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Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 7:44 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 6:48 AM
HARRISON TWP. — A new Harrison Twp. town square anchored by a relocated government center is the centerpiece of an ambitious — but yet unfunded — redevelopment plan for Forest Park unveiled by officials Monday night.
About 100 people attended a meeting at Sinclair Park, where Joe Nickol, the project’s lead planner, presented a consensus draft plan based on months of research and community meetings for 54 acres once home to an amusement park and later a shopping center that fell into decay.
“What really quickly bubbled up to the top was the idea of exploring further the idea of relocating the township hall to this site. It’s at the center of the township,” Nickol said.
The main township offices are at 5945 N. Dixie Drive, while safety administration functions are in two other buildings. According to 2017 U.S. Census estimates, about 22,300 people live in the township consisting of about 6.3 square miles just north of Dayton.
Roland Winburn, township trustee president and co-chair of the Forest Park plan, said a task force would be assembled to examine the cost of implementing the plan and how to fund it.
“There’s nothing in concrete… We haven’t promised anything,” Winburn said. “We have to be very aware how taxpayer dollars are being used, and we’re the stewards of that.”
Charlene Brumbaugh, a resident who lives on nearby Springcreek Drive, said it makes sense to have the township offices closer to where most people live.
“I think it’s a good idea,” she said. “Because over there on North Dixie Drive, a lot of people can’t get to it. Senior citizens have to drive over there on North Dixie Drive. It’s a busy drive.”
Several redevelopment concepts were envisioned by planners for an area encompassing 200 acres south of Shoup Mill Road between North Main Street and Riverside Drive.
Other alternatives included an advanced manufacturing and research center, an adventure recreation site like one in New Jersey where children and adults can operate heavy machinery such as backhoes and another proposal centered on agricultural research and small-batch processing.
But the concept most popular with residents who graded the alternatives at an April meeting focused on creating a new town square and relocating the Harrison Twp. Government Center to the site.
A township hall is “not the only narrative,” Nickol said. “In the grand scheme of things it’s a small piece of the site.”
The new plan also includes a community center providing another anchor and extends the footprint of the region’s park system, adding connectivity to the Stillwater River and bringing access to the recreation trails right to the back door of the government center.
Buildings sharing retail, office and residential space are also envisioned for the site, Nickol said.
“For the first time in Forest Park history, a lot of people would live on site,” he said. “We are proposing a mix of uses ranging from small apartments and cottages all the way up to senior housing on site.”
During the early 20th century, Frankie’s Forest Park was an amusement park that at times contained a zoo, dance hall, racetrack and roller coaster. The amusement park closed in 1958. Later, Forest Park Plaza, Dayton’s earliest open-air retail center, opened on the site anchored by a JCPenney. In 2013, the shopping mall was razed and a couple years later, a shuttered Ford dealership followed.
While there might be a town center and 400 residential units on paper, the build-out could take a decade, so officials also announced some activation activities at the site that aren’t expensive or complicated and can happen soon.
Planners are proposing to close parts of Riverside Drive occasionally to automobile traffic for people to walk, run or bike to downtown, allowing people to mentally remap the area and its proximity to downtown. The township is also preparing for an annual event where families can build and decorate miniature hot air balloons to release into the night sky at the site. An old post office on the edge of the site might also get a facelift and turned quickly into a community event space, Nickol said.
MKSK Studios, consultants out of Covington, Ky., developed the plan for County Corp, working in partnership with Harrison Twp. and Montgomery County.
Joseph Shafran, chairman and CEO of Paran Management Company, the Cleveland-based owner of the land, said the size of the site will require many different partners and a multitude of financial tools to reach the overall vision.
“It’s going to be a very complex mosaic,” he said. “I don’t think there’s an easy piece in this.”
Shafran’s company purchased the property in the early 1980s from the trust of a firm that declared bankruptcy, he said.
Published: Monday, July 23, 2018 @ 3:05 AM
TODAY: Lots of clouds around this morning with a stray shower possible and temperatures rising out of the 60s. Some isolated areas of fog are also possible.
“The Miami Valley is still under the influence of a low pressure system to our south, so a few hit or miss showers are likely today, mainly in the afternoon”, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs.
It will be a cooler than normal afternoon in the upper 70s, but still quite muggy. Chance for showers diminish tonight, but clouds linger. Staying mild and muggy with lows in the middle 60s and the possibility of a few areas of patchy fog redeveloping.
TOMORROW: Tuesday will be very similar to Monday with mostly cloudy skies and the slight chance for a few passing showers, mainly in the afternoon. Highs for the day around 80 degrees and muggy.
WEDNESDAY: Partly cloudy skies with the slight chance of a passing shower again, especially east. A few rumbles of thunder are also a possibility with any shower. Highs for the day reach into the lower 80s and still muggy.
THURSDAY: Sun and some clouds for the day, a bit warmer and muggy with highs in the middle 80s. An approaching cold front may bring a few showers or storms later in the day.
FRIDAY: Partly sunny and warm with lowering humidity. Highs peak around 80 degrees.
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 5:16 AM
Updated: Monday, July 23, 2018 @ 2:37 AM
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Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 11:03 PM
MIDDLETOWN — Middletown police are warning residents about a group of teens pulling people over impersonating police officers.
Police made the public warning on its Facebook page on Sunday evening.
Police said four white teens are driving around Middletown in a blue or gray convertible that has a light on the dashboard as well as a loud speaker and air horn.
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 8:51 PM
DAYTON — The Ronald McDonald House now has a new family room after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday afternoon.
The new and spacious family room opened up inside the Dayton Children’s Hospital, according to a release.
The room is in the west wing of the hospital and has computers, napping pods, a kitchen, laundry, and shower facilities. It’s also furnished with a La-Z-Boy, along with staffing and resources provided by RMHC Dayton.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Dayton and Dayton Children’s Hospital held the opening for the new 2,500 square foot family room on the fourth floor, which was moved from the second flour.
In partnership with Dayton Children’s Hospital, this new Ronald McDonald Family Room was designed with the specific needs of families with impatient children in mind. These spaces help parents to stay close to their sick children.