DAY­TON IS A ‘LA­BOR OF LOVE,’ SAYS MAYOR WHA­LEY

Many bright spots, but loss of Good Sam, opi­oid cri­sis hit hard.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By Cor­nelius Fro­lik Staff Writer

Day­ton Mayor Nan Wha­ley’s State of the City ad­dress on Wed­nes­day — Valen­tine’s Day — tried to show some love for the re­cent de­vel­op­ment suc­cesses and in­vest­ments in the city, in­clud­ing new hous­ing, ameni­ties, jobs and ef­forts to of­fer uni­ver­sal preschool.

But Wha­ley ac­knowl­edged that not every­thing has come up roses for Day­ton, such as the re­cent an­nounce­ment that Good Sa­mar­i­tan Hos­pi­tal will close and the com­mu­nity’s bit­ter strug­gle with the opi­oid cri­sis.

“(It) is fit­ting that this year’s State of the City ad­dress should fall on Valen­tine’s Day,” Wha­ley said.

“It’s an honor to share with you this re­view of the city we all love and to high­light our ac­com­plish­ments, our chal­lenges and the op­por­tu­ni­ties that lie ahead.”

There was a lot to love about 2017, in­clud­ing the open­ing of the $64 mil­lion new down­town Day- Day­ton mayor ton Metro Li­brary, the com­ple­tion of the $168 mil­lion Day­ton Chil­dren’s pa­tient tower and the ad­di­tion of new hous­ing, such as the Delco Lofts and the Brown­stones at 2nd, Wha­ley said.

Dur­ing her speech at City Hall, Wha­ley said the hous­ing mar­ket con­tin­ues to re­bound from the Great Re­ces­sion, and down­town and sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods are some of the hottest ar­eas in the re­gion.

CareSource had many op­tions but chose to in­vest in Day­ton, and work is un­der­way on its new of­fice

‘It’s an honor to share with you this re­view of the city we all love and to high­light our ac­com­plish­ments ... and op­por­tu­ni­ties.’ Nan Wha­ley,

con­tin­ued from B1 tower on East First Street, which will house hun­dreds of em­ploy­ees, the mayor said.

Last year, the Le­vitt Pavil- ion Day­ton fin­ished fundrais­ing for a new out­door mu­sic pav­il­ion in the heart of down­town, and work be­gan on the am­phithe­ater.

De­vel­op­ers have se­cured $9 mil­lion in state his­toric tax cred­its for the Day­ton Ar­cade, and a $90 mil­lion project to ren­o­vate and re­open the va­cant com­plex is headed to­ward the fin­ish line, Wha­ley said.

“For a few decades, the ar­cade has been liv­ing on love alone,” she said. “We are very close to see­ing this build­ing have a new story with both new and older gen­er­a­tions get­ting the chance to fall in love with it all over again.”

Us­ing new funds from an in­come tax hike, the city en­hanced some of its ba­sic ser­vices, and the city last year paved more than 60 lane miles of res­i­den- tial streets — the most in 40 years, she said.

But though 2017 ended on some pos­i­tive notes — like the ar­cade ob­tain­ing tax cred­its and the Day­ton re­gion see­ing de­cent job growth in De­cem­ber — the be­gin­ning of 2018 struck some rocky wa­ters.

In Jan­uary, Good Sam an­nounced it would close, likely by the end of this year. That was “one of the tough­est days I have had as mayor,” Wha­ley said.

She said the hos­pi­tal’s shut­down will im­pact ac­cess to health care for thou­sands of res­i­dents, and she’s con­cerned about the eco­nomic con­se­quences on the city’s west side.

These are con­cerns shared by many, in­clud­ing Daryl Ward, se­nior pas­tor at Omega Bap­tist Church, who at­tended Wed­nes­day’s ad­dress.

He said he was pleased to hear Wha­ley’s com­ments about need­ing to fo­cus on west Day­ton.

“In fact, the whole ad­dress could have been on west Day­ton — the need is that great, the needs did not be­gin yesterday,” he told this news or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Wha­ley also said the opi­oid cri­sis con­tin­ues to drain pub­lic safety re­sources and has hit this com­mu­nity harder than any­where else in the na­tion. Con­tact this re­porter at 937225-0749 or email Cor­nelius. Fro­lik@cox­inc.com.

COR­NELIUS FRO­LIK / STAFF

Pre­sent­ing the State of the City ad­dress at City Hall on Wed­nes­day, Day­ton Mayor Nan Wha­ley touts the re­bound­ing hous­ing mar­ket and the $168 mil­lion Day­ton Chil­dren’s pa­tient tower.

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