State of the City
Kettering Mayor Don Patterson recently gave his annual State of the City presentation, celebrating the successes Kettering enjoyed in 2017 and announcing the major city projects & initiatives which will take place in 2018.
The text of the Mayor’s State of the City presentation appears below the video of his presentation.
Good Evening. I’m Don Patterson and I am honored to be your Kettering Mayor. On behalf of the entire Kettering City Council, I share with you tonight the State of City.
Each year I look forward to this opportunity to report to you the successes of the previous year and preview the important projects in the year to come.
At the City of Kettering, our priority is to provide exceptional services while being wise stewards of our resources. We also believe in communicating with you regularly to provide an understanding of how your tax money is used to improve Kettering. Certainly my annual State of the City is one of the ways we accomplish this.
I would be remiss if I didn’t begin my address this year by thanking you for allowing me the great honor of continuing to serve as your Mayor and for giving me the opportunity to work for you and the entire Kettering community for a final term.
I also want to congratulate Council Member Bill Lautar on his re-election and welcome Jacqueline Fisher to Kettering City Council. Both Bill and Jacque are well known for their leadership in the community having been actively involved in Kettering service clubs, churches and charitable causes. Like me, they are champions for the Kettering community and I look forward to serving with them both.
For more than 9 years I had the honor of serving the residents of Kettering alongside former Council Member Amy Schrimpf. I am grateful to Amy for her leadership on Kettering City Council. She is a trusted advisor and an even better friend. We already miss her. Next time you see Amy around town, please take a moment to thank her for her service to the Kettering community.
It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve the best residents in the region. I look forward to working for you the next four years to make a positive difference in our community and our region.
Kettering is a vibrant and flourishing community. We have celebrated great successes in recent years. Our employers are thriving, our business parks are benefitting from reinvestment and our commercial properties are in great demand. Kettering saw some of the highest gains in residential property value in the region, proving that moving to Kettering is a wise investment.
Our community has another reason to be proud that Kettering is home. In late November annual results for the Safest City in Ohio were released and Kettering ranked fifth in the state. Kettering was the only city in our region to rank in the Top 5. Thank you to our outstanding Kettering Police Department and all of our active citizens who help make the City of Kettering one of the TOP 5 Safest Cities in Ohio.
Kettering is home to thriving businesses.
2017 was another exciting year for redevelopment and reinvestment in Kettering.
In late 2017, the City of Kettering completed the purchase of nearly 300 acres of unimproved land from the Miami Valley Research Foundation for $1.5 million. As a land-locked community, the opportunity to acquire land for redevelopment is rare and exciting. Miami Valley Research Park will see a surge of improvements to both existing facilities and available land in the coming year. The City of Kettering will aggressively market the land remaining for development and work with existing tenants to explore expansion opportunities.
Alternate Solutions Health Network completed a major renovation of their 200,000 square foot facility at 1050 Forrer Boulevard in the Kettering Business Park. The expansion will allow a projected growth in employment of more than 340 jobs in the next five years. This reinvestment is critical to the ongoing success of the Kettering Business Park.
N12 Technologies, Inc., a manufacturing facility that services the medical, automotive, aviation and space sectors will relocate their company from Massachusetts to the Kettering Business Park. N12 Technologies will renovate and upgrade 6,000 square feet of the NCC Building located at 2000 Composite Drive bringing new local jobs in the valuable technology sector.
In 2018, Northwestern Tools, Inc. a manufacturing facility that services the medical, automotive, energy and commercial sectors will relocate their Kettering headquarters to 4800 Hempstead Station Drive. This relocation will allow Northwestern Tools, Inc. to continue to grow and purchase additional machines, thereby retaining jobs and creating additional jobs in the City of Kettering.
Marc’s Grocery Store will open its first Dayton area location at 2100 E. Whipp Road. Marc’s targets the value conscious family shopper. Their basic inventory represents name brand merchandise in the groceries, health & beauty, and general merchandise categories. Marc’s will open in 2018 following a $2.6 million renovation of the 50,000 square foot anchor space in the Oak Creek Plaza.
As soon as we received confirmation that the previous tenant planned to close their storefront, the City of Kettering team got to work. We knew that an anchor tenant, preferably another grocery store, was critical to maintaining the vitality of the Oak Creek shopping plaza and supporting the needs of our residents in that area of Kettering. We are grateful to the building owners for their work in cooperation with us leading up to this announcement and we eagerly await welcoming Marc’s Grocery Store to Kettering in 2018.
The Kettering Business Park, formerly Gentile Air Force Station, was created in 1996 to offset the loss of more than 2500 jobs at the Base. Today, the business park operated by the City of Kettering is home to more than 2,000 employees of Synchrony Financial, PriMed Physicians, Alternate Solutions Health Network, N12 Technologies and the Kettering Municipal Court. The City of Kettering and representatives from Kettering Business Park businesses worked together in 2017 to design a new signature entrance for the thriving business park on Wilmington Pike. In 2018, a new entrance sign and all new landscaping will be installed, creating a modern and friendly welcome for the business park.
The City of Kettering remains committed to acting as a catalyst for reinvestment in Wilmington Pike for both economic purposes and for the impact the corridor has on our residents as well. In 2017, the City completed major streetscape improvements on the Wilmington Pike corridor between Stroop Road and Marshall Road. On the west side of the corridor a brand new 8’ multiuse path was installed, offering a connection to existing regional bikeways and improved pedestrian access to businesses. New streetlights and abundant street trees were installed. The Demolition Program provides financial assistance to commercial and residential property owners in the Wilmington Pike Demolition Program Designated Area to assist in the demolition of structures and clearance of sites for purposes of redevelopment. In 2018 we will improve the landscaping on these lots and aggressively market them for reinvestment. Also in 2018, construction will begin on a brand new Dayton – Montgomery County Library branch at the corner of Wilmington Pike and Stroop Road. The City of Kettering will construct a new bikeway connector to join the existing bike path with the entrance to the new library.
The City of Kettering has much to offer our businesses. Our quality of life is superior, our infrastructure and facilities are conducive to business retention and attraction, and the services provided by City staff are user and business friendly. These are strengths that will carry us into 2018 and beyond.
Kettering is home to welcoming neighborhoods.
Real estate data shows that the average home sale price in Kettering is climbing and days on the market declining. Anecdotally we are hearing that anyone looking for a home in Kettering has to act very quickly, with many properties selling within hours of listing for above the asking price. The housing market in Kettering is exceptionally strong because of our excellent schools, exceptional city services and unparalleled quality of life amenities.
Kettering, Ohio is a community that truly offers a perfect place to call home for every family size, life stage and budget. With one of the most diverse housing inventories in the area, Kettering’s housing stock is one of our community’s most valuable assets. Combine this quality housing, convenient access to regional thoroughfares, charming neighborhoods, excellent schools and a thriving business community and it is easy to understand why Kettering is the premier city in the Dayton region.
Though Kettering is a largely land-locked community, the city continues to pursue opportunities for new single-family, multi-family and senior living developments. The City of Kettering is committed to supporting residential development that ensures families looking for affordable homes with modern amenities have options here in Kettering.
Construction continues on the Prugh Woods development of more than 30 new single-family homes located at the intersection of Dorothy Lane and Prentice Drive. Prugh Woods drive is now complete, offering access from Dorothy Lane to the new neighborhood and scenic passage to the Kettering Recreation Complex.
For those who can already say proudly that Kettering is home, the City of Kettering provides several financial tools to assist homeowners to reach their housing goals. If you are looking to finance repairs needed for your home or reinvest in your home by remodeling or expanding your living space, the City has a variety of programs available. The City of Kettering is committed to supporting residential development that ensures families looking for affordable homes with modern amenities have options here in Kettering.
We are proud of our stable and attractive neighborhoods. A well-kept neighborhood says that residents take pride in their community. With pride comes value, beauty and a great image for our city.
Our residents’ efforts to maintain and improve their properties are important and appreciated by the City of Kettering. As a way to recognize and promote these improvement efforts the City continued to sponsor the Neighborhood Pride Awards Program. The Neighborhood Pride Award recognizes residents and businesses that have made significant improvements to their home or business or have maintained their places impeccably year after year. Neighborhood Pride has been tremendously successful – because our residents and businesses take an interest. Winners are selected by the volunteer Neighborhood Pride Award Committee, which is made up of previous winners. All award winners are publicly recognized at a City Council meeting and an attractive sign is placed in their yard to let everyone in our community know they received the special award.
The Community Development division will continue to facilitate numerous programs throughout 2018 geared toward providing quality housing to Kettering homeowners and provide education opportunities to residents for foreclosure prevention and homeownership. The City of Kettering has provided assistance stabilizing households and improving neighborhoods through homebuyer assistance, emergency repairs and comprehensive updates for over forty years. The City of Kettering offers low cost loans of 0% or 1% with either low or no payments, depending upon demonstrated need. The City of Kettering offers loans so that repaid funds can be recycled in the future to assist more homeowners.
In August of 2012, I signed a declaration to make Kettering a Cities of Service community. The Cities of Service initiative is sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of mayors committed to work together in an effort to address a community’s most pressing needs with high impact volunteering. Currently there are 180 cities across the nation involved in the initiative.
Here in Kettering, we focus our Cities of Service efforts on neighborhood revitalization. The first neighborhood chosen for this initiative was Richman Heights, followed by Indianola, Southern Hills North, Berwin Park and most recently the Oak Park neighborhood. Since its inception hundreds of volunteers from churches, service organizations, schools and universities have assisted residents of these neighborhoods with general outdoor clean-up as part of our Cities of Service initiative. Other activities included educational seminars on home repair, CDBG Program, Neighborhood Watch, water and energy conservation, and recycling. This is a great example of neighbors and volunteers working together to make sure our community remains a place our residents are proud to call home.
Kettering is home to exceptional city services.
Every two years the City of Kettering works with Wright State University to conduct a Citizen Satisfaction Survey. It is important to us that we regularly seek your feedback on the services we provide to you and learn more about how we can serve you better.
The latest Kettering Citizen Satisfaction Survey was conducted in late 2017 and I am immensely proud to share with you for the first time some of the highlights:
- 97% of our residents are satisfied or very satisfied with Kettering as a place to live.
- 91% of our residents rate the services the city provides as good or excellent.
- 96% of our residents believe our city services have either maintained or improved in the last 5 years.
I’d like to thank our city staff for their commitment to providing outstanding customer service to our Kettering residents and businesses. This remarkable level of satisfaction is reached because our city departments are made up of caring, dedicated professionals who love working for you.
In recent years Kettering City Council placed a focus on transparency. You can visit our website and find details for city financial transactions, contracts and a searchable employee salary database.
Due to our conservative approach toward spending, the City is well positioned to allocate the dollars necessary toward programs and services that make Kettering a community our residents are proud to call home. A culture of fiscal responsibility has long been established here, and we have several prestigious awards to support this fact. In 2017 our Finance Department once again received both the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association. This marks the thirty-second year for the receipt of the Budget Award and the thirty-fifth year for receipt of the CAFR award. In addition, we received the Award with Distinction for excellence in financial reporting from the Auditor of State of Ohio.
The budget policies of Council and the operating guidelines of administration have been instrumental in maintaining a sufficient general fund balance ($43.2 million estimated ending balance for 2017) which has facilitated aggressive infrastructure improvements to improve our housing system, roadway system, and facilities.
In an effort to communicate clear, accurate details of how the city budgeted for and delivered our services to you in 2016, the City of Kettering produced our first citywide Annual Report in 2017. The feedback from our residents was extremely supportive and we will now plan to produce an Annual Report and mail it to our residents each spring.
One of the outstanding services the City of Kettering provides benefits our older adults. Our Senior Service Coordinator offers individualized consultations with senior citizens and their caregivers with the goal of prolonging independence. In 2017, she assisted more than 2,400 of our residents to find the resources they need. She also completed nearly 300 personal medicare appointments, helped 100 residents access city services and followed up with nearly 200 seniors referred by other city departments.
Another unique service to our residents is one that we launched in 2017. For more than a year, the Partners for Healthy Youth Board, City of Kettering and Kettering City Schools have been working on how to address the growing numbers of families needing assistance. Those efforts culminated in the creation of the new Youth and Family Community Resource Coordinator, a position that works with both the City and Schools to gather resources for our struggling families. The position is jointly-funded between the City of Kettering and the Kettering City School District, with additional sponsorship from the Dor-Wood Optimist Club.
Throughout the years we have proven that strategic reinvestment by the city in our roadway infrastructure and thoroughfares spurs private reinvestment in our neighborhoods and businesses.
2017 was a busy year along Shroyer Road and the surrounding neighborhood streets. The City of Kettering made roadway improvements in coordination with Vectren’s gasline work, water main replacement by Montgomery County and the City of Oakwood’s major roadway redesign project. In 2017 the City of Kettering also completed phase two of a major roadway improvement program in the Oak Creek neighborhood, a citywide traffic signal upgrade project and several asphalt repair, curb, drive approach and sidewalk replacement projects throughout our neighborhoods. In collaboration with Montgomery County we rebuilt two of our bridges – one on Ghent Avenue and one on Stroop Road.
In the year ahead we will continue to make the maintenance and improvement of our citywide infrastructure a priority. The two projects which will most directly impact Kettering residents will be the resurfacing of Bigger Road and the reconstruction of a bridge on Woodman Drive located in the section of roadway between Stroop & Dorothy Lane. We will also make improvements to Valleywood Drive and complete the final phase of improvements in the Oak Creek neighborhood. All city owned streetlights will be converted to LED technology and the fixtures along Shroyer Road and Spaulding Roads will be replaced.
We will complete improvements to the Kettering Government Center campus including new lighting, a new roof and security enhancements surrounding our Kettering Police Department.
Kettering is home to every day heroes.
The largest and most significant capital investment underway is the construction of our new fire stations. The four new stations provide appropriate facilities for the storage and safety requirements of modern apparatus in addition to modern facilities to accommodate 24/7 operations. I recently participated in the ribbon cutting for Station 34 at 2575 Woodman Drive directly south of Tenneco. The fourth and final station, Station 37, is under construction at 1300 West Dorothy Lane.
In 2017 we welcomed 13 new full-time firefighters to our Kettering Fire Department. The new positions were result of a comprehensive analysis of our fire personnel expenditures in recent years. Our Fire Department staffing model relied on service of our dedicated part-time personnel. That structure is no longer viable due in part to new restrictions on total hours they can work under the Affordable Care Act and the resulting overtime expenditures necessary to cover hours they once filled. As soon as the new full time firefighters joined our ranks in 2017, our overtime expenses began to decline. Certainly adding the expense of new full time positions to the city budget is never a decision I and my fellow members of City Council make lightly. But our city administrators demonstrated that in the long run the best financial decision was to increase our full time firefighting force, and the 2017 end of year expenses prove their analysis was accurate.
2017 was a challenging year for our public safety professionals. There were several tragic incidents in our community, some very serious in nature and resulting in loss of life. Our Kettering first responders serve all of you with a depth of commitment and bravery I deeply respect. Every day they leave their homes and their families knowing that by the nature of their professional calling, they are in harm’s way. Please join me in thanking them for making this sacrifice, day in and day out, in service to the Kettering community. They truly are our heroes.
For decades, our first responders described the most frequent call for service as one to assist an elderly resident who may have fallen or need some form of medical attention. That all changed last year.
The opioid epidemic which swept the nation hit Kettering and all of Montgomery County with a force. In 2017 more than 30 deaths occurred in Kettering as a result of overdose. The new most frequent call for our first responders became treating overdose victims.
In May 2017, the City of Kettering and Kettering Schools brought together experts and leaders from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, Kettering Health Network, ADAMHS, South Suburban Drug & Alcohol Coalition, Kettering Police Department & Kettering Fire Department to produce a community education video on the rapidly escalating drug epidemic that is gripping our community.
As a Member of the Board of Directors for the Ohio Mayor’s Alliance I represented Kettering at a series of meeting at the state level to seek assistance for our communities to face this epidemic. We even met with Governor Kasich to stress the devastating impact the opioid crisis is having on our first responders and our families.
Certainly we all wish a facility such as Brigid’s Path wasn’t needed in our community, or anywhere for that matter. The painful reality is that newborns are born drug dependent each and every day in our region. I was honored this year to help cut the ribbon as this critical facility opened in Kettering. The team at Brigid’s Path work to give our most vulnerable newborns a fighting chance to thrive. Thank you to all of the regional leaders, dedicated board members, business partners and community volunteers who have welcomed Brigid’s Path with open arms and generous hearts. Already, Brigid’s Path has become part of the fabric of our Kettering community
Kettering is home to treasured community traditions
Maureen and I, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Kettering, started the Kettering Mayor’s Ball for Charity in 2006 because we knew that with an extraordinary annual event we could harness the giving spirit of our community to make a meaningful difference.
Our instincts were right. Through the eleven successful Kettering Mayor’s Ball for Charity events we raised more than $230,000.00 to support vital charitable organizations in our community including Daybreak, We Care Arts, The Kettering Education Foundation, SICSA, The Kettering Backpack Program, Choices, The Franklin Foundation, Brigid’s Path and a cause near and dear to my heart – The Multiple Systems Atrophy Coalition.
It is with a grateful heart that I share the decision that our 2017 Mayor’s Ball event, which benefitted Kettering’s Brigid’s Path, was the last that we will host. Maureen & I will continue to support these many deserving charitable organizations as well as the efforts of the Rotary Club of Kettering to fundraise for community programs. We certainly ask you to consider doing the same.
We are particularly indebted to our Mayor’s Ball committee members, for all of the time and effort they put forth over the years to make the Mayor’s Ball a success and to our sponsors who make the event possible. On behalf of myself & Maureen, and the Rotary Club of Kettering, we sincerely appreciate your support.
Like the Mayor’s Ball, there are so many community traditions unique to Kettering that make it a community unlike any other.
Annual events like the traditional lighting of the Kettering Mayor’s Christmas Tree in Lincoln Park City Commons, Christmas Day at Polen Farm and Kettering’s Go 4th! Independence Day Celebration create opportunities for our community to come together in celebration and for lifelong family memories to be made.
The annual Holiday at Home celebration is one of Kettering’s most popular, most treasured community traditions. Held the Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend, Kettering families have enjoyed Holiday at Home for nearly six decades.
The Kettering Holiday at Home parade is one of the largest annual parades in Ohio, attracting more than 100,000 spectators from throughout the region. The popular Kettering Holiday at Home Car Show promises great viewing for auto enthusiasts. The Kettering Holiday at Home celebration also includes the annual 5K race and kids fun run, a great way for the entire family to kick off the Labor Day festivities. The Kettering Holiday at Home Arts & Crafts Show features over 150 artisans offering enticing and unique items for any taste or budget. Kettering Holiday at Home also features outstanding live entertainment. In keeping with its mission of promoting community service and volunteerism, Kettering Holiday at Home sponsors community service scholarships awarded each year.
All of the Kettering Holiday at Home festivities are organized and orchestrated by a team of dedicated community volunteers. The City of Kettering wishes to thank the Holiday at Home volunteers for their hard work and dedication to an event that our entire community is proud to call our most treasured annual tradition.
Kettering is home to Volunteer Spirit
We could not provide the level of services we do here in Kettering without our city volunteers. In its more than 37-year history, the award winning City of Kettering Volunteer Program has been an integral part of the city’s operations.
The program has grown tremendously over the years. Volunteers have donated more than two and a half million hours of dedicated service with a value exceeding 20 million dollars.
Each year more than 1,000 city volunteers of all ages give of their time, talent and heart to make Kettering the best it can be. Volunteers help increase productivity and extend services in many ways.
Volunteers help provide resident services in our administrative offices, assist with family events that create memories for generations, drive senior adults to critical medical and life essential appointments, and so much more.
Volunteers work in every department and every location within the city. They are truly an essential part of the city’s day-to-day activities.
We know that we have residents out there with talents and professional expertise that could benefit the city, community service clubs, our schools and area non-profit agencies. Please find a way to volunteer here in Kettering. It takes all of us giving of ourselves to preserve the strength of our neighborhoods, our businesses and our treasured community traditions.
For more than two decades, Kettering has participated in Make a Difference Day, the largest national day of community service instituted in 1992 by USA Today in collaboration with the Points of Light foundation.
Whether you enjoy working indoors or outdoors, the city of Kettering offers opportunities for individuals, student groups, service clubs, sports teams, and anyone looking for ways to give back to our community by participating in our Make A Difference Day projects.
In 2017, the Kettering community joined together once again to make a remarkable difference.
- 50 volunteers removed more than two tons of debris and yard waste from properties
- 50 volunteers made 454 greeting cards for our active duty military
- 250 hours of community service were contributed in one morning!
Kettering is home to family fun and beautiful parks.
And thanks to our Parks Recreation & Cultural Arts Department, Kettering is home to wellness, leisure and learning as well.
More than 600 residents participated in a community survey and focus groups about our recreation and parks amenities in spring 2017.
The final report demonstrates that 84% of those who responded are satisfied with the overall value their household receives from the Kettering Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department.
Additionally, 88% believe that our department makes Kettering a desirable place to live.
Rosewood Arts Centre, a regional destination for the visual and performing arts, is recognized throughout Ohio as an outstanding center for creative community. From gallery exhibitions featuring contemporary art, to special events including the inaugural Clay Fest, to children’s theatre productions, there were many accessible, innovative and exciting ways to be engaged in the arts.
Rosewood draws an audience of over 100,000 patrons annually for classes, gallery exhibitions, theater performances, studio use, and special events.
This year, over 400 classes, camps and workshops employed over 50 arts professionals from our region.
Youth arts education is a core service of Rosewood Arts Centre. In addition to year-round classes and summer camps, Rosewood launched “Kaleidoscope: Art and Nature on Wheels” in 2017, bringing art activities to over a dozen Kettering parks and target neighborhoods during the summer season.
With a goal of 400 participants in the inaugural year for the free program, over 1,000 youth participated.
Scholarships for Rosewood classes and camps, as well as free special events geared to children, like “Art on the Playground” a one day interactive arts festival, are important to Rosewood’s mission and enrich the lives of residents of the City of Kettering.
We strongly believe a community-supported arts program like Rosewood makes Kettering an ideal place to call home.
Even as City Council and our city administration worked last year to make all of the projects I’ve shared with you tonight happen in 2017, we were also looking ahead to 2018.
For the benefit of the residents and businesses of Kettering we strategically plan for the future in order to continue to be the community our residents and businesses are proud to call home.
Our goals for 2018 will focus on seven strategic areas as identified through our Strategic Plan:
- Have active leadership in regional initiatives that improve City services, save the City resources, and boost the City’s regional prominence.
- Engage in economic development ventures that attract and expand investment in the City.
- Improve and maintain housing options and neighborhood environments.
- Maintain fiscal responsibility while making strategic capital investments.
- Provide public Safety via police, fire and other services that excel at customer service and resource allocation.
- Provide quality City services to both internal and external customers, optimizing levels of service while preserving the unique character of Kettering and meeting standards and budget.
- Develop and maintain a communication plan that educates our community as well as produces an image of our City.
As this year’s State of the City draws to a close, I want to share with you one more important reminder that will impact all of us in the future.
Citizen engagement, meaningful dialogue and active participation in leadership of our community are essential. I can assure you that I and my fellow members of City Council truly enjoy hearing from the residents we represent. We encourage you to join us for a City Council meeting on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month at 7:30 PM.
I want to thank everyone who ran for elected positions in our community this year. Whether for Board of Education, Judge, City Council or Mayor, the future of Kettering depends on the willingness of our residents to step up and lead. I encourage you to consider the ways you or someone you know might get involved in a leadership role in the Kettering community in the future. Our Kettering Leadership Academy and our various City boards and commissions are frequently looking for new members. These are great opportunities to learn more about the city and create a path to additional leadership opportunities.
The chance to give back to the Kettering community by serving first as a City Council Member, and now as your Mayor, is one of the greatest honors of my life.
Be assured that we on City Council and your city administrators are dedicated to serving you and to making you proud to say Kettering is home.
May you and your families be healthy and prosperous in the New Year and on behalf of City Council and staff, thank you for allowing us to serve you. God bless!