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Demolition of Dayton Building, New City Building Plan Draw Protest

A proposed future location of a new city building in Dayton would require the demolition of four nearby houses and the elimination of a green space in the city center.

The proposal was discussed at length when brought up by two concerned residents at last week's city council meeting.

"I think it's a terrible waste and a terrible mistake," Beth Nyman told council. She has emerged as a vocal critic of the plans to demolish three homes on Berry Avenue, two of which are owned by the city, and one at 701 Sixth Avenue, the demolition of which appears to be imminent.

The Dayton government has outgrown its current facility and plans developed years ago call for a new building to be constructed through proceeds from the Manhattan Harbour development along the riverfront. The proposed site is at 6th and Berry, where a small park has been used for town gatherings.

"It pains me to see that the city would choose to demolish an historic building rather than repurpose it," said resident Beth Field. She cited the new restaurants in the city that are all within historic buildings. "These businesses would not be able to afford new construction. They need the type of properties that Dayton has." Field argued that Dayton has the same potential for a renaissance as Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. "The possibilities of restoring these little houses are endless."

City officials like Mayor Virgil Boruke and City Administrator Michael Giffen, along with some council members, have argued that 701 Sixth, in particular, is in such bad shape that it would be cost prohibitive to save.

Not all residents want the building at 701 Sixth to stay.

Karen Strickley called it an eyesore and said, "Just because it's old, doesn't make it historical."


LISTEN:

Beth Nyman and Dayton city council members Ben Baker and Joe Neary talk about the probable demolitions and plans for a new city building with RCN's Michael Monks:


Meanwhile, the former YMCA building, also owned by the city, was discussed, too.

Civic Club leader Tammy Cornett said that the building could be used for community events. The city is in the early stages of possibly landing a commercial tenant.

Councilman Ben Baker said that the business is a health-related one and would be open to allowing the community to use some of the space still.

Councilman Jeff Volter suggested that the local organizations like the civic club should work with Dayton Independent Schools on using space, since the school district appears to be open to that.

Dayton City Council meetings are currently at the Dayton Board of Education offices while the old council chamber is being used for storage.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: 701 Sixth Avenue (via Campbell Co. PVA)