I feel it is important for me to take this opportunity to clarify the intentions of my administration regarding the plans and construction of a new community center/city building for the City of Dayton. I ran for Mayor with the promise of doing everything within my means to reinstate progress towards a design and eventual construction of a community center, and I believe it can become a focal point of our growing business district.
The City began to plan for a new community center in 2005 when plans for a new community center and its location were outlined and approved unanimously by council as part of the Manhttan Harbour Development Agreement. In the following years the city began to invest thousands of dollars to acquire and demolish property to ready the Berry Street/Sixth Avenue site for the project. As plans and progress for Manhattan Harbour slowed in 2009 due to the recession, so too did the city’s actions for acquiring the remaining property needed for the community center. I am pleased to announce that at the May 2nd council meeting of this year, the Dayton City Council voted to purchase the last property needed for the community center site.
The City is in desperate need of a new building to conduct city business. We have completely run out of room in the current building to store the files we are required to keep for extended periods of time. We have had to resort to storing other non-sensitive information in several other buildings across the city. We often host developers and investors from all over the country to discuss development and we are forced to cram them into small meeting rooms or offices that are not to the level of professionalism that should be expected for a city with the high level of development space we have to offer. For three years we have relied on the school to host our council meetings along with various other board meetings of the city and it would be nice to bring all of that back under the city’s roof.
One of my major concerns is the conditions for our police department. Most of our Police Officers have their offices in the basement of the current building. The Police Department offices are so crowded the Chief, Lieutenant, and Clerk now occupy the space that was formally our council chambers. Our evidence room has reached its capacity and the rest of our officers are forced to create working space in any of the remaining areas. As we continue to grow the department, keep our city safe, and keep our officer’s moral high, we need a high quality facility to match those motives.
Since we recently acquired the last remaining piece for the community center site, what does this mean going forward? I want it to be known that we have no intention of taking away the green space, veteran’s memorials and monuments, and other amenities that our citizens’ and those visiting have come to know and love. While some preliminary designs for a community center were done in 2008 and 2009 We have every intention of completing a new design so we can be sure all of the elements listed above are incorporated into the site. A lot has changed in 10 years and I think we should design a community center to reflect Dayton’s current needs.
The Dayton Community Center project has been a vision for our community for well over a decade. Through the years, we have worked to acquire the property to move forward with the project. We have shown the need, and we are taking the next steps to make this long term community vision a reality.