State of the City
Kettering Mayor Peggy Lehner gave her annual State of the City presentation, celebrating the successes our community enjoyed, the challenges we overcame in 2022 and the major city projects and initiatives planned for 2023.
The text of the Mayor’s 2023 State of the City address appears below the video of her presentation.
State of the City 2023
Mayor Lehner: Kettering is my home. I raised a family here and have done my best to positively contribute this community while enjoying all it has to offer. One of my most important responsibilities is to share with you our community successes from the previous year and the projects, initiatives and service improvements we have in store for the year to come.
I am honored to work alongside my fellow City Councilmembers, Vice Mayor Jacque Fisher, Tony Klepacz, Bruce Duke, Bob Scott, Lisa Duvall and Jyl Hall. Thank you for sharing your expertise and unwavering community advocacy. At the end of 2022, we bid farewell to Mark Schwieterman and honored his 34 years of dedicated service. As of January first, 2023, Matt Greeson has assumed the role of Kettering’s seventh City Manager.
We are proud to present our 2023 State of the City Address. We appreciate your involvement in civic initiatives to keep our community healthy, and we value your feedback.
City Manager Matt Greeson: Kettering is home to a wonderful selection of important services and amenities that cater to each resident and every business. The projects and initiatives on the horizon for Kettering will truly enhance the quality of life we enjoy today. Kettering’s future is brighter because of the collaborative work as a community founded on progress.
Let’s kick things off by highlighting one of the many examples that your tax dollars are in brilliant hands. For the 40th year, the City’s Finance Department received the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
Kettering is home to Economic Development and Business Growth
Economic Development Manager Amy Schrimpf: More than 30 new small businesses chose to call Kettering home during 2022! In partnership with the Kettering-Moraine-Oakwod Chamber of Commerce, our City Council and staff members are given opportunities to meet business owners and celebrate these special moments as they begin their entrepreneurial journeys!
The City of Kettering offered microenterprise loans and grants to ten business owners in 2022. Our Community Development Department has been instrumental in helping historically disadvantaged business owners achieve their dream. Funding was awarded to MackBrand Clothing, Lopez and Associates, Dayton Fit Lab, Jolorah and Company, The Cookie Joint LLC, The Chicken Spot d/b/a Chicken Heads and Seven Spa. Qualified businesses can use the funding for business equipment, inventory, necessary fixed assets, marketing and business promotion or other necessary business improvements. To be eligible for the program, applicants must be located in Kettering; a registered taxpayer and current on their tax payments; and a designated microenterprise which is defined as a business with five or fewer employees, one of whom is the owner of the business. Eligibility is also contingent upon income limits and the businesses location having no property maintenance violations.
The City of Kettering partners with the businesses who choose to call this community home. Two initiatives were conducted to stay connected during 2022, including a Business Walk through the Stroop, Marshall and Shroyer area, as well as drop-in visits to several manufacturing businesses on National Manufacturing Day.
In August, the City of Kettering was honored to welcome the U.S. Senior Women’s Golf tournament to Kettering as they competed at NCR’s world-class golf course. Events like this and the annual Flyin’ to the Hoop tournament helps businesses in our community. Shopping local businesses is also an important contributor for a stronger economy.
Our business parks continue to be notable economic drivers in our city as they welcome new businesses with exciting ventures. Renovations at 950 Forrer are being done to make room for exciting new tenants at Kettering Business Park! Kettering Business Park continues to thrive as it employs nearly more than 1,000 people at PriMed Physicians, Alternate Solutions Health Network, Kettering Health, Amazon and the Kettering Municipal Court.
Miami Valley Research Park is home to the new Sixth River investment consisting of four buildings on Research Drive and Founders Drive ready for tenants after renovations and a new parking lot was built in 2022. The research park is home to companies that have expanded and continue to thrive such as Life Connection of Ohio, Community Tissue Services and Resonetics.
In November 2021, we learned that a manufacturing business would be slowly leaving Kettering. Tenneco Automotive Operating Company announced that all operations would be completed and the facility would close in late 2023. This closing would impact over 600 jobs. The City of Kettering began strategizing and developing a transition plan for employees being displaced. Monthly meetings were established with Tenneco personnel, Montgomery County Job and Family officials, as well as administrators from the Dayton Development Coalition, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and Sinclair Community College to coordinate plans of action including job fairs, education and training opportunities for employees. The 940,000 square foot manufacturing facility is marketable, and multiple potential buyers have shown interest in purchasing it.
The number of jobs we have supports the infrastructure, facilities and services our residents and business communities treasure. In the end, our goal is to protect the investment that you made when you decided to call Kettering home. That means that we invest in our commercial centers to support job growth, as well as our neighborhoods and world-class amenities.
Kettering is home to top-notch amenities and capital improvements.
Steve Bergstresser, Assistant City Manager: One of the City’s top priorities is its dedication to continued capital improvements, sustainability, a healthy living environment and maintaining programs that help our residents and business owners.
The Capital Improvement Program continues to be an area of emphasis for City Council.
Several capital improvement projects were completed during 2022, meeting the goals set forth in the plan. The Ridgeway Road Bridge was completed in August 2021, including the public art installation. Landscaping was completed as part of the 2022 CIP.
The $2.6 million County Line Road Widening Project was finished in September 2022, expanding 3 lanes to 5 creating a wider, smoother route from Interstate 675 to the Miami Valley Research Park, which will boost job growth, more flexible land use and housing plans.
The Hewitt Avenue Bikeway Connector provides a bicycle connection between the Iron Horse Trail and the Bigger Road Trail to connect Kettering and Centerville over I-675. This project is located in both Kettering and Centerville, so the construction cost was shared 50/50. The total project cost was $495,000.
The Rosewood Arts Center renovation underwent Phase 2 during 2022. This $4.7 million project includes the renovation of the existing building, and funds for new furniture, fixtures and equipment are being raised by the Parks Foundation with a goal of $2 million. Phase 3’s $1.1 million cost is included in the budget plan for 2023.
Thanks to a generous donation from the Doug Lathrem family, the Charles I. Lathrem Senior Center has enjoyed some big improvements, including new furniture, upgraded technology, new restrooms, a nice billiards room and many more interior updates.
The work does not stop for 2023! The 2023 capital improvement plan totals $16.2 million, of which $2.6 million will be funded by outside grants and reimbursements. The City will complete more than $8.3 million in roadway improvements, leveraging the City’s investment with $1.8 million from outside sources. The program includes residential asphalt street resurfacing funded in part with revenue received from the state gas tax increase in effect since 2019; ADA curb ramp replacement; City facility improvements including bathroom at Indian Riffle Park and water park maintenance; parks infrastructure improvements including vegetation and concrete repairs; traffic signal replacement program; Newcom Knolls sidewalk and curb repair; Southern Boulevard resurfacing from Stroop to Big Hill; E. Stroop Bikeway from Glengarry to E. Dorothy; Wilmington Pike resurfacing from Stroop to Beaverton; Woodman Drive resurfacing from Wilmington to Stocker; bridge replacements and rehabilitation; Golf Club Estates drainage project; and Phase 3 renovations to the Rosewood Arts Center.
The City of Kettering partnered with altafiber to provide more connectivity for residents and visitors through high-speed public Wi-Fi. Under terms of the five-year agreement, altafiber will provide a state-of-the-art, fiber-enabled Wi-Fi network at Fraze Pavilion (24 access points); Kettering Recreation Complex (20 access points); and Delco Park (9 access points).
The City of Kettering is committed to incorporating environmentally sustainable practices and initiatives through active research, education, discussion with residents and business owners and continuous review of emerging technology and best practices. The Kettering City Council determined sustainability a priority issue. To facilitate the process of determining the direction and scope of projects recommended to City leaders, the City of Kettering formed a team of dedicated volunteers willing to serve as an advisory body.
Pickle Ball Courts
The Kettering Parks Foundation and a pickle ball citizens group raised funds for additional pickle ball courts. The construction of six new courts at Kennedy Park will be complete in 2023.
EV Charging Stations
Two Electric Vehicle charging stations were installed at Delco Park, Kettering Recreation Center and the Government Center. Electricity usage requires a nominal fee. Funding came through Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.
During 2022, the increase in electricity rates became a concern, and City staff prepared to help residents. Because Ohio is a deregulated state, every utility goes to auction annually. As the 2022 auction closed for AES Ohio, we learned rates would increase as a result and immediately began looking into alternatives to help residents. We are currently exploring the benefits of using larger buying power by partnering with surrounding municipalities to negotiate a better energy price for residents. We are cautious in our search to ensure the terms and conditions attached to these alternatives are beneficial, as well.
If we choose to join forces and move forward, we anticipate many aggregation rates in the first half of 2023.
Wilmington Pike and Beyond
The City of Kettering remains committed to acting as a catalyst for reinvestment along Wilmington Pike for both economic purposes and the impact the corridor has on our residents. The Wilmington Pike corridor is a backbone in our community, and its vitality is central to the strength of our commercial success. During 2022, the original plan created to regenerate investment and spur development on Wilmington Pike is now available citywide. The Demolition Program provides financial assistance to commercial property owners to assist in the demolition of structures and clearance of sites for redevelopment purposes. The Façade and Site Improvement Program allows businesses to apply for a grant up to $25,000 to assist properties in the corridor with conforming to city code.
In 2022, the City of Kettering received the second tranche for a total of $13.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The City discussed appropriate uses of ARPA funds to assist those who were impacted most by the pandemic labeled Community Programs. Emphasis is also placed on getting back on track with the capital equipment and capital improvement programs that were delayed or cut due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Funds have been allocated as follows: Community Programs – $2,000,000; Capital Equipment – $4,460,300; and Capital Improvement – $7,300,000. The City allocated the ARPA funds for public safety payroll under the “Lost Revenue” model in order to relieve most of the administrative burden associated with ARPA reporting. The above “ARPA” programs and projects will be completed utilizing General Fund dollars offset by the receipt of ARPA funds.
The City has a full-time Compliance and Inclusion Manager who serves all City departments. The manager works with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Advisory Committee to address citywide access and inclusion matters. The City fully supports access and inclusion for individuals with disabilities to participate in programs, events, enrichment opportunities and camps throughout the City. In 2022, repairs to concrete ramps were made leading to the lower-level police station and the upper-level offices in the North Building at the Government Center.
We pride ourselves on customer service. Our 2022 community satisfaction survey confirms that our focus on customer service is on point. While we enjoy a 95% overall satisfaction rate, any real or perceived decrease in service threatens that ranking. To ensure City staff, residents and public officials are working toward the same goals, it is time for to collaborate to determine the things that are important. During 2023, the City of Kettering staff, residents and elected officials will work together to develop a new strategic plan. Our community will collaborate to re-affirm existing goals, introduce new ones. Stay tuned to the City’s website and social media for information on how you can be part of this important project.
In 2023, the City of Kettering plans to operate senior services coordination from our Government Center at 3600 Shroyer Road. This creates a one stop scenario for residents needing senior assistance, crisis intervention services and community development programs.
Kettering is home to affordable housing and community development
Tom Robillard, Planning & Development Director:
Community Development and Property Maintenance
The City of Kettering is committed to supporting residential development to ensure families looking for affordable homes with modern amenities have options in Kettering. Two new apartment buildings were added to Kettering’s residential opportunities. Darby Run, a 50-unit, $11.5 million apartment building, is situated behind Meijer on Hempstead Station Road. Darby Run is expected to open in 2023. In 2022, a four-story, 40-unit apartment building on Hempstead Station Drive opened as a general occupancy workforce housing community. Hempstead Landing is a 38,000-square-foot structure located near the corner of Stroop Road.
Two Kettering apartment buildings estimated to cost a combined $22 million-plus call for 103 units at the former Ohio Bell/AT&T building site at 3233 Woodman Drive. The AT&T building was demolished, and The Lofts, a project involving County Corp and the Oberer Companies, will be general occupancy workforce affordable housing, while The Senior Village, involving St. Mary Development Corp. and Oberer, will offer affordable housing to those 55 and older.
The importance of reinvestment also extends to our residential areas. 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.
The Community Development division will continue to facilitate programs for providing quality housing to Kettering homeowners and education opportunities for foreclosure prevention and homeownership. The City has provided assistance stabilizing households and improving neighborhoods through homebuyer assistance, emergency repairs, and comprehensive updates for over forty years. The City offers low cost loans of 0% or 1% with low or no payments, depending on demonstrated need. The repaid funds can be recycled in the future to assist more homeowners.
In 2022, the City purchased and demolished a blighted property at the corner of Marshall Road and Wilmington Pike, and two properties on Courtland and Willamet that were demolished as a result of the City’s Nuisance Abatement Program.
The Planning and Development Department continued the Stay Put Tenant Assistance Program in 2022. Using funds from Montgomery County and with the help of Kettering Municipal Courts, the City of Kettering implemented the program for residents negatively impacted from the COVID-19 pandemic. If qualified, residents could receive funding to cover six months of unpaid rent and three months forward. Thus far, the City has processed 1018 applications utilizing nearly $4.5 million in funds.
To assist homeowners with necessary improvements and first-time homebuyers, the City of Kettering partnered with Day Air Credit Union to create forgivable loan programs. The City contributed $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to the community programs mentioned helping 23 applicants with $405,000 in down payment loans and 20 applicants with $148,000 in home improvement needs.
Kettering is home to volunteer service opportunities.
Dawn Kirchner, Volunteer Program Administrator: The City of Kettering Volunteer Program celebrated its 43rd year of service in 2022! Our volunteers are truly the essence of Kettering’s community spirit, and we are grateful. Kettering has one of the largest volunteer programs in the nation, and it’s because of our residents who take their commitment to serving our community to the next level. Their leadership is critical, and their input vital. Thank you to each and every one of our volunteers.
Efforts by residents to maintain and improve their properties are important and appreciated. The Neighborhood Pride Awards Program is one way the City promotes these efforts. The program recognizes residents and businesses that have made significant improvements to or have maintained their properties impeccably year after year. Winners are selected by the volunteer Neighborhood Pride Award Committee, made up of previous winners.
Kettering participates in the Cities of Service program–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 participating. The City focuses efforts on neighborhood revitalization. More than eight Kettering neighborhoods have benefited from this innovative program to date. Each year, on National Make A Difference Day, City volunteers and civic groups join together to accomplish the bulk of the work in the selected area for revitalization. Work was focused in the Van Buren Park area with clean-up and installation of a rain garden. Seven houses requested assistance in the neighborhood. Cards and placemats were made for active military service members and residents at local nursing homes.
Kettering is home to exceptional public safety and quality of life.
Chief Chip Protsman, Kettering Police Department: The men and women of the Kettering Police Department continue to work around the clock to protect the citizens of Kettering. Our agency has three areas of accreditation including our jail, our dispatch center and overall law enforcement. Accreditation does not tell us how to run our police department, it is there to ensure that our agency runs well.
We are constantly training and working to maintain exceptional service levels to cater to so many different needs.
KPD provides five School Resource Officers to the Kettering Schools. SROs provide education programs and demonstrate the human connection imperative for positive community relations.
We work with the Partners for Healthy Youth Board, and Kettering City Schools to address the growing numbers of families needing assistance. The team had several community events to engage and showcase the services available to our citizens.
During 2022, ten Flock intelligent cameras were installed on poles across the city to help police solve crimes. These cameras were $27,500 and will assist in finding suspicious vehicles by make, color, model or license plate on follow-up investigations.
With the help of Miami Valley Communications Council, member cities including Kettering, Oakwood, Moraine, Centerville, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Springboro and Germantown, welcomed the arrival of the Lenco BearCat G3, the newest member of the Kettering Regional Special Response Team’s vehicle fleet. This armored vehicle will help ensure the safety of the regional SWAT team members and the citizens in the communities they serve.
Chief Mitch Robbins, Kettering Fire Department: The Kettering Fire Department responded to 9,638 calls for service in 2022, and welcomed a new ladder truck to replace the oldest vehicle in our fleet. The men and women of the Kettering Fire Department continue to train and work to serve our residents. We also engage in public education offered to residents of all ages on fire prevention, carbon monoxide detection and safety practices. Our department once again received the American Heart Association Mission Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award for medical services provided to patients who experience the most deadly type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart. Our Fire Prevention members conducted over 775 fire inspections in 2022, during which many hazards were found and abated. The Kettering Fire Department administered oaths to 5 firefighter/paramedics—each bringing a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the organization. In 2022 KFD celebrated 100 years of fire protection in the Kettering community both by the Kettering Fire Department and formerly Van Buren Township Fire Department. After our evaluation from Insurance Services Organization (ISO) in 2022, we are proud to announce our Fire Suppression Rating Schedule as a class 2 rating. This places Kettering in the top 2% of fire departments in the nation.
Kettering is home to an unbeatable community of residents, business owners, staff and elected officials.
City Manager Matt Greeson: To the residents and business owners, thank you for choosing to call Kettering home. City of Kettering employees are here to help ensure our community remains the best in the region. In addition to the departments we’ve already heard from in this state of the city address, let’s take a few minutes to spotlight the others.
Your Public Service Department collected 8,740 tons of leaves in 2022 during the spring and fall collection programs. The Yard Debris Center collected 605 tons of yard waste from residents. These services resulted in 615 tons of compost and 600 tons of mulch being produced, of which 730 tons combined was returned to the residents to use in their yards during the spring and summer months. Snow removal operations used 4,300 tons of salt in 2022 while treating our roads during 13 winter weather events. The City is also developing a new winter weather webpage which will be available in 2023. This new service will allow residents to view roadway treatment status during winter weather operations.
Your Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department maintains 21 beautiful parks, offers live music and community events at the beloved Fraze Pavilion, helps keep our community healthy and engaged at our Recreation Center, Kettering Wellness and Fitness Center, the ice arena and the Charles Lathrem Center, inspires artists throughout the region at the Rosewood Arts Center and coordinates your most memorable events at Polen Farm.
Like most organizations, the City of Kettering has its own Human Resources Department, Law Department, Finance Department and Administrative Systems Department to keep things running smoothly.
Finally, the Kettering Municipal Court is working to expand their online functionality for filing court papers in 2023.
City of Kettering public servants never stop finding ways to help improve quality of life for our citizens. It is a privilege to serve and engage with our community.
Mayor Lehner: Thank YOU for making Kettering your home. Our city offers great schools, wonderful parks, unmatched recreation programs and immeasurable community spirit. We are proud of the services and traditions we offer, and we will always consider new initiatives and resources for our residents, businesses and patrons.
In 2023, I hope you will consider the ways you or someone you know might get involved in a leadership role in the Kettering community. Everyone has a talent, and together we are unstoppable. 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.
Be assured that all of us on Kettering City Council and your city administrators are dedicated to serving you and to ensuring you remain proud to say Kettering is home.
May you and your families be healthy and prosperous in 2023; and, on behalf of City Council and staff, thank you for allowing us to serve you. God bless!
The archive of the video from 2022 State of the City presentation is below: