KETTERING — Plans to add a new 19-acre neighborhood park near Kettering Business Park include a zip line and a bike path feeding into the regional trail system.
Gentile Park’s path would provide a link to the Dayton-Kettering Connector at Wiltshire Boulevard, a newly installed piece of a pedestrian trail that extends to the University of Dayton’s campus, records show.
» Who was Don Gentile? Namesake of a planned Kettering park was the legendary ‘Ace of Aces’ in World War II
The park, which has been discussed for a number of years, is proposed for 915 Peach Orchard Road. The site is vacant city-owned land that would become Kettering’s 22nd park and add to its more than 350 acres designated for recreation, according to city records.
“Yes, there have been many delays with the progress of constructing Gentile Park over the years,” Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Director Mary Beth O’Dell said in an email. “Nevertheless, we are excited to move forward with the final design and construction of the park. The new park design is focused on activating the green space to provide an incredible outdoor experience for all ages.”
The city has committed $1.5 million to the project this year, with plans to start construction in the fall, Kettering officials have said.
“It would not have active sports fields (to make it) a programmed park,” City Planner David Roller said. “So, we do not anticipate that it would be programmed for city-wide use and would not be a large generator of vehicular traffic.”
Aside from the zip line and trails, the park would include benches and playground equipment spread along the paths, Roller said.
The park’s half-mile pedestrian connection would extend along a former railroad right-of-way and link to Wiltshire, records show.
While no plans have been approved, a conditional use was passed by Kettering’s Planning Commission Monday night. The vote allows a park to be built on the 21.9-acre site, which is zoned for business park and residential, Roller said.
The land is surrounded by housing on three sides and the business park on the north, records show. The plan calls for “no active outdoor recreation areas that are lit,” Roller added.
Setback requirements for playground equipment have been met, as have several other criteria, he said.
The city acquired the land in 2005 from the federal government, records show, after the 1996 relocation of the Defense Electronics Supply Center to Columbus.
The Kettering Business Park opened a year after the DESC move, Dayton Daily News records show. Prior to becoming DESC, the military installation was named in honor of World War II flying ace Maj. Dominic Gentile.
Showcasing the history of the site and promoting the significance of Gentile, a Piqua native, are among the guiding principles for park plans, according to Kettering documents.
Converting it to a park will mean “volunteer” trees will be removed so the property’s mounds of soil can be capped for the safety of all visitors, according to the city
Two trees will be planted for each one removed, providing the site with about 600 trees, officials said.