State of the City

Kettering Mayor Don Patterson gave his annual State of the City presentation, celebrating the successes our community enjoyed, the challenges we overcame in 2020 and the major city projects and initiatives planned for 2021.

The text of the Mayor’s 2021 State of the City address appears below  the video of his presentation.

Hello. I am Don Patterson, and it is my honor and pleasure to be your Kettering Mayor. On behalf of the entire Kettering City Council, I share with you the State of City. One of my most important responsibilities is to share with you the successes of the previous year and the projects, initiatives and service improvements we have in store for the Kettering community 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 regularly communicate with you to demonstrate how your tax money is used to improve Kettering; and, I hope my annual State of the City provides another medium to accomplish that.

Before we begin to revisit the events that made 2020 an unforgettable year, I am stopping right here to thank all of you. Last year was one of the toughest tests for all of us, and we did the best we could with what we had. Together. Last year was exhausting with crushing moments of loss, along with unforgettable opportunities to serve one another.

I am honored to work alongside my fellow City Council Members, Tony Klepacz, who serves as Vice Mayor, Jacque Fisher, Bruce Duke, Joe Wanamaker, Tony Klepacz and former Council Member Rob Scott. Thank you for sharing your expertise and unwavering community advocacy.

Mr. Scott was recently appointed Kettering’s Clerk of Courts, and we extend our pride and congratulations for this accomplishment. It is also my pleasure to applaud Councilman Duke who was recently appointed to the National League of Cities Board of Directors.

It is a privilege to serve the best residents in the region. I look forward to working for you in my final year as your Mayor and hope to continue making a positive difference in our community and beyond.

Kettering’s story began more than 60 years ago and it continues to be 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 remain 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.

What better way to present this year’s state of the city than by telling “The Story of Kettering in 2020.” Like every great story, ours has heroes and adversaries.

In Chapter 1 of our 2020 recap, we introduce our heroes… the great employees, residents and businesses in Kettering.

During 2020, I have felt and witnessed worry, defeat, anger, joy, fear, hope, inner strength and heightened human connection. In a matter of months, our residents, city employees, business owners and patrons worked together to re-invent the essence of the self starter Mr. Kettering 110 years ago, and through it all I think we learned that each day can be a good one or a bad one depending on how we choose to look at it. It’s all about perspective. It’s all about resilience. And, in a matter of months, all of you emerged as heroes.

Let me take a moment to brag about some of our heroes. So many of our City of Kettering employees, and even residents, receive distinguished awards throughout the year recognizing their initiative, skill and tireless service. As a community, we have so much for which to be proud. So, let’s get to it.

We’ll round out chapter 1 at our Government Center, 3600 Shroyer Road. This is where ideas become reality. Ideas from our residents and business owners, as well as projects City employees create to maintain and exceed the exceptional amenities and services we offer. This is where people who care about you will find answers to your questions and help turn your problems into promising possibilities.

Right next door you’ll find beautiful Lincoln Park Civic Commons where you can relax and watch the world go by as the new flag waves from above.

We joined together to complete the 2020 Census, and I am happy to report that nearly 80% of Kettering residents completed the survey. Being counted will result in more funding opportunities for our community.

In Chapter 2, we were all introduced to the coronavirus pandemic – our biggest adversary. In February, news of a novel coronavirus kept inching its way into state and local media outlets. The City of Kettering immediately began close watch on decisions being made by the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The City administration quickly developed a COVID-19 Task Force to develop plans to mitigate rumors, promote safe work conditions and keep employees physically and emotionally healthy. As the Governor began to conduct daily press conferences, Kettering was on the verge of opening its activities for spring and summer. On March 16, at 5:00 p.m., recreation facilities closed to the public. As we moved toward summer, this new adversary became a force to be reckoned with.

Kettering is home to summer fun. Fraze Pavilion offers summer concerts and festivals, and the Go Fourth celebration honors our freedom with fireworks and a festival at a Delco Park. The Adventure Reef Waterpark is a daily must for kids of all ages, along with our splash pad and summer camps. But, an adversary takes no greater pleasure than stealing joy and keeping all of us guessing. In turn, some of the toughest, most heartbreaking decisions needed to be made swiftly and carefully. As the pandemic heightened, the decision was made to cancel summer activities in Kettering. Without activities and with lower revenue, the City began to feel the pandemic’s impact as layoffs and furloughs were now part of our history. Approximately 240 employees were impacted in this decision.

Employees and residents alike were introduced to new sanitization regimens, shielding, cordoning and Xs on floors to ensure proper distancing. We were introduced to a distanced way of doing business using conference calls, drive-through events and mandatory facial coverings. The ebb and flow of pandemic requirements was fluid, and we all assimilated remarkably well.

Impacts of the pandemic caused the tax filing deadline extension to July 15. The City of Kettering’s Finance Department takes pride in its conservative approach and the resulting benefits. Despite the delayed tax returns and closures causing a decrease in revenue, the City of Kettering’s glass remained half full. Because of the years of due diligence and meticulous fiscal management, the decreased income tax percentages due to delays still found the City’s financial picture stable and original goals attainable.

With the news of WilmerHale and Synchrony Financial leaving the city saw significant loss in revenue and cause for further budget cuts in preparation for 2021. We rallied and determined that personnel costs would be decreased with a continued hiring freeze, with the exception of public safety, as well as through attrition including retirements and resignations. Each department was tasked with decreasing 2021 budgets by five percent in order to accomplish the goals set forth in the City’s strategic plan.

The City of Kettering received $3.1 million for public safety personnel costs relative to services provided to the community throughout the pandemic.

In most good stories, as the adversary gains momentum, the real heroes emerge. And Kettering’s story is no different.

Chapter 3 of our 2020 story is one of several chapters where we’ll talk more about our great heroes and the many ways in which they kept our city healthy despite the challenges in our way. In this chapter we focus on our community development heroes.

We remain a leader as the only jurisdiction in the county and one of few in the state that is 100% digital in plan review and permitting. We are proud to be honored with awards and recognition for our public service and cherish the regular positive feedback from our community. Our goal is to make processes easier for residents and business owners.

We certainly place a great deal of focus on attracting new businesses and helping those already in Kettering grow and thrive here. In Kettering, the vast majority of our amenities and valued city services are funded by income tax. If we don’t have the jobs, we don’t have the resources to support the infrastructure, facilities and services our residents and businesses 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.

Let me show you what I mean as we take a look at the Miami Valley Research Park. The research park continues to be a large economic driver for Kettering. The City of Kettering purchased more than 300 acres of unimproved land from the Miami Valley Research Foundation. As a land-locked community, the opportunity to acquire land for redevelopment is rare and exciting. The property is located in the northeast quadrant of Kettering and is surrounded by Woodman Drive to the west; Aragon Avenue and State Farm Park to the south; County Line Road to the east and the City of Dayton Corporation line to the north.

Miami Valley Research Park continues to see a surge of improvements to both existing facilities and available land. The City will continue to work with KDC to aggressively market the land remaining for development and work with existing tenants to explore expansion opportunities.

Community Tissue Services broke ground in 2018 for a 132,000 square-foot expansion at its Miami Valley Research Park facility. This expansion promises to more than double the current footprint, allowing for additional processing capabilities, marketing, distribution and supply chain management. The $50 million project’s initial completion date was set for late September or October 2020, but has now been slightly delayed. The expansion will create more than 200 jobs primarily in the manufacturing and support fields at the company’s Center for Tissue Innovation and Research. CTS is the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of skin grafts for burn patients.

Life Connection of Ohio will be purchasing nearly nine acres at the intersection of Research Blvd and Woodman Drive in the Miami Valley Research Park. Life Connection of Ohio is a non-profit organization that has promoted and facilitated organ donation for 30 years. Last year, LCO coordinated the recovery of organs from 93 donors, providing 310 lifesaving transplants. The proposed expansion will more than triple LCO’s square footage, allowing for a larger workforce expected to nearly double from 58 to 100 in 5 years. The Miami Valley Research Park location also allows LCO to work in close proximity with a broader group of businesses in the industry. Projections over the next three to five years show that rate of expansion would nearly double the organization’s annual payroll. LCO’s new location in Kettering is expected to be nearly 30,000 square feet. LCO hopes to take occupancy by the end of 2021.

We completed the extension of College Drive in the Miami Valley Research Park near CTS. This critical infrastructure project will link existing businesses and make way for additional future development.

During 2020, Industrial Commercial Properties purchased four buildings and 28 acres of land at Miami Valley Research Park. Situated near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the developer views the properties as suitable to facilitate defense contractors and research users.

This is the vacant land once home to the Kettering Moraine Museum purchased for redevelopment for nearly $250,000 in 2020. We look forward to facilitating business opportunities at that location, as well.

Now let’s take a look at the Kettering Business Park. Over the past several years, Kettering saw steady growth and expansion at the Kettering Business Park, formerly Gentile Air Force Station, which employs nearly 2,000 people at PriMed Physicians, Alternate Solutions Health Network, N12 Technologies and the Kettering Municipal Court.

Alternate Solutions Health Network, founded in 1999 is a national leader in post-acute strategic partnerships. They collaborate with health systems to build a post-acute continuum of care focused on technology, efficiency, and performance. Alternate Solutions Health Network is dedicated to transforming the quality of care for both partners and patients. Alternate Solutions continues to thrive and expand in their 200,000 square foot headquarters with expected growth in employment of 340 jobs by 2021.

Kettering Health Network opened their state of the art command center in the Kettering Business Park in 2019. The facility continues to handle all scheduling and patient management for the entire health network.

The City of Kettering sold 14 acres of land to a developer which is now the home to an Amazon “last mile” package distribution center. The site now holds a 100,000 square foot distribution center and associated delivery vehicle parking areas. Nearly 400 part-time Amazon employees are working in the facility, with six companies providing drivers for the operation.

Like most, this year has certainly brought the City of Kettering new challenges. We accepted those challenges and continue to seek ways to strengthen our community.

The City of Kettering also partners with the businesses that choose to call this community home. In response to the pandemic, the City of Kettering Economic Development team distributed PPE Safety Toolkits, donated by JobsOhio, to assist small businesses throughout our community. These PPE Safety Toolkits will provide small businesses in Kettering PPE resources to stay protected and operate within the State’s safety guidelines during the phased reopening of Ohio.

We’ll round out chapter 3 by talking about the Business Assistance Program created by Planning & Development and Economic Development in response to the pandemic. The COVID-19 Business Assistance Program met the needs of businesses in the community. In the face of the pandemic, the City repurposed existing business loan funds providing a responsive lifeline to local businesses. The City created a forgivable loan product that was accessible, quick and easy to get into the hands of challenged businesses owners. With hard work and flexible thinking, the City assisted businesses and retained jobs. The project reflects outstanding performance in addressing significant and immediate needs in the community.

In Chapter 4, we recognize our resilience in maintaining the City’s Infrastructure.

The City of Kettering itself is almost 70 years old, and some of our neighborhoods nearing 100! Like anything that has been around this long, we have places that are starting to deteriorate. City Council has made reinvestment in infrastructure a critical priority because we want to maintain a city that is well-kept, attractive and vibrant. We want our City to grow older with grace and enhance its rich character by continuing to strengthen the foundation upon which it was built.

With our partners at Montgomery County and Vectren, major reconstructions projects on bridges, roadways, intersections, water mains and gas lines will be critical.

We are putting just as much care into Kettering neighborhoods as we are on major thoroughfares with our prioritized residential reconstruction and repaving programs. We know that while our residents are investing in improvements beyond the curb, it is our responsibility to reinvest in the streets, drives, boulevards and avenues that connect our neighborhoods. Whether we lead projects to repair or install new curbs and sidewalks or maintain roadways, the city is committed to putting every neighborhood on a rotating schedule for improvements that prevent deterioration.

Kettering worked in partnership with Beavercreek to analyze traffic patterns, host a public meeting and ultimately to plan for significant improvements to County Line Road in 2021. The project will add a lane of traffic in each direction in order to ease daily vehicle flow and will also extend the multi-use path from the edge of the Miami Valley Research Park all the way to Dorothy Lane and Stroop Road. Ultimately, this will connect to the recently constructed multi-use path that leads to Indian Riffle Park, the Rob Dyrdek Skate Plaza and the Kettering Recreation Complex.

Let’s take a closer look at Wilmington Pike, an area where the City has placed significant focus in recent years. Wilmington Pike is an essential corridor in Kettering, passing all of the way from our northern to southern boundaries. It is also a stretch of town that fell into a less than desirable state over the years. Seven years ago, I assembled a group of Kettering business leaders, residents, real estate experts and City Council representatives to create a strategic plan for this critical corridor. The task force, known as the Wilmington Pike Improvement Committee, established priorities and outlined phases for re-development that will result in a rejuvenated thoroughfare.

Our investment in the Wilmington Pike corridor continues to prove beneficial. Michael Chew’s Restaurant purchased a former sports bar that went vacant in 2009, and plans to expand the dining space by adding a patio. The outdoor dining area will add 3,000 square feet to the 4,700 square foot building. The renovations will take place in 2021. The restaurant will bring ten jobs to Kettering. Along with significant indoor renovations, the owner plans to add a new street façade. Connections from city sidewalks to the property will be added, as well as ambient outdoor features. The restaurant will receive up to $25,000 from the City of Kettering’s Wilmington Pike façade and improvement program that helps properties in the corridor conform to city code.

We are dedicated to the Wilmington Pike improvement process, and we are excited to watch as it transforms into a vibrant corridor.

In 2021, Far Hills Avenue will be resurfaced between David Road and the Oakwood corporation line.

We’ll finish chapter 4 by heading over to the northwest side of Kettering. Throughout Kettering, several bridges are reaching the end of their useful life and in most cases require complete replacement.

The City of Kettering unveiled a new public art piece to the community, constructed as part of the Schantz Avenue bridge replacement project. “Schantz” was designed to be a visible gateway for those entering and leaving Kettering along South Dixie Highway. The steel decorative patterning was inspired by the historic trolleys that ran along the Dixie corridor, as well as the ornamentation of the historic cash registers manufactured nearby. Be sure to visit at night to see the full effect!

The Ridgeway Road Bridge is also being replaced following significant public engagement efforts to collect feedback on project alternatives. City Council directed city administration to pursue grant funding for the purpose of reconstructing the bridge, and the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Municipal Bridge Program granted the award. Construction began in late 2020. This project will also include an art installation to reflect the surrounding landscape of Hills and Dales Metro Park.

In chapter 5 we’ll focus on the great heroes in Kettering’s medical community who worked tirelessly to protect us from the looming adversary.

Kettering Health Network, with their flagship Kettering Medical Center on Southern Boulevard, remains not only our largest employer but also one of our most loyal community partners. They continually upgrade and expand their facilities and services.

Look at this new facility at 1745 East Stroop Road where Kettering Health Network (KHN) broke ground in August of 2020, on a multi-million dollar medical office building that will focus on senior care and house more than 30 jobs. The East Kettering Health Center at the corner of Mayfield Avenue will serve an increasing aging population in Montgomery County’s most-populated suburban city. Nearly 18.5% of Kettering’s estimated 54,800 residents are 65 or older. Projected to open in the summer of 2021, the structural steel framed building on a previously vacant 1.45-acre lot will represent a $5.6 million investment by Kettering Health Network. Eight physicians and advanced practice providers, one behavioral health specialist and 20-25 support team members will offer primary care/internal medicine, behavioral health and educational classes. The site will include X-ray and lab areas with more than 20 exam rooms in 14,316 square feet of space.

Thank you to our health care heroes who have touched most of our lives in some way during 2020.

As we move into chapter 6, we’ll focus on all of the great Kettering heroes who have contributed to the continued improvement of our neighborhoods.

Being over 60 years old, Kettering has a varied selection of homes and neighborhoods of all ages from which to choose. Making our way down Dorothy Lane to Prugh Woods Drive, we see an enclave of 37 newly constructed single family homes in a park-like setting surrounded by maturing neighborhoods.

The housing market in Kettering remains strong and was recognized as such be being ranked fourth in the state of Ohio. Properties in every style and price range continue to sell, often within days of listing. We are also excited about some of the reinvestment taking place in our neighborhoods as private real estate entrepreneurs purchase, renovate and place updated homes in highly-desirable locations back on the market. One by one, these like-new properties spark momentum for more improvements to those nearby. And soon, house by house and street by street, the property values of the entire neighborhood begin to rise.

Our residents’ efforts to maintain and improve their properties are important and appreciated. As a way to recognize and promote these improvement efforts the City continues 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. Despite the hurdles the pandemic placed upon us, we worked within the safety guidelines in place to proceed with this cherished initiative.

Eudora Brewing Company, Strathmoor Crossing and Valvoline Oil were three of the businesses that received awards along with 33 residential properties. Congratulations to all of the 2020 winners. Thank you for your efforts to make your property and our neighborhoods something special. I extend my gratitude to the Neighborhood Pride Committee for their efforts to review nominations and select the winners.

There’s an initiative to re-invest in our neighborhoods that is very unique and special to me. When I ran for office, one of my goals was to help revitalize Kettering neighborhoods and housing stock. Together, we combined our ongoing participation in national Make a Difference Day with Cities of Service to develop an ongoing neighborhood revitalization initiative.

Since 2011, the City has done just that, by “adopting” a neighborhood each year and leading efforts for reinvestment. A group of city staff takes a look at a number of elements including the number of foreclosures, property maintenance violations, crime statistics and more to determine improvements to be made. This initiative is in partnership with the City’s Make a Difference Day and the national group, Cities of Service programming.

We focus on areas in which we think we can build some community spirit. The first neighborhood chosen for this program was Richman Heights, followed by Indianola, Southern Hills North, Berwin Park, Oak Park, Haverstick, and neighborhoods north of East David Road and Irelan Park. Without the care and ingenuity of the City’s volunteers, this program would have had to take a time out for 2020. Creative thinking and adapting to new protocols allowed by the state, the program marched on resulting in mask distribution, holiday card production for military personnel and nursing home residents, as well as trees being planted in Van Buren Park.

Throughout the city, our Community Development team works one-on-one with residents who desire to make improvements to their homes or who wish to buy a home in Kettering and need financial support to make that dream come true. Kettering’s “rehabbing a home” initiative has a number of low-interest loan programs to encourage and assist homeowners with financing for home repairs and remodeling efforts. A few examples of repairs and improvements include roof replacements, new windows and doors, and heating and electrical system replacements.

Typically, the city serves 20 to 40 people a year, depending on the amount of individual applications received. The city also carries out larger projects, tearing down vacant houses that are in bad shape and collaborating with owners of rundown properties to improve the space. In addition, Habitat for Humanity houses are built throughout the city, with one located on Dorothy Lane and several east of Woodman Drive.

Overall, the city’s goal is to make Kettering as accessible as possible and grow its housing reinvestments.

Let’s round out chapter 6 by taking the scenic route back to the Government Center to talk about property maintenance. Here in Kettering, we have expected standards that apply to each and every property regardless of location, size or value. We have a dedicated team of inspectors who systematically review property concerns and work with residents to resolve issues.

Here we are. Certainly this is a place you all recognize and terribly miss. Fraze Pavilion is the crown-jewel of Kettering and one of the things our residents love about calling Kettering home. The Fraze Pavilion awaits the sounds of music, applause and memories being made. Hang on, we’ll get there.

Chapter 7 is all about our great city employee heroes.

In the absence of our annual Christmas Gathering at Polen Farm due to the pandemic, our Volunteer Office developed our first annual home for the holiday tour of lights to rave reviews. Residents decked their houses and submitted photos. Our Volunteer office put together a map to guide residents to these spectacular displays.

In 2020, we learned more than ever the importance of online services. I encourage you to visit www.ketteringoh.org. You will see a place right on our homepage where you can get quick answers to frequent questions, as well as report issues of concern that need the City’s attention. This feature works on both our website and from our Facebook. The City just a touch away 24/7. Request police records, report concerns, ask questions and provide feedback for city services.

Certainly exceptional city services make Kettering unique in the region. Among the most treasured city services is the protection offered by our Kettering Police and Fire Departments.

Our four fire stations are staffed 24 hours a day with personnel trained and equipped to the respond to your calls for service. In 2020, the Kettering Fire Department responded to more than 8,000 calls for assistance.

In February 2020, Kettering Fire Department welcomed Rescue Engine 34. In addition to pumping water, this E-One fire engine also carries technical rescue equipment stored on the front bumper for rapid deployment during serious vehicle crashes. KFD members have worked for more than two years to ensure this vehicle is equipped to provide the best possible service to our residents.

The Kettering Fire Department will also welcome a new ladder truck to replace the oldest vehicle in their fleet.

We welcomed Mitch Robbins as our new Fire Chief as we bid farewell to longtime chief Tom Butts. This change led to several promotions within our Fire Department, and we are so proud. We also celebrated our very own Fire Marshall Bill Ford as he received the distinguished honor of Fire Official of the Year.

To better serve our citizens and first responders, a new computer-aided dispatch and records management system was implemented in the Police and Fire departments in 2020. The system tracks and categorizes calls for service, reports and generates important statistical information.

We continue a multi-year replacement project for the software that runs our emergency dispatch center. We completed a technology advancement which ensures the continuity of our Emergency Operations Center and backup dispatch operations, a safeguard to protect all of us should a catastrophic natural disaster occur. These are only a few projects that will dramatically improve our ability to reach you in the case of an emergency.

The fiber optic service ring completed in partnership with Miami Valley Communications Council and 7 neighboring communities is critical to our public safety operations as well as our efforts to attract new businesses. Data service is now a highly demanded form of infrastructure for companies and a critical resource for public safety. Partnering with our neighbors to install the fiber-ring made the project more affordable and allowed us to connect our emergency operations centers to theirs increasing the reliability of our system, particularly in the case of a disaster or citywide outage. We were proud to lead the way on this regional project and know that offering this modern infrastructure amenity will be highly valuable.

We completed the design for a major renovation of the Kettering Police Department Headquarters within the Kettering Government Center complex. This significant project will bring the facility up to modern standards, improve and expand the functionality of the existing space, expand the operations of our Public Safety Dispatch Center, and create a new combined entrance for visitors to the Government Center North Building and Police Headquarters. Construction of the renovation project required police personnel to temporarily move to various locations throughout the city. In September, the Chief of Police and administrative offices moved into the new upper level addition as renovations continue in the lower level at Police Headquarters.

The health and safety of Kettering residents is paramount, and at the end of 2020, City Council and staff approved two essential items. Beginning in 2021, all Kettering Police officers will be outfitted with body-worn cameras. Officers will wear a body-worn camera on their person which will be utilized during any transaction with the public.

Our School Resource Officer program grew from 2 officers to 5, placing a dedicated Kettering Police Department Partners throughout our schools. By establishing a presence in each school, the School Resource Officers can build trusting relationships with students by participating as active members of the school community, and on the premises in the event a safety matter arises.

KPD added a Crisis Intervention Specialist to their team to spend time responding to mental health-related calls for service with an officer, conducting follow ups on at-risk individuals, assisting in professional placement of those needing assistance, as well as helping train KPD personnel on mental health related topics.

Our public safety team is always ready to make the changes that will best protect the lives and health of our citizens.

In our final chapter, we bring all the pieces of our 2020 story together to show how the great heroes of Kettering masterfully managed daily service offerings, alternative programming and our budget in response to our unexpected adversary, the pandemic.

The pandemic stopped us in our tracks, just for a minute. Then it caused us to join together, six feet apart, to plan our next steps. Try as it might, it could not defeat us. Budget constraints are present and our employees continue to make sacrifices to make do with what we have. Together, we blocked and pivoted to stop the endless punches the pandemic threw at us. Our Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department developed alternative programs for summer activities and helped prepare one of the most memorable tree lighting ceremonies we’ve ever had albeit virtual.

Through it all, the hearts of human beings prevail. And, when I hear of the overwhelming generosity of our Kettering community, I am so proud to live here and be a part of it. I’d like to end my presentation this year with a shining example.

City staff includes a full-time Compliance and Inclusion Manager to help us ensure that our facilities, projects and programs meet ADA standards, and city staff is trained to lean toward yes in support of requests from the public.

As fall sports programs for children opened up following state safety guidelines, the importance of this position and its connection with all departments in the City was ever present for one child who was signed up for one of our fall sports. Having participated the year before, the Sports Supervisor coordinating teams remembered the player and instantly knew the masks required during the pandemic season would be an obstacle for that particular player. For the child, communication hinged upon reading lips. The Inclusion and Compliance Manager researched communication mask options, had masks made for the two coaches and turned this potential hardship into a success. Employees proved, once again, they are in touch with the talents of one another, the community and their customers.

The City of Kettering Volunteer Program celebrated its 41st year of service! What began as a group of volunteers planting marigolds in the medians has blossomed into a force of more than 1,124 active volunteers who continue to foster the mission of the volunteer program—to assist city staff by expanding city programs, enhancing city services, building an understanding of city government, and encouraging community pride. Although COVID kept our volunteer family apart for most of 2020, the connection and desire to help others remained strong. Volunteers made masks and made phone calls to ensure residents who were home bound had the food and supplies they needed. Since 1979, because of our volunteers, the City of Kettering has saved over $23 million dollars in staff time!

You are truly the essence of Kettering’s community spirit, and we are grateful.

I extend my heartfelt appreciation to all of the Kettering residents who take their commitment to serving our community to the next level. Their leadership is critical, and their input vital.

And, to every resident, thank you. In Kettering we highly value engaged residents, opportunities to have meaningful dialogue and active participation in the leadership of our community. I, and my fellow members of City Council, truly enjoy hearing from those 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 and to stay connected to our city communications to ensure you are always in the know about the latest city projects, service announcements and alerts.

In 2021, 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.

What an incredible year of the positive human spirit rising above the negative effects of the pandemic. I am grateful each day for the opportunities to join together with all of you to roll up our sleeves and help maintain the luster of this grand city. We have something special here, and the mission we share to keep it that way drives us to serve and contribute our ideas and talents. My service as a City Council Member, and now as your Mayor, has been repaid tenfold in the friendships I’ve developed, the overwhelming gratitude I feel for being a part of strengthening what we have and the most rewarding lessons I’ve been blessed to learn.

May you and your families be healthy and prosperous in 2021; and, on behalf of City Council and staff, thank you for allowing us to serve you. God bless!

 

The archive of the video from 2019 State of the City presentation is below:

 

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