I didn’t get credit for bring bike share to Dayton, and I won’t get credit for this idea either. Of course, my idea is more fully fleshed out, since I’ve been talking about this since Percy Mack was DPS superintendent (whenever that was).
My idea was more than just building a sports complex, but a hub for Dayton Public School Students to go to after school. It included a centralized tutoring center, and admission to the facilities was controlled by attendance and grades.
There was also a Disney like monorail- connecting Kettering Fields, Island Park, The Boonshoft Museum and Wegerzyn and the Playhouse together- with hubs at each for different areas of interest/study.
Go read it, and see where Ms. Williams is coming up a bit short on the imagination scale.
Here’s what the front page story in the Dayton Daily newsless said on Feb 21, 2023. Read this- and realize, had I been elected to the Dayton City Commission one of the gajillion times I’ve run, we’d already have something far superior to this:
Dayton wants to see some big changes at Kettering Field and the city might be willing to spend $15 million or more to make it into a “premier” sports complex.
“We want to offer an amenity that the community can be proud of and that provides the opportunity for a vast variety of fun, physical activities, programs and events that appeal to the Dayton community as a whole,” said Robin Williams, the director of Dayton’s recreation department. Kettering Field, at 444 N. Bend Boulevard in the McCook Field area, consists of about 90 acres of land, including property the city purchased a few years ago from Greater Dayton Premier Management.
The property is bordered by North Bend Boulevard to the west, North Keowee Street to the east, Interstate 75 to the south and East Helena Street to the north.
Kettering Field currently has seven softball diamonds, four baseball diamonds, four “fastpitch” diamonds and a regulationsized artificial turf football field that was donated by the NFL, city officials said.
Most fields have lighting and fencing and the property also has limited seating and a concessions building.
There are multiple basketball courts, but they are not usable since they are overgrown with vegetation and do not have rims or nets.
But the city wants to find a company to help design a multi-use sports complex that would add a bunch of new amenities to the property.
New amenities could include new playgrounds, basketball and sand volleyball courts, a soccer field, walking paths, LED lighting, shaded structures and shaded seating, bleachers and an adult fitness playground.
The city also is interested in installing synthetic turf infields for the baseball and softball diamonds, which currently have grass cover.
New fencing and a basketball field house also could be added.
Williams said initial price estimates from several years ago suggested these improvements could cost around $15 million.
The city plans to debt-finance the project and originally estimated it could take about six years to complete the upgrades.
But Williams said supply costs have increased and shipping delays means the project timeline could change.
Jerry Bowling III, president of the McCook Field Neighborhood Association, said upgrading Kettering Field could make it more of a destination that would attract larger crowds and benefit local businesses, including those along North Keowee Street.
An improved Kettering Field would help achieve some of the goals of the Dayton riverfront master plan, which calls for new amenities, investments and changes along the riverbanks, including turning North Bend Boulevard into a pedestrian promenade, Bowling said.
The riverfront plan envisions Kettering Field as Dayton’s “premier” active recreation park, featuring baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, skateboarding, “adventure play” and running/walking loops.
McCook Field was formerly an airfield that was a big part of aviation history, and it would be nice to see something at the Kettering Field honoring that legacy, Bowling said.
This is why the voters in Dayton have been shortchanged by their elected leadership, not a creative bone in any of their bodies. The amount of money they’ve spent on demolition since 2006 when I first wrote about this could have built this facility to Olympic scale and had money left over.
But, remember, who pays for the campaigns of all those “Culture of Corruption” folks… and how Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph haven’t ever talked about a vision for building our city back- that would make all those homes worth saving.
Here’s the original deck I presented to Dr. Mack- around 2005-2006