by Jennifer Sierra
editor for the Bellevue Dayton Sun
City Administrator, Michael Giffen discussed the park conversion on Dayton Pike. This project met with some heavy push back from citizens last month. At Tuesday’s council meeting, Giffen said Dayton needs to submit their plans for the park on Dayton Pike to the National Park Service for approval. “In the Urban Core you need to come up with something that is of equal or greater value, Dayton Pike is it. It meets all of the requirements that the National Park Service will accept.” Councilman Bill Burns added that if this doesn’t get approved, it could delay the development. When put to a vote for the plans to be submitted to the park service, a unanimous vote was made in favor of the plan.
Brendan Sullivan and Jim Read stood up to show the council their new plans to develop both sides of the riverfront at the bend in Manhattan Harbor Drive, just past the entrance of the development. Their plans introduced 5 new buildings on lots 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the commons and these 5 buildings make a transition to “step up” to the signature site. “We want to set a high bar,” Brendan said “We are trying to create a buffer area where it goes more from single family and step up in density when we move towards the west. Our goal is to go from single family to 3 or 4 story buildings.” said Sullivan. “Our goal is to make this the cherry on the sundae” said Read. “Everyone there would have a view and off street parking.”
Bill Burns raised questions about how they were going to set the piers into the ground and was concerned about what the process might do to existing homes while Brendan assured council that they would use processes that would not do damage to the existing homes on the levee. Jerry Gifford questioned why they were seeing the plans now and the developers had not brought any plans for the citizens to see. Mayor Boruske explained that he told the group to bring the plans to the meeting so they had more time between the introduction of the plans and when the plans would go before Planning and Zoning. “We want you to at least know what is going on.” Mayor Boruske said to Council member Gifford.
New Police Chief Dave Halfhill reported the city was still on track to receive the Homeland Security Grant for new cameras. This was the grant that Chief O’Brien procured before he was let go in January and there had been some concern among citizens if it would still be available to Dayton. He also said there was a new schedule for the officers on duty and citizens would see the officers on the street more and not in the office as much as well as officers answering calls in a more timely manner. He spoke about the Centiguard App that was put in place by Chief O’Brien as well. He said it was almost ready to use but the developer of the app was having trouble with the new IOS system on Mac computers. He also mentioned that this app would be able to let citizens report crimes or suspicious activity in real time to officers as they witness them.
Main Street Manager, Anthony Cadle, spoke about the new CCAP program that council (full article on CCAP here) approved which would aid in the development of the Central Business District in Dayton. The funds for the plan come out of the city’s economical development budget and should reduce the property vacancy rate in the Central Business District to 10%.
It was also announced by Council Member Joey Tucker that there are 5 vacant park board seats and the city is looking for volunteers for those seats.
Former Council Member, Cathy Volter stood up to discuss the new free library by the Tharp museum and wanted to see if council would approve the idea of getting more of those placed around Dayton. She announced that there is a contest in April that the director of Campbell County Libraries told her about. Anyone can pay $10.00 to enter and build a Little Library for their community. April is library month.
Cathy Volter’s brother, Mike Lenz, stood up to address council. He is also the editor of the Dayton Community News. He started by saying that the last 4 months have been the most trying of his life and there had been one common denominator. Lenz said that he rejected an ad that was directed toward Virgil Boruske, the current mayor. He said there was a group of four candidates that were responsible for the attack ad against the then candidate Boruske and those candidates he said created the ad were “massacred” in the election. “As payback for rejecting the ad, they have decided to become news journalists. Now the common denominator is using articles that were exclusive to the Dayton Community News.” Lenz stated. He went on to say that he sent an email to Dayton School Superintendent Jay Brewer asking if he would not send the Bellevue Dayton Sun an article until Lenz sends a paper file to Brewer each month.“Due to the competitive or should I say vindictive nature of everyone associated with The Bellevue Dayton Sun, our paper will have a repetitive article.” Lenz stated that he recently rejected an article submitted by former Council Member Penny Hurtt because she had already posted it with The Bellevue Dayton Sun. “The timing of this suggests that it (Jay Brewer’s article in the BD SUN) was posted in retaliation for rejecting Penny’s article.” Lenz stated. He went on to say that the BD Sun got the article it posted from the Dayton, Kentucky School Superintendent from the school’s Facebook page. “The Dayton Community News has been a beloved tradition in this community for over 70 years. It would be a shame if a bunch of bitter politicians succeed in putting us out of business.” He went on to address city department heads for submitting articles to the Bellevue Dayton Sun. He also shared an email he sent to all of council earlier that day in which he said “The Bellevue Dayton Sun is nothing but a bunch of vindictive politicians who will stop at nothing to make my life miserable.”
Michael Giffen responded by saying that it is hard to deliver original content to all of the news sources, like The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Bellevue Dayton Sun and River City News, since the city is submitting facts not opinion pieces to the media. He stated that the city of Dayton will still continue to send out information to all of the different media sources in town.
Citizen Jeff Volter stood up to say he would appreciate it if in the future the Mayor would use “best practice” when hiring someone. He was referring to the recent hiring of Police Chief Halfhill. The Mayor replied “I saved the city $1000.00 by not running an ad for it.”
Mr. Volter went on to say that he wished Chief David Halfhill ‘the best” and hoped he ended up being ‘the best police chief Dayton has ever had.”
Volter continued onto the subject of Dave Imboden the riverfront developer. “Several individuals have implied that Mr. Imboden was not acting in the best interest of the city. I totally disagree with this implication. I wonder how many people know how David Imboden has supported the kids of Dayton over the last 7 years. He has paid for expenses for Dayton High School Proms, after proms and sports banquets. He has provided youth league teams with basketball uniforms. He has provided landscaping and painting for our new teen center and not once has the man advertised his giving to help our kids. That is because of the type of person he is. He is a former coach and educator.”
Catherine Hamilton Hicks, who stood up at last month’s meeting to voice her displeasure with the park project on Dayton Pike, came to the podium at this meeting to again state her unhappiness with the project and lack of green space for the kids. She mentioned that she was on the Planning and Zoning committee for the city of Dayton and announced that she had been presented with a packet that changes the “blueprint of what’s happening on the waterfront.” Mayor Boruske interrupted her and said the she shouldn’t make any statement regarding her upcoming decision regarding the project. She went on saying that if we are asked to be flexible by the developer with his ongoing changes to his development on the riverfront, then he should be more flexible regarding the green space. Again Mayor Boruske attempted to advise her about not stating anything that was going to be discussed at the next Planning and Zoning meeting and she continued. “Basically, I just want to support what Council Member Jerry Gifford put forth. There needs to be give and take, it can’t all be take. We need to look out for our people too. Brendan Sullivan made a comment that I took offense to and when he said he wanted these 5 new buildings to be on the north side. If you caught what he said, he said, he didn’t want those people to feel like they were in the neighborhood behind. So the perception is there. We are the neighborhood behind. We have to stop that perception and creating green space and creating a pier is going to bridge that gap.” Hicks incorrectly quoted Brendan Sullivan. After reviewing the video of the entire meeting,The Bellevue Dayton Sun found no evidence that Brendan Sullivan said what Hicks accused him of.
Dave Imboden stood up to respond to Hicks’ comments. Dave addressed her directly saying,” You got the packet for the Planning and Zoning meeting right? You must not have looked at it too closely because this change adds 70 more feet of green space so I am actually eliminating 70 feet of brick wall. I just wanted people to know that I felt like that was misrepresentation.” The debate continued as Catherine spoke up and Mayor Boruske stepped in to state, “We can’t have this discussion here tonight.” Imboden ended his time at the podium by saying, “I just wanted the people to know that it was a total misrepresentation of what she said.” Mayor Boruske could be heard saying “This can’t be discussed here,” As Imboden announced the Planning and Zoning meeting time and date which is open to the public and is at 7:00 PM Wednesday, February 4th at the Dayton Kentucky School Board.
While the citizens of Dayton seem to be in disagreement, there seems to be respect, harmony and majority agreement among this new council in Dayton.
You may watch the entire city council meeting here: Dayton, Kentucky February 2015 City Council meeting
The next Dayton City Council Meeting is Tuesday, March 3, 2015.