63 Things To Be Happy About In Dayton
by Mayor Gary D. Leitzell
A while back, a citizen came to me with a complaint: “There’s too much to do in Dayton.” I reassured the man this was a good problem to have. There is so much activity going on in Dayton these days – culturally, socially and economically. A few years ago, we saw signs of growth such as the new Kroc Center, the construction of Dayton Public Schools’ 26 new, state-of-the-art learning centers, new bridges, new bike paths and more. Unfortunately, this was offset by NCR leaving town and Forbes magazine labeling Dayton as the 10th Most Dying City in the United States.
However, in just a few years, we have really kicked up the pace and there have been many exciting things happening. Some are small and relatively petty like the parking lines painted on the street in South Park. Some are huge like the new GE Aviation project and the Welcome Dayton Plan, two major things that put us on the global radar screen and have gotten Dayton much positive national press. And there’s more. Much more.
I’ve compiled 63 positive things that have happened to Dayton in recent years. This does not include ongoing plans for new road repairs, new bridges, bike paths and regional successes like the Land Bank. Vacant houses continue to get demolished and we continue to push harder to become a greener city.
As a citizen of this city, ask yourself this: When in the last 40 years have you seen this many positive things happen? Not only that, the bulk of this activity is the direct result of citizens like you taking charge and making a difference. If you want Dayton to change, then you must be the one willing to bring on the changes, no matter how big or small. Knowing that all this is happening, it is time to invest in yourself and your community. So have at it!
63 great things that have happened in Dayton over the past few years
1. GE Aviation building planned and nearly completed; 2. New University of Dayton housing on Brown Street; 3. University of Dayton’s acquisition of the former NCR headquarters; 4. New downtown apartments from Charlie Simms Development – all sold within 12 months; 5. More apartments from Simms being built near the Fairgrounds; 6. Excelsior Lofts development; 7. Kindred Hospital developed and open for business; 8. Key Ads relocated to Downtown; 9. Pop-Up shops; 10. Welcome Dayton Plan; 11. Mediation committee formed to proactively create dialogue between the community and foreign-owned businesses; 12. Decrease in overall crime statistics with a smaller police force; 13. Change in attitude of media (ie: less bias); 14. Three year contracts between City of Dayton and unions (all previous contracts were one year); 15. Oregon District Rule of 17 resolved after 18 years; 16. Panhandling reform; 17. More restaurants/coffee shops downtown; 18. New businesses on W. 3rd St and Brown St; 19. Belmont Business Association reestablished; 20. New Hope Enclave neighborhood group formed and issues resolved with Miami Valley Hospital; 21. East Dayton Business Association formed; 22. 300% increase in recycling in three years. Cost to dispose: $0; 23. Monthly recycling participation lottery; 24. City Commission agenda available online before all meetings; 25. Emergency legislation moved to a two-part process; 26. City of Dayton Facebook page likes grew from 1000 to almost 12,000 in two years; 27. City of Dayton increased other social media presence to share information with citizens (YouTube, Twitter, etc.); 28. Crime stats now available online; 29. Online payment systems for water bills and fines; 30. Ability to report crimes online; 31. Renewed summer entertainment at Courthouse Square; 32. Riverscape kayak funds raised from private sector; 33. Revived the “Know Dayton, Sell Dayton” real estate program; 34. DIY pilot program for housing inspection; 35. Domestic partner registry; 36. Webster Street Outdoor Market; 37. Enterprising the City’s lime kiln; 38. More effective public service by using RFID technology; 39. Improved customer service at City Hall; 40. Finance and Treasury Departments at the City of Dayton awarded ISO 9001 status; 41. Self-insured health insurance at the City of Dayton; 42. Municipal Employee Appreciation Week developed throughout the region; 43. Occupy Dayton worked peacefully with the City and County; 44. Expansion of Goodwill Industries; 45. NCAA First Four Festival; 46. Community Police Relations council created; 47. Penn National racetrack; 48. Parking lines on streets in South Park; 49. Increase in public art; 50. Streamlined and faster building permitting process; 51. Expansion of Grandview Hospital; 52. Improvements at Carillon Park; 53. St. Anne’s Hill co-op brew pub (one of the fastest growing in the country); 54. Dayton named America’s Most Affordable City (Forbes; April, 2012); 55. Dayton named America’s third best city for increasing home prices (Dayton Business Journal; June 5, 2012); 56. Dayton named America’s second best mid-sized city for the arts (AmericanStyle; June, 2012); 57. First U.S. Census increase in 40 years; 58. Increased incentives for businesses contemplating relocating to Dayton; 59. Dayton Fashion Week; 60. Downtown Revival Festival; 61. Reuse of Memorial Hall for events; 62. Increased municipal employee recognition 63. CIRGV (Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence).
And there’s more to come. New businesses, new roads, more demolition of vacant/burned out houses, you name it. Good things are happening in Dayton … and don’t let them tell you otherwise.
Reach Dayton Mayor Gary D. Leitzell at (937) 333-3653 or GaryLeitzell@DaytonCityPaper.com.