Kettering’s cost rising for new park that includes zip line, honors WWII flying ace



The cost to build a new Kettering park honoring a military pilot is increasing.

The city’s estimate to construct Gentile Park now stands at about $2.45 million, about 50% higher than previously budgeted, Kettering officials said.

The 19-acre neighborhood recreational site near Kettering Business Park — a former Air Force installation — would include a zip line and a bike path feeding into a route leading to the regional trail system, according to the city.

Credit: STAFF

Credit: STAFF

The new estimate for the cost of the park — named in honor of World War II flying ace Maj. Dominic Gentile — reflects increases due, in part, to landscaping changes and floodplain guidelines, Kettering Assistant City Manager Steve Bergstresser said.

“Just going to the final design process led us to an actual, more accurate estimate of the cost,” he said.

The budgeted amount “was more or less a placeholder for a number of years. But we knew that going into it – once you get to that final design phase, costs can change and that’s certainly what happened here,” Bergstresser said.

The project has yet to be bid, but officials “feel it’s a fairly accurate representation of the bid market right now,” he added.

Bids are expected to be submitted and awarded in April with construction targeted for the spring. With no surprises in the bidding process, completion of the park is projected for spring 2024, Bergstresser said.

Funding for the project include a $141,000 Ohio Nature Works grant, City Manager Matt Greeson said.

Kettering officials did not have specific data on when the last new city park was built. But in the 1990s, Delco Park was acquired from General Motors and it underwent significant renovations, they said.

Now the city’s largest park, Delco hosts Kettering’s Independence Day celebration. It includes ball diamonds, a bike path, a BMX track, sand volleyball courts, soccer fields and a fishing pier/pond.

It is also home to the Kettering Veteran’s Memorial.

Gentile Park is planned for 915 Peach Orchard Road. Its bike path would provide a link to the Dayton-Kettering Connector at Wiltshire Boulevard, tying into a newly installed pedestrian trail that extends to the University of Dayton’s campus, records show.

Aside from the zip line and bike connector, Kettering documents state it would also include:

•Playground areas for ages 2-5 and 5-12;

•One-half mile walking path;

•Open lawn green space;

•Historical recognition of Gentile. He was a Piqua native and a World War II pilot who surpassed Eddie Rickenbacker’s WW I record of 26 downed aircraft.

The park would become Kettering’s 22nd park and add to its more than 350 acres designated for recreation, according to city records.

The Kettering Business Park opened a year after the Defense Electronics Supply Center moved to Columbus, Dayton Daily News records show. Prior to becoming DESC, it was called Gentile Air Station.

About the Author