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 2023 and the major City projects and initiatives planned for 2024.

The text of the Mayor’s 2024 State of the City address appears below  the video of her presentation.

State of the City 2024

Mayor Lehner:

We’re Kettering. We’re a community named to honor the legacy of Charles Kettering, a trail blazer in innovation. Because of him, we vowed nearly 70 years ago that our city was founded on progress. We are 57,314 residents strong, with over 1,000 healthy businesses, beautiful neighborhoods, and countless programs and amenities to support exceptional quality of living.

My name is Peggy Lehner, and it is my honor to serve alongside council members Vice Mayor Jacque Fisher, Bob Scott, Lisa Duvall, Jyl Hall, Bryan Suddith and Shane Sullivan. At the end of 2023, we bid farewell to longtime council members Tony Klepacz and Bruce Duke. Many thanks to all who serve and their dedication to our community.

As elected officials, we are excited to be part of the extraordinary work that the City of Kettering employees do to ensure our community continues to evolve in ways that make it a place you are proud to call home. A healthy home is strong, exquisite and comfortable, and our employees work hard to offer these characteristics throughout our city.

We’re Kettering…Businesses, residents and patrons collaborate with City leaders because we care for one another, and we will never stop listening to your feedback. Let’s get a closer look as we present the 2024 State of the City.

Matt Greeson: 

At the end of 2023, Greater Dayton RTA launched Route 28 which is a non-stop loop taking passengers east and west bound from County Line Road to Southern Boulevard along Dorothy Lane and Stroop Road!   Every 40 minutes or so, the bus will have made the full loop. This wonderful new offering gives access to those who may need to visit Kettering Medical Center, shop at Town & Country, work out at the Kettering Recreation Center or attend events at the Charles Lathrem Senior Center. There are parks along the way, as well as restaurants and the Rosewood Arts Center!  The loop is so centralized that it makes for a short walk to things that might not be directly on the route.

Kettering also makes sure residents and business owners have any-time access to our information loop.  This includes reports of City happenings, events, emergencies, road construction, improvements to local infrastructure and initiatives such as electric aggregation.  We encourage you to follow us on social media, bookmark our website, read your quarterly Contact With Kettering magazine and subscribe to our monthly newsletter and CodeRED emergency contact system.

Fiscal transparency is as important to use as it is to you. Our government portal on our website is a fantastic place to see how your tax dollars are being utilized and the prudence with which we allocate them. For the 40th year, the City’s Finance Department received the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

Amy Schrimpf:

Tax revenue generated from jobs and payroll supports the infrastructure, facilities and services that 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 we invest in our commercial centers to support job growth, while also investing in neighborhoods and world-class amenities.

Thanks to the efforts of the Community Development staff, a Community Reinvestment Area was designated for homeowners in the Aragon-Oak Park neighborhood. Property owners in this neighborhood are eligible to receive property tax incentives for investing and making real property improvements in their home. This program is designed to spur reinvestment of existing housing stock and encourage new residential development to revitalize neighborhoods.

The Community Development and Economic Development team partnered again in 2023 to assist numerous small businesses thru the microenterprise assistance program. This program provides technical business services, networking opportunities, and forgivable loans to eligible Kettering businesses. In total, $89,500 in forgivable loans were awarded to 10 businesses to date. Funding was used for equipment, inventory, fixed assets, marketing and business promotion or other necessary business improvements.

Support of businesses is important to City staff and leadership. We were pleased to see at least a dozen new businesses opened their doors in 2023 and we are on track to exceed that number in 2024.

During the past year, we also experienced reinvestment and re-utilization of previously vacant sites and new expansion projects at commercial sites. Jimmy Johns redeveloped a former Thai restaurant on Wilmington Pike; TJ Chumps is now located in the former Hawthorne Grille site; 5 grain noodle company just opened where Chop Suey once stood; and Nova Trampoline Park will soon locate in the former Marc’s grocery on Whipp Road; In addition, we’ve seen Coach Ken’s training center renovate a building on Barney Ave; while Town & Country has seen redevelopment projects with Panera, Ross Dress for Less and an expanded Bath & Body Works; the City has also seen redevelopment with the expansion at Kroger’s on Stroop; and at other locations at all corners of our city.

The City continues to work with businesses, developers and other stakeholders to bring new investment to Miami Valley Research Park, Kettering Business Park and the Wilmington corridor. We expect to see significant new investment at those sites in 2024 resulting in more jobs and a stronger tax base for Kettering.

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. If you have a project you’d like to explore along Wilmington Pike – or frankly anywhere else in the City – please call our Economic Development office at 937-296-2412 to discuss new opportunities for grants and incentives that could be available in 2024.

Steve Bergstresser: 

The City’s top priorities include 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 2023, meeting the goals set forth in the plan. The City of Kettering Engineering Department manages the implementation of the Capital Improvement Program as it relates to streets, drainage, sidewalks and bridges. The proposed 2023 CIP outlay was $10.5 million, of which $2.4 million was funded by outside grants and reimbursements. Three significant projects are assigned to Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts.

Mary Beth O’Dell:

The completion of the Rosewood Arts Center renovation project was highly anticipated and celebrated at the end of 2023. The renovation is the culmination of community and stakeholder feedback, as well as surveys conducted over the past several years. In addition to upgrades to the building’s infrastructure, the project includes the creation of more efficient and customized learning environments for various artistic disciplines. It provides expansion of educational space for core program areas including youth art instruction, ceramics, painting and drawing, and specialized spaces for glass and metal working. The estimated $6.4 million project includes approximately $2.1 million from a fundraising campaign through the Kettering Parks Foundation and a $450,000 grant from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.

After two decades of waiting, ground was finally broken on Gentile Nature Park during the summer of 2023. Kettering’s new $2.48 million park will transform 19 acres of the former Gentile Air Force Station into a unique community asset prioritizing health and environmental conservation for an underserved neighborhood. The nature playground, zip line, bike trail connections and walking path promote accessibility while honoring WWII ace Major Dominic Gentile’s legacy onsite – ultimately filling a recreation void. Tree planting and green space strengthen Kettering’s canopy and open enjoyment of the outdoors.

Responding to increasing interest, Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts expanded and transformed the John and Betty Meyer Pickleball Courts at Kennedy Park into a premier 12 court complex with dedicated courts for all skill levels. The $370,000 project delivered on accessibility, funding innovation and enthusiastic demand – immediately drawing regular capacity crowds across generations to maximize this flourishing recreation asset.

Steve Bergstresser:

During 2024, efforts will focus on maintaining and improving current infrastructure. One of the first projects underway in 2024 is Golf Club Estates Phase 1 Storm Sewer improvements where undersized storm sewer pipe is being replaced.

Work on the West Avenue Bridge will begin in the first quarter of 2024 with a pedestrian bicycle bridge constructed at a later time.  Other projects include asphalt overlay, curb, sidewalk and drive approach repair, concrete repair, ADA curb ramp replacement, E. David Road improvements, W. Stroop Road Sidewalk Improvements, Danube Court Bridge rehabilitation, Miami Valley Research Park bike path and Wilmington Pike and Wingview Lane drainage improvements.

When all is said and done in 2024, 11.5 miles of street will be paved, concrete roadway, curb, sidewalk and/or drive approach will be repaired in two neighborhoods; and 140 kindergarteners will complete Safety Village Program.

Kettering was successful in acquiring $310,000 in state funding for East David Road Improvements from Far Hills to Ackerman and $1.8 million in federal funding for Dorothy Lane resurfacing from South Dixie Highway to Haig Ave.


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 appointment of a 12 member Sustainability Committee at the start of 2023 resulted in the recommendation and approval for Kettering to join Power A Clean Future Ohio; an in depth review of sustainability efforts in comparable municipalities; interviews with departmental directors to assess current sustainable practices and record future goals; the formation of subcommittees for deeper analysis of data to support recommendations for 2024 and beyond; and the contribution of feedback relevant to the strategic planning process.

Dayton Regional Green, led and organized by Montgomery County, awarded the City of Kettering a 2023 Sustainability Award for the establishment of a Sustainability Committee. Awards were given to local organizations and municipalities making positive strides towards sustainability.

As part of the City’s efforts to seek ways to be sustainable, you are encouraged to participate in the regional Bring Your Green Challenge. Your participation provides free access to online web-based reporting tools to track energy, waste and water usage, and calculate the environmental impact of your sustainability efforts. To make the experience more fun, you can join teams and participate in a variety of challenges that encourage sustainable lifestyle choices through education, gamification and engagement. You can learn more and sign up at


During 2023, several internet service providers began installing infrastructure throughout the City’s right-of-way to provide fiber-to-the-home options for residents.  Additionally, the City’s partnership with altafiber, formerly Cincinnati Bell, was further implemented 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).


In response to an increase in electricity rates, City staff prepared to help residents. Because Ohio’s utility market is deregulated, every utility goes to auction on an annual basis. As the 2022 auction closed for AES Ohio, we learned electric rates would consequently increase. As a result, fourteen municipalities joined to offer residents and small businesses a 28-month contract with Harbor Energy at a rate of 0.0657 cents/kWh—significantly lower than the current AES Ohio rate of 0.1081 cents/kWh. Residents enjoyed significant reductions in their bills beginning in October. If successful, the program could save residents up to $360/year. The program will likely grow as voters in additional communities authorize their city to participate in aggregation.


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 2023, larger accessible swings were installed at area parks in response to the needs of growing children. The City plans to install an adult changing table at the Kettering Recreation Center in 2024 to assist those with disabilities or mobility issues, with funding from the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Strategic Plan

In 2023, the City Council launched an ambitious effort to update the City’s Strategic Plan called Spark Kettering. City Council appointed a 30-member Steering Committee and engaged staff, residents, and businesses with the goal of creating a community-informed Strategic Plan that will guide Kettering for at least the next five years. This year-long process brought people together to develop strategies to accomplish important goals. The new plan will kick off in 2024.

Senior Services

In 2023, the City of Kettering moved senior services to 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. Senior Services Coordinator Natalie Storms personally assists Kettering seniors in need. Natalie advocates for seniors and helps bring appropriate resources to them for improved quality of life. Natalie assisted 272 residents this year with over 1,072 resident contacts through phone calls and home visits

Tom Robillard:

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.

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.

The Planning and Development Department wrapped up the Stay Put Tenant Assistance Program in 2023. Using funds from Montgomery County and Kettering Municipal Courts, the City of Kettering implemented the program for residents negatively impacted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Kettering assisted 1,434 households and distributed almost $6,651,000 in rental assistance allowing renters to stay in their homes.

Kettering offers other programs to assist residents, as well.  We served 15 households with first time home buyer assistance; 19 residents received assistance with emergency repairs; the City of Kettering assisted with construction and upgrades for many businesses including a new Chase bank locating at the corner of Dorothy Lane and Woodman Drive, Nova Trampoline Park located at the former Marc’s store in Oak Creek, and TJ Chumps new location at Stroop and Marshall, The major remodel of the town and Country Kroger Store, remodel of a business for a new Jimmy John’s on Wilmington Pike, and new construction of Taco Johns and Flying Ace car wash near Meijer.

During 2024, the City will continue assisting several new businesses locating in Kettering including the Blue Berry Cafe at the former Golden Nugget restaurant location and Solvita in the Kettering Business Park.

Planning and Development runs a strong Property Maintenance Program working with residents and businesses to properly maintain their properties. We provide direct assistance in working with residents and businesses to realize their dreams of remodeling and expanding their homes and businesses so they are safe and their investment is secure.

The City of Kettering is planning a pilot program aimed at creating more in-home child care options. A study by 4C For Children found that there are only a few state-licensed residential child care sites in the city. An in-home care site is required to have an Ohio license to house more than six children. 4C For Children provides childcare resources for 15 counties in Southwest Ohio. State-licensed in-home centers can accept publicly funded childcare vouchers. City Council approved $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to help create more sites while giving working families more child care options.

Dawn Kirchner:

My name is Dawn Kirchner, and I am the Administrator for the City’s Volunteer Program.

The City of Kettering Volunteer Program celebrated its 44th year of service in 2023!  Our volunteers are truly the essence of Kettering’s community spirit, and we are grateful to have them on our team. 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.  Ranging in age from 14 to 80, there is something for everyone! Thank you to each and every one of our volunteers.

In 2023, a new category was introduced as part of the treasured Neighborhood Pride Program emphasizing sustainable landscaping practices to align with our sustainability goals.

Our volunteers are responsible for the expansion of the rain garden installed at Van Buren Park, supported by funding through Keep Montgomery County Beautiful, and volunteer help on National Make A Difference Day.

Chief Protsman:

I’m Chief Protsman. 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.

During 2023, the training center was completed. This facility includes a Virtra Simulator to help prepare officers for real life incidents and a Cell Phone Forensics Lab.

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.

Our officers immerse themselves in their community interacting with people of all ages. We have 5 school resource officers.

The RADkids program will once again be offered to Kettering children.

We’ve been fortunate to hire 9 patrol officers, 2 dispatch supervisors and 2 dispatchers this year.  We’ve celebrated promotions for 1 captain, a lieutenant, and 2 sergeants. We bid farewell to 6 officers who retired, as well as K9 Jax whose role was taken over by K9 Bolt and handler Officer Harper.

Chief Robbins:

The Kettering Fire Department responded to 9,372 calls for service during 2023.

Two career Firefighter/Paramedics, AJ Bacon and Kent Denlinger, were promoted to the rank of Fire Captain in 2023. Both of their former positions were filled. Brian Beaver was promoted from Battalion Chief to Assistant Fire Chief. During 2023, retirements included 3 firefighter/paramedics, 2 Fire Captains and 1 Assistant Fire Chief. Collectively, the retirees represented 150 years of service to the Kettering Fire Department. We currently have 5 vacancies in the career firefighter/paramedic position and anticipate being fully staffed in early 2024.

The Fire Prevention Bureau completed over 775 initial/annual fire inspections and over 500 re-inspections. Fire inspections now include the common areas of multi-family dwellings to ensure that life safety requirements are met.

The Fire Department received 1 staff car in 2023 and expects delivery of 2 new medic units with power cots in mid-2024. We are also excited to receive a new fire engine from E-One in early 2024 to be placed at Fire Station 37. The current engine at Station 37 will be placed in reserve, allowing us to retire a 1997 KME fire engine.

The past year has been reflective of the service and dedication of Firefighter/Paramedic Tracy Leach who passed away at the end of 2022 from occupational cancer. Her untimely death was considered line-of-duty by the fire service. She was honored at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland; the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Fallen Firefighter Memorial Wall in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the Miami Valley Firefighter/EMS Association Program in Centerville.

Matt Greeson:

To Kettering 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 Pubic Service Department and Parks Division applied 2,415 tons of salt, 5,250 gallons of Beet Heet, and 16,617 gallons of brine to City streets to keep our roadways safe during the 2022-2023 winter season.

The Public Service Department – Street Division – collected 7,957 tons of leaves, and the yard debris center collected 621 tons of yard waste from 18,185 vehicles to produce 2,138 tons of compost and mulch for use in our parks and residents’ landscaping beds and gardens.

Your Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department maintains 21 beautiful parks, offers live music and community events at the beloved Fraze Paviillion, helps keep our community healthy and engaged at our Recreation Center, Kettering Wellness and Fitness Center, the ice arena and the Charles Lathrem Senior 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. These departments play a role every City project in some fashion.

And, finally, the Kettering Municipal Court is working to expand their online functionality for filing court papers in 2024.

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 2024, 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 2024; and, on behalf of City Council and staff, thank you for allowing us to serve you.  God bless!

The archive of the video from 2023 State of the City presentation is below:

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