It is great to be here with you at the Ahiska American Turkish Community Center of Dayton. This “Welcome Center” is another great Dayton success story, and I would like to thank Islom Shakhbandarov and the Ahiska community for hosting us this evening.
Because of this ongoing success, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan for all of his hard work and financial wisdom over the last few years. Tim, thanks to you and your hard-working staff, for keeping us on the straight and narrow road to a prosperous future.
The site of our 2012 “State of the City Address”, Belmont High School, made history during their class of 2012 commencement last May with 2 valedictorians of 2 different immigrant communities Africa and Mexico, reflecting the generational changes in our city.
This is yet more evidence that “Welcome Dayton” is working. The fact that the city of Cincinnati just adopted a similar plan also proves that Dayton remains a leader in innovation.
Last year, Forbes magazine listed Dayton as the “Happiest City to work in,” the third best city in the U.S. for increasing home prices and the “Most Affordable city in America.” Four years ago, this same magazine referred to us as a “Dying City”. We are also ranked third best in the United States for job opportunities. It seems that the tide has really turned in the last three years. Dayton is on more top ten lists than bottom ten lists.
The Dayton Metro Library got a bond issue passed on last November’s ballot that grants them some $187 million to “re-invent” the library system and design one for the next several decades. This is huge for Dayton. It is huge for the region and it opens the door to opportunities that may not have previously been considered or investigated. I look forward to seeing their plans develop and the changes this will bring.
Key Ads has relocated to a downtown location, acquiring a building that had sat empty for many years and transforming it into something spectacular.
One of Dayton’s long-time businesses is renewing itself with a major investment in downtown Dayton. White Allen is set to launch construction of a new Honda Store and to refurbish other buildings along North Main Street. This $10 million investment in White Allen’s future will bring a new and exciting gateway to downtown.
I commend all city employees and the Commission for working together in 2012 to provide services and create the progress that we are experiencing. We all get along and agree on most things, and we agree to disagree on others. But even in times of disagreement, there are no sparks or fireworks on the second floor at city hall. None that I have witnessed anyway. I know this disappoints certain members of the media.
Why not form a coalition of municipalities and institutions that supplies 3000 tons of recyclables to recycling companies and have them pay us for the materials? Could the revenue generated be used for environmentally friendly economic development incentives instead of tax payer dollars?
Beyond the fiscal picture, we are focused on the global picture. Education, resources and new programs are rolled out within Dayton Public Schools and require citizen engagement. Programs such as composting classes and the city’s green landfill are becoming popular within the city. Daytonians are taking the lead, changing their back yards to change the earth.
So how do we continue to prosper? That is easy. Without creativity, we will not prosper. Without creativity we stagnate and we flounder. Without new ideas and new ways to solve age old problems we cannot and will not move forward. Creativity is the new prosperity in Dayton. Let us consider some of the new businesses that have grown or opened in Dayton during the last 12 months. Beside Caresource expanding and creating more jobs downtown, we have seen development along Brown Street completed with a host of new establishments such as Day Yoga, Shish Wraps, Boogies Green Machines and more.
Food trucks are generating revenue and partnering with other venues and making a creative alternative with their street presence during special events.
Arts partnerships such as the one newly formed between CityFolk and the Dayton Art Institute will keep the tradition of this vital program building community through culture. These are a few examples of the relationships between neighbors and businesses building and reinventing our city. There are others on the horizon, and let us not forget the historic brewery at Carillon Historic Park which has seen a major transformation under the guidance of Brady Kress these last few years.