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New Economic Development Plan for Downtown Dayton & Other Notes from Council Meeting

As with the first session of Dayton’s current City Council, this month’s meeting yielded progress for a number of projects, including the introduction of a new economic
development plan, discussion of next steps for the Manhattan Harbour development, steps forward for a new city park, and the presence of a new police chief.
Here’s a roundup of items discussed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting:
  • ­City Council approved City Administrator Michael Giffen’s request to submit a report to the National Park Service on the plot of land located on Dayton Pike, which Giffen has recommended become the replacement for Riverside Park, currently located on property slated for development within the Manhattan Harbour project. Whether the Dayton Pike location was the right choice was the topic of some debate last month, but Giffen said, “We don’t have many options in this case, unfortunately,” also stating that to start the assessment of another location would add another three or four years to the process.
  • Jim Read and Brendan Sullivan, the architect and developer implementing the Manhattan Harbour riverfront development in Dayton, offered council a preview of the most recent plans they intend to announce and present next month. Most notably, the developers have added what they called a “transitional space,” which would include a proposed five multi-purpose residential/commercial buildings meant to provide a “buffer area,” as Sullivan put it, between the single-­family homes already planned for Dayton’s riverfront and the signature space that will include two multi­-family residential complexes, south of the flood wall. Read and Sullivan, throughout their presentation, emphasized that these are still preliminary indications of what their ultimate proposal will include, in that they have only now reached out to the Army Corps of Engineers, whose involvement is required because of the project’s proximity to the city’s flood levee.
  • New Police Chief David Halfhill, during what was his first City Council meeting, explained how he has deployed more officers for nighttime shifts, both on patrol and for taking calls to the station. Halfhill went on to explain that the city’s much anticipated crime reporting mobile app is still being configured, citing issues with the app’s Apple iOS version. “Hopefully by the next council meeting, it will be up and running,” Halfhill said.
  • Main Street Manager Anthony Cadle presented council with a new economic development plan for the city, the Commercial Community Advantage Program (CCAP). “Our Main St. is struggling to survive as a small economy,” Cadle said. “And our perceived quality of life is not what we’d like.”  The program will provide financial incentives to business owners or potential business owners with store fronts in Dayton’s central business district, on the 100 block of Sixth St. Funding for the program will come out of the city’s Economic Development fund. City Council unanimously approved the drafting of an order to implement Cadle’s program.
  • ­Parks and Real Estate Committee Chair, Councilman Joey Tucker, announced that applications for seats on the Park Board are still being accepted, and can be submitted to City Administrator Giffen.
  • ­Councilman Joe Neary proposed to council that they consider approving funding for publication of the city’s code of ordinances online, through a service called American Legal, who, Giffen reported, would host the content at a cost of $400 per year. 
  • Councilman Jerry Gifford also petitioned Giffen that plans Gifford proposed to the City Administrator for a running track around the YMCA building be distributed to council for consideration. Gifford referred to this as a “temporary” solution to replace the running track currently located at Walker Field, in Riverside Park, which is slated for development with the Manhattan Harbour project.

More stories to come about Dayton's new economic development program and other issues from Tuesday's meeting. Follow The River City News on Facebook, Twitter, or email us!

Written by Pat LaFleur, RCN contributor