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2019 State of the City Print E-mail

State of the City Address - 2019
Mayor Dick Church, Jr.
"Thank You, Miamisburg"

Watch the 2019 State of the City

Hello again friends, I’m Miamisburg Mayor Dick Church, Jr.  Welcome to my 2019 State of the City address, an annual report on the major activities of our local government and community.

Over the next several minutes, I’m going to review some of the highlights from 2018 in Miamisburg and tell you about some things to watch for in the year ahead.  I hope you’ll find my presentation to be informative and enjoyable.

As I look back on 2018, I can tell you without hesitation that it was one of the most memorable years in my lifetime.  I told you in my last State of the City that Miamisburg was preparing to celebrate its 200th birthday in grand style.  I also told you that I hoped this special occasion would bring our community together like never before.  Well, Mission Accomplished!

From the sold-out Founders Day Dinner in February to the nostalgic holiday event in December, 2018 was a full year of celebration.  A celebration of Miamisburg’s rich history and the people and events that have shaped our community.

The primary spotlight on our Bicentennial took place during a very special week in June.  That’s when the Star City’s light shined the brightest for all to see.  It was a week in the making for three years, planned by a dedicated group of citizens and City staff.  There was a different daily theme with a variety of live entertainment and activities every day and evening.  The committee was driven to make it a major once-in-a-lifetime event, and it turned out to be just that.

Among the highlights were two major parades down Central Avenue with some entries never before seen in Miamisburg, a two-day event called Drums on the Miami that paid homage to the Native Americans who once inhabited this area, the dramatic unsealing of a 50-year-old time capsule and a reenactment of pioneer life at our Heritage Village site.

On our Center Stage in Riverfront Park, there was daily children’s entertainment and the prime time schedule featured some of the most popular bands in the region.  Our crowds also enjoyed headliners such as the Ohio State Alumni Band and the Miamisburg High School Alumni Band.  The highlight of our lineup came in a mid-week performance by country music and bluegrass star Ricky Skaggs.  Our friends at Kettering Health Network and Sycamore Medical Center presented this free concert as a gift to the community, and we appreciate their generosity.  It not only was a major part of our Bicentennial, but it also commemorated Sycamore’s 40th anniversary of providing outstanding health care services right here in Miamisburg.

The week of celebration all came to a climactic end on Closing Night with a stirring performance by the Dayton Philharmonic Concert Band, followed by a spectacular fireworks display that lit up the sky over the Great Miami River.  What a night!  And what a week!  It was something that will be remembered locally for years to come and something I was honored to be part of as mayor.

There are a few people that must be recognized for making it happen.  First, are the Bicentennial Planning Committee members who volunteered their time for about three years to create this schedule of events.  Second, are the private donors and sponsors who funded our celebration.  Taxpayer money was not used directly on any of our activities.  Third, is our City staff, who went above and beyond their normal range of duties to make sure our facilities, logistics, security and communication were in place to accommodate the public.  Every City department contributed.  Fourth…were the many volunteers who helped work our ambitious schedule.  And finally, was the Miami Valley Communications Council, which videotaped many of our activities and provided other technical and online services.  Many of the events are available for viewing online at  A great number of people pulled together to make the Miamisburg Bicentennial the special celebration that it was.  On behalf of the entire community, I thank each and every one of you.

Of course, it wasn’t all about celebrating in 2018.  Our local government was also hard at work providing the outstanding services our residents have come to expect.  And there were some significant achievements.

Chief among those was the completion of our project to produce and distribute soft water to our residents and businesses.  We’ve talked before about the major water and sewer improvements taking place in our community over the past few years.  Among those improvements, providing soft water is probably the most direct benefit to the consumer.  In October soft water began flowing through our system for the first time, and our residents are excited about it.  There are health benefits and cost benefits for the public.  Please be aware that the City has provided important recommendations for those homeowners who have water softener units.  If you haven’t made the adjustments to your softener suggested by the City, I strongly encourage you to do so.  If you have questions, call our Public Works Department at 847-6635.
Our ambitious set of improvement projects is nearing completion and should be largely finished by the end of this year.  It’s been the most significant infrastructure work in my career as mayor.  I want our residents to know that City Council and I recognize the impacts that the work--and the water and sewer rate increases that have funded this work--have had on you.  But I commend Council for tackling these improvements because they represent a valuable investment in the future of Miamisburg.  Regular maintenance and improvements are essential for public utilities.  Our projects are modernizing the infrastructure, accommodating growth and making our systems viable for years to come.  Most of the work was also required for the City to meet EPA mandates.  Through it all, we appreciate the patience of citizens and motorists during this process.

There were also roadway improvements during 2018.  Just before the Bicentennial events began, a project was completed at Riverfront Park that featured a new 1,000-foot roadway between Linden Avenue and Ferry Street.  At a cost of $1.6 million, this new road essentially replaced an alleyway adjacent to the business district and connects with the park entrance on West Central Avenue.  It has curbs and sidewalks with tie-ins and upgrades to parking lots at both ends.  Riverfront Park was a focal point of the community more than ever in 2018, and it was important to Council and me that the facility get another round of improvements to accommodate the activities and crowds. 

Also in terms of local roads, about 20 streets were repaved and sidewalk, curb and gutter was repaired at several locations.  Late in the year, we also launched a project to repair Lower Miamisburg Road between South Union Road and Dee Avenue.  Lower Miamisburg has been closed since last April due to significant roadway slip failure.  The current work will stabilize the hillside and repair the street.  We’re partnering with the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District and the County Engineer’s office to manage and expedite the project, which we expect to be completed during the first half of 2019.

Also this spring, the City anticipates that the Ohio Department of Transportation will begin roadway improvements along a one-mile section of State Route 741.  Work will take place north of Route 725 and include asphalt resurfacing, traffic signal upgrades, improved storm drainage and new sidewalk.  We look forward to this project and appreciate ODOT’s work in our community.  Looking out into the future, Miamisburg has also been awarded future grant funding from ODOT for rehabilitation of a bridge on Ninth Street, improvements to Gebhart Church Road and upgrades around the I-75 interchange at 725.  This work, however, will take place 2-to-3 years from now.

Economic development is the lifeblood of a community.  In Miamisburg the Byers Road corridor continues to be the site of some exciting projects.  In 2018 a company named Staco Energy Products broke ground on a new facility that will approach 100,000-square-feet in size.  In this new building on Technical Drive, the company plans to consolidate its administrative staff already located in Miamisburg and its manufacturing operation located in Dayton.  The end result will be around 50 new jobs in our community.  We appreciate this investment by Staco, and we look forward to completion of the project in early 2019.

Just up the road on Byers is the Austin Business Park, which features multi-tenant commercial buildings.  Last year the newest building in the park attracted Orion Sports Medicine, which is an outpatient physical therapy and sports medicine practice.  Both the Austin Business Park and the nearby Byers Business Park have been popular sites for commerce, and we’re hopeful of future expansion there.

Of course, the nearby Austin interchange area off I-75 has triggered this activity.  In 2018 at the interchange itself, Premier Health entered the Miamisburg market with a new stand-alone Emergency Center.  A ribbon-cutting event was held in late September to formally open the facility.  Right next to the Emergency Center, a new hotel named Home 2 Suites is under construction and should be completed soon.  It will have 108 guest rooms.

Economic development also extended into our historic downtown district.  Last year I told you about a project we were launching with 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 coordinating redevelopment of the structure by working with the private sector 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.  Small sections of the building have been demolished, and the firms of Moda-4 Design and Simplify Real Estate have been selected to partner with the City on the project.  We’re also seeking federal and state historic tax credits to assist with funding.  Renovation of the three-story structure should begin late 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 finally in development, there was activity last year at the Mound Business Park in terms of property sales.  These sales included an attractive office building that once served as the site’s headquarters for the U.S. Department of Energy, a building that currently serves as home to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center and perhaps the most unique facility on the entire site.  Called “T” Building, this structure was built largely underground as a fortress to withstand a potential nuclear attack.  Highly classified work was once done in T-Building by the federal government, and this type of security and protection was considered essential back in its day.  We look forward to new development possibilities that may emerge for this facility, as well as the office building.  The Mound Development Corporation continues to oversee the site on behalf of the community and seek out private sector partners that will utilize its real estate assets.

One other thing I’d like to mention about Mound is the opening of the Mound Cold War Discovery Center.  This is an expansion of the former Mound Museum, overseen now by the highly regarded Dayton History organization.  Through exhibits, artifacts and photos, visitors can learn a great deal about the critical work done right here in Miamisburg during the Cold War.  The Center offers tours, educational programs, workshops, school visits and lectures.  It’s open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free.  Mound was an important part of our community for about 50 years and served our nation well.  I’m so very happy that the Discovery Center captures that history for current and future generations.  For more information, visit

In the time we have remaining, I’d like to summarize a few final highlights from the past year.

The Miamisburg Police Department last fall introduced its new K-9 unit featuring Officer Bryan Klein and K-9 Buck.  The force had been without a K-9 for about two years after health problems forced K-9 Toro out of service.  But now Officer Klein and Buck are out on patrol enhancing local law enforcement.  They’re both highly trained, and Officer Klein has significant experience as a dog handler.  Buck is a German Shepherd a little over two years old.  If you see them out in the community, be sure to stop and visit with them.

In recreation we added a great new attraction in Riverfront Park.  It’s an interactive water feature designed to give kids a play area during the summer months.  Also known as a splash pad, the concrete base has water spraying upward intermittently from a number of underground nozzles.  The opening occurred just in time for the Bicentennial celebration in June, and so our many visitors got to see or enjoy it for the first time and it was very well received.  The new splash pad has become another great reason for families to visit Riverfront Park and our downtown district.  I want to give special appreciation to the Miamisburg Rotary Club, which contributed $50,000 toward the project costs.  I’ve been a member of Rotary for many years, and I’m very familiar with the club’s long-standing commitment to the community.  I thank them for this donation.

There was also a seasonal addition to Riverfront Park this winter.  A temporary synthetic ice surface called Glice was installed and really extended the use of the park into the cold weather months.

The neighborhood enhancement program the City introduced in 2017 …got a new name and new leadership in 2018.  Now called Miamisburg CARES…this program partners with residents…local business owners…and non-profit agencies to improve conditions for those who live, work and play in a defined area.  The location targeted initially was a neighborhood just north of downtown…and we continued to focus our efforts there in 2018.  “CARES” is an acronym that stands for “Community Action for Revitalization, Engagement and Sustainability.”  It consists of three pillars: Infrastructure…building and housing stock…and quality of life.  The action items created for our program were developed to address improvements within these subject areas.  Now leading Miamisburg CARES is Katie Frank…the City’s former downtown coordinator who has expanded her duties as Community Development Director.  We have confidence in Katie’s ability to manage this program…and move ahead toward our goals for neighborhood enhancement.

There was one other newsworthy item pertaining to City staff.  Long-time Finance Director George Perrine retired after 30 years in that position.  George did a tremendous job managing the City’s finances and budget, and his department was recognized many times by the State of Ohio for outstanding financial reporting.   Most importantly, he earned the trust of City Council members with his sound judgement in financial matters.  We wish George all the best in retirement.  Succeeding him was Jennifer Johns, who was assistant finance director for seven years and also has the full confidence of City Council.

Finally, I’d like to report two items of real estate news that involved the donation of property to our local government.  First, this building on Central Avenue was donated to the City by Kettering Health Network.  It was the former home of a local medical practice, and it was desirable to us because of its location next to Hillgrove Union Cemetery.  Hillgrove is supported jointly by the City of Miamisburg and Miami Township with its own separate board of directors.  The newly acquired facility has provided a much-needed upgrade for cemetery administration, and we’re appreciative of Kettering Health Network for this gift.

The second donation was the former Dayton Metro Library branch on Fifth Street.  Two years ago, Dayton Metro completed a new Miamisburg branch at the corner of Linden Avenue and Sixth Street, and it’s a beautiful addition to our community.  Since that time, the former library has sat vacant.  But in the fall the City took ownership of the site, and I want to thank the library system for the generous donation.

In late September, I formally announced that this would be my final term as mayor of Miamisburg.  I plan to retire at the end of 2019 after 28 years in this office.  The time has flown by because this has been a labor of love for me.  I first became attracted to public service in high school when I was a representative at Buckeye Boys State.  It was my dream to someday become mayor of my hometown, and it has been the greatest honor of my life to realize that dream.  My father also served on City Council, and I’m sure that also played a role in my interest.

This will be my final State of the City address.  Instead, as I leave office I intend to bring you a program in which I share my remembrances of a life spent in Miamisburg, including these past 32 years as an elected official.

When I look around this City, it barely resembles Miamisburg as it looked when I was first sworn in.  We have grown and evolved in many ways, and I’m pleased to say our local government is financially sound.  My friends, the state of our City is strong!  By working together--City leaders, citizens, other government agencies--we have achieved great things and tackled significant challenges along the way.  Miamisburg today is a model community in the region in many ways, and I couldn’t be more proud of all we’ve accomplished.

I want to thank our residents and business community for all you do for Miamisburg.  I want to commend the City Council members who have served alongside me, for your commitment, your willingness to work together and putting yourselves on the front line.  It was Teddy Roosevelt who said “It is not the critic who counts.  The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena.”  Thank you for being in the arena and being leaders in this community.  I want to thank the city managers I’ve served with, the department directors and all the employees.  There is honor in a career of public service, and I thank you for your hard work in serving this community every day.

I also want to express my deep appreciation to Clerk of Council Judy Barney and my secretary, Kim Combs.  Both these individuals have held their positions for my entire 27 years in office, and that’s very rare.  I have relied on them in many ways, and they have been invaluable.  Judy is a detailed record-keeper who keeps me on task at our Council meetings.  And Kim has just assisted me in so many ways that I couldn’t begin to list them.  Most times, she knows what I’m thinking even before I do.  They are both excellent at their jobs and loyal to this community.  They’ve helped me be a better mayor.

I also want to thank Public Information Officer Gary Giles for putting these presentations together for me each year and so much more.  Gary has been coordinating our local government’s communication efforts for more than 20 years.  Keeping the public informed is something we take very seriously, and he helps do that in a professional, consistent and creative manner.  As mayor, he’s helped me communicate the great things happening in Miamisburg, and I appreciate his support and his abilities.

Finally, I want to thank my wife Judi for supporting my life in public service.  We’ve been married 51 years, and I’m very proud of Judi’s own professional achievements in the nursing profession.  She has a doctorate degree and has served two terms as president of the State of Ohio Board of Nursing.  And soon, she’ll have to put up with me more than ever.  But first there is more work to do in 2019, and that’s what I fully intend to do until my term is complete.

Thank you for spending this time with me.  As usual, I want to thank the fine staff at the Miami Valley Communications Council for helping develop this presentation for cable television.  I’m Mayor Dick Church, Jr.  May God bless you and your family, may God bless Miamisburg and may God Bless America.



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