then when you think about the opportunities for organizations like Dragonfly Foundation to partner and become a strong community resource in helping to serve these families, it’s extremely exciting. No matter where the project lands it will be a wonderful asset for Greater Cincinnati.”

For more information, visit www.BuildTheLanding.org or visit www.dragonfly.org or call 513-494-6474.

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