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2018 State of the City Print E-mail

State of the City Address - 2018
Mayor Dick Church, Jr.
"A Bicentennial Year"

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It’s 2018…the year of Miamisburg’s Bicentennial, and our community is ready to celebrate!  So am I, as you can see by my vintage clothing, which I’ll be wearing often in the months ahead.

Hello, I’m Miamisburg Mayor Dick Church, Jr.  Welcome to my annual State of the City address.  A 200th birthday only comes around once, and we’re going to make it memorable.  For about three years now, a committee of area citizens has come together to plan a year-long schedule of Bicentennial activities.  The stage is set, and I couldn’t be more excited.

The Bicentennial theme is going to be incorporated into some of our annual Miamisburg events throughout 2018 like the Spring Fling Festival and the Labor Day fireworks we call River Blast.  There will also be some events created solely to commemorate the milestone like the Founders Day Celebration Dinner in February.  But the featured week I want you to mark on your calendars is June 16-23.  That’s when the Bicentennial really takes the spotlight.  Each day that week will have its own theme, and there will be events and activities taking place that focus on various aspects of our history.  Among the highlights will be opening and closing parades down Central Avenue with some great entries you’ve never seen and live entertainment including performances by The Ohio State University Alumni Band, the Dayton Philharmonic Concert Band and a national act to be announced and presented by Sycamore Medical Center.  There’ll be activities that pay tribute to our native American heritage, a week-long carnival and a spectacular fireworks display on Closing Night.  There is also a variety of Bicentennial merchandise to purchase as keepsakes.  Our committee and the Miamisburg Historical Society have worked very hard to make it a special year in our community.  I want to thank each person who has helped with the planning, and I hope citizens in our community and throughout the region will attend as many events as possible.  I also want to thank the individuals and businesses who have donated financially to our special anniversary.  Our festivities will be funded by these contributions, and the celebration would not be possible without their generosity.

It’s going to be a truly special year in Miamisburg, and that’s the way it should be.  You see, history is a precious thing to a great many people who have called Miamisburg home.  It’s not uncommon to see third- and fourth-generation families in our community.  Citizens appreciate things like our Native American heritage represented by the ancient Adena Indian Mound and even our name, which is derived from the Miami Indians.  They enjoy a downtown district that has some unique buildings that date back to the early 20th century.  And they cherish the many memories they have from their days as a student in our local school district.  You may not know this, but Miamisburg has the longest continuously running annual school reunion in the nation. That’s what I call school pride.

There are many things that make Miamisburg a truly unique place.  There have been things of national significance like a presidential visit by Teddy Roosevelt in 1901, our own McGuire Sisters rising to fame as entertainers and the federal government building its Mound Laboratory right here.  Mound was a research and production facility for our country’s nuclear programs and NASA missions over the course of 50 years.  There has also been adversity like the Great Flood of 1913 that devastated our community and the train derailment of 1986 that caused the evacuation of 30,000 people in the region.  Just in my 26 years as mayor, there have been many things of historical significance take place.  We’ve grown larger in both physical size and population.  We built the 18-hole PipeStone Golf Course with adjacent upscale housing.  We led a massive effort to transform that Mound facility site into a commercial business park.  And we’ve brought our downtown district back to life.  Yes, this is a City steeped in a rich history, yet we have evolved into a modern, suburban community because our leaders have been forward-thinking.  And today, Miamisburg the Star City stands as one of the shining lights in the Miami Valley.  And we’re going to celebrate that in grand style in 2018.

Over the next several minutes, I’m going to provide my annual review of some highlights from the past year and give you a snapshot of what our community is working on at the ripe old age of 200.  I may also include an occasional historic note along the way.
I’d like to start with economic development activity, and in Miamisburg today the key area is Austin Center near I-75.  In 2017 local company United Grinding built a new North American headquarters at a prominent location along the interstate.  United Grinding is a global leader in the grinding machine industry, and we were thrilled when the firm chose to remain in our community.  Their new 110,000-square-foot facility retains about a hundred jobs here and accommodates projected growth of another 30-40 jobs in the future.  As part of the project incentives, the City of Miamisburg constructed an access road to the site that stretches about a half-mile in length.  At a cost of $4.7 million, this new road not only provides improved access to United Grinding, but also for future commercial development in that area.

Meanwhile, United Grinding’s former home on Earl Boulevard quickly attracted a new occupant.  A company named Cornerstone Research Group purchased the property and brought 60-70 jobs to Miamisburg from Beavercreek.  The firm will be renovating and expanding its new home thanks to a $225,000 ED/GE grant from Montgomery County. We appreciate that investment and hope Cornerstone is part of our community for many years to come.

And finally in that area of the City, a second flexible-use commercial building constructed in the Austin Business Park attracted its first two tenants, AGI Studios and Prosource, and Buckeye Eco-Care recently completed a new 30,000-square-foot facility to bring about 40 new jobs to Miamisburg.  Later this year, we expect to see a new hotel and a new emergency medical center opened by Premier Health.

Elsewhere, development activity occurred at the aforementioned Mound Business Park when two vacant buildings were purchased by private sector employers.  One structure was purchased by ISS Unlimited, which is a government document storage company, while another was acquired by Advanced Service Technologies, a manufacturer of technology solutions for the retail industry.  Together, they brought about 50 jobs to the site and help keep us moving toward productive reuse of the Mound facility.

I also want to mention a special ceremony that took place last year at the site.  The Mound Science and Energy Museum welcomed Department of Energy and local dignitaries to unveil a new marker from the Ohio History Connection.  This marker publicly recognizes the important government work that was done on the site for around 50 years.  It was installed along Mound Road next to an existing monument that pays tribute to the men and women who served our nation at Mound.  This monument was funded by a former contractor at the site, CH2M Hill.  If you haven’t seen these historic markers, I hope you’ll make a point of stopping by soon.  They’re a fitting tribute to an extraordinary part of Miamisburg history.

One final development item I’d like to mention is a project that involves one of the most recognizable commercial buildings downtown.  Suttman’s Men’s and Boys Wear on Main Street closed in 2013 after 115 years in business, and the building was later gifted to the City.  Now, we’re going to coordinate redevel-opment of the structure by working with a private firm to create high-quality retail and residential space.  We’ve done this type of partnership previously downtown, and we’re hopeful this new venture will be just as successful.  As a first step, sections of the building were demolished last year…and a $75,000 Montgomery County Block Grant helped us get that accomplished.  Renovation of the re-maining 3-story structure should begin later this year, and I look forward to seeing the future transformation.  The Suttman’s building is a key component of the architectural landscape downtown, and I think this project is especially worthwhile during our Bicentennial year.

Two thousand-seventeeen was also a year of major infrastructure improvements in Miamisburg.  In terms of our local roads, I’m pleased to report that we repaved the largest number of streets in our history, 35.  This was the second consecutive year we’ve gone well above the usual 12-to-15 streets, and it’s due to an improved budget condition and feedback the City has received from residents.  We also benefitted from State of Ohio funding support for two local bridge projects.  Early in the year, the bridge on Gebhart Church Road was replaced as part of the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program.  And in late 2017…the bridge on Twelfth Street was rehabilitated thanks to 50 percent funding from the state’s Issue 2 program.  Both projects were significant, and we’re grateful to the State of Ohio for this support at the local level.

Also newsworthy in terms of infrastructure was the continuation of major water and sewer system im-provements.  I’ve told you previously about our master plan to improve these systems at a total cost of about $70 million.  We’ve continued to make progress to replace or rehab things like pump stations, mains and wellhouses.  There has also been significant work taking place at the City’s Water Treatment and Water Reclamation facilities.  This is an ambitious and necessary set of projects that will modernize our infrastructure, accommodate future growth and make our systems viable for years to come.  It’s important to emphasize again that most of this work, which is being funded through user rates, is required for the City to meet EPA mandates.  While some individual projects are complete, we expect work on others will continue for another year or two.  Of course, we appreciate the patience of citizens and motorists during this process and apologize for any inconveniences that occur during construction.

Earlier I mentioned the importance of downtown in the history of our community and our ongoing efforts to revitalize this area.  One of our vehicles for doing that has been to incorporate recreational opportunities downtown to provide the public additional reasons to visit.  That’s why the creation of Riverfront Park was featured in the master plan that’s guiding our direction.  In 2017 another phase of improvements at Riverfront Park began that features a new 1,000-foot roadway between Linden Avenue and Ferry Street.  At a cost of $1.6 million, this new road essentially replaces an alleyway adjacent to the business district and connects with the park entrance on West Central Avenue.  It will have curbs and sidewalks and have tie-ins and upgrades to parking lots at both ends.  Riverfront Park is going to be a focal point of the community more than ever in 2018 with our Bicentennial plans.  It was important to Council and me that the facility get another round of improvements and be ready for a busy year ahead.  After the usual winter break, work will be completed this spring.

Two other projects nearby also put a fresh shine on the Star City in advance of the Bicentennial.  First, part of the river levee wall was covered by a colorful mural.  This work was done by a group of volunteer youth to creatively cover and discourage graffiti at this location.  It really adds to the landscape of the riverfront, and I want to commend Parks and Recreation staff and the Mosaic Institute of Greater Dayton for implementing this creative idea.  Secondly, the Market Square Building was completely repainted on the exterior.  This structure is the current home of the Miamisburg Historical Society, and it holds a prominent place in our City’s heritage.  Needless to say, we want it to really sparkle for our special 200th celebration.

Like Riverfront Park, the nearby Great Miami River and regional bike path also provide attractive recreation opportunities near downtown.  To make river access more convenient and safer for canoeing and kayaking, the City completed a project last April to improve one of our access points.  It’s located west of the river next to the Linden Avenue bridge.  To formally dedicate the site, the City held a ceremony and the highlight clearly was our announcement about its new name.  In honor of former City Council member Charlie Case, the access point was named Case Landing.  Charlie was instrumental in this project while in office and he attended our ceremony, but was totally unaware of Council’s decision to recognize his work.  Needless to say, he was surprised and thrilled by the honor.  Case Landing is now open to the public, and I hope you’ll take a fresh look at the river as a recreational resource.  Again, it’s for entry into the river of hand-carried boats like canoes and kayaks.  I also want to thank the Miami Conservancy District and Norfolk Southern Railroad for partnering with us on this project.

While Case Landing was named for the first time, two other recreation facilities in our community received new names in 2017.  First, Library Park along Central Avenue was renamed Veterans Memorial Park.  This made sense in a couple different ways.  First, this site was home to a library in our community for many decades, the Carnegie Library then the Dayton Metro Library branch.  But with Dayton Metro’s move about a year ago to a new facility a couple blocks away, the timing was right to re-think the park’s name.  And since a veteran’s memorial area has been part of the site for many years right along Central, it seemed like a natural decision to make that the focus of the name.  A recommendation to that effect was made by the Miamisburg Historical Society and American Legion Post 165, and City Council agreed.  Then, secondly, the Miamisburg Senior Adult Center
right across the street was renamed Miamisburg Community Center.  The local senior population will continue to be a large part of facility programming, but the new name reflects a more inclusive approach to future uses.
I’ve been an elected official in Miamisburg for 30 years now, and the thing I like most about this business is helping people.  It’s what attracted me to local government in the first place many years ago and what gives me the greatest satisfaction.  In 2017 our City unveiled two new programs created to provide direct assistance to residents.  The first was called Care Connections.  The purpose of this program is to help first responders provide better and quicker service to certain at-risk populations in times of emergency.  These populations include seniors who live alone or suffer from a medical condition that could be debilitating.  Also, people who suffer from Alzheimers or someone with Down Syndrome or Autism.  So we’ve created a database of these persons that can be accessed by police and paramedics when responding to emergency calls.  It provides critical medical information or special needs that assist these responders with their poten-tial lifesaving efforts.  If you qualify or know someone who does, I want to strongly encourage you to en-roll or share this information with someone and take advantage of this program.  Residents of Miamisburg and Miami Township are eligible.  Applications are available at both Police Departments, the Community Center and the Miamisburg branch library.  You can also enroll online by visiting the Police page of the official City website.

Our second new program focuses on neighborhood enhancement.  Entitled “Made in Miamisburg,” this program is partnering with residents, local business owners and non-profit agencies to improve the quality of life for those who live, work and play in a defined area.  To introduce the program last year, a neighbor-hood was chosen just north of downtown in the direction of the City’s Service Center.  A lot of preparation went into Made in Miamisburg, including reviews of similar programs elsewhere and a Wright State University project on this subject.  There was also an evaluation of sections of the City suitable for im-plementation and a survey of residents in the neighborhood that was selected.  Based on all this, a list of action items was created designed to improve the appearance, infrastructure and safety of the area.  That’s what it’s all about in a community.  People feeling safe and taking pride in the place where their lives unfold every single day.  A kickoff event was held August 1 in conjunction with the City’s annual National Night Out, and several other agencies and businesses participated.  Made in Miamisburg is off to a successful start, and we look forward to good things ahead.

The final 2017 highlight I’d like to mention involved the Miami Valley Fire District, which provides fire and emergency medical service to Miamisburg and Miami Township.  The District was created with an initial five-year agreement between the two jurisdictions.  The goal was to continue providing outstanding service that the public had come to expect from the two fire departments, while eliminating redundancies to save taxpayer dollars.  With that initial agreement set to expire, the elected officials of both communities voted last year to make the Fire District permanent.  To me, that vote confirmed that the original decision was the right one.  The District has done precisely what it was created to do, and I want to commend the em-ployees and Board of Trustees for accomplishing that goal.  Combined with the Miamisburg Police Depart-ment, we’re fortunate to have outstanding public safety services in our community provided by highly trained professionals.  I hope all of our citizens appreciate these individuals and their commitment.

That concludes my presentation, and I hope you’ve gotten a sense of the priorities and activities taking place with our local government.  Our organization exists to provide services to residents and ensure that our community is well-positioned for the future.  But we couldn’t do it without you.  To have an effective local government, you must have a strong partnership with the public.  We have that in Miamisburg, and your support is critical to our achievements.  Thank you!

Joining me in service to you is a City Council that is dedicated to this community and is a responsible steward of taxpayer money.  Our professional staff of employees is highly trained and committed to public service.  By working together, we’re able to get things done.  My friends, the state of our City is strong.  While there are sure to be challenges ahead, I look around and see great things happening.  Let’s ap-preciate those great things, and let’s come together like never before in 2018.  This is a special moment in time in the history of our community.  Let’s celebrate all that Miamisburg is during this Bicentennial year.
That’s my State of the City address for 2018.  I’m Dick Church, Jr.  May God bless you and your family, and may God bless America.



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