Residents near $25M Riverside project voice concerns to developer

Former golf driving range near Carroll High School could see mix of retail, office, restaurant and apartment uses

RIVERSIDE — The potential impact of an estimated $25 million commercial development has some neighboring Riverside residents concerned.

This week, many residents near the former home of Smiley’s Golf and Baseball Center on Linden Avenue — which is targeted for a 12-acre retail, office, restaurant and apartment project — told those associated with the development that they fear how it would affect the neighborhood.

The property is mostly the open grass of the former golf driving range, surrounded on three sides by homes and a church. It has been unused since 2015, when the land was auctioned after nearly 70 years in business.

Developers invited residents in the neighborhood to the meeting Tuesday night near 4740 Linden Ave., a site that Genesis Real Estate USA Inc. is under contract to buy, according to a company official.

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Several residents said new development may negatively impact property values, cause more flooding and increase traffic, among other concerns.

Drawing more people to the area is “a huge concern,” said Rebecca Howard, one of more than 50 people at the meeting. She said development “would push more flooding on my land” or nearby properties.

Information from Genesis indicates the potential for mixed retail, restaurant, office and apartment uses at the site. Any residential buildings would be near the rear of the land — closer to neighbors’ property — and be up to four stories, according to the developer.

The units would “provide a lifestyle choice for all age groups” at a “location convenient” to U.S. 35, downtown Dayton, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Beavercreek, Genesis information shows. The land is just east of Carroll High School in Riverside, within a few hundred yards of the Dayton, Kettering and Beavercreek city limits.

No development plans have been submitted to the city of Riverside, but those associated with the project said they wanted to get feedback from residents before any documents are filed.

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“They don’t want to insert anything new (on the land) that’s going to cause more problems than you already have,” said Chris Widener of WDC Group, a Springfield firm.

Genesis and its project associates said they are interested in seeking a zoning change for the land, which is currently designated for business.

A planned unit development zoning would allow more review and oversight by the city, as well as more public input once plans are submitted, project officials said.

A “rough timeline” includes a rezoning request in the first quarter of 2023, a six-month design process and construction lasting about two years, one official said last week.

There are no updates to the scope, zoning and estimated timeline for the project, a Genesis spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The proposal aims at transforming the land as part of larger plans to invest $100 million in the Dayton area in the next five years, including similar land uses in downtown Dayton, a project manager has said.

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The Linden Avenue project would create about 50 to 100 jobs upon completion, said Nikki Wildman, associate principal and project manager at DesignGroup, the architect.

Any residential units “would include a mix of unit types to appeal to (the) Riverside and Beavercreek communities,” Wildman said.

Genesis is looking at Riverside and Dayton “after extensive research and consulting with people from both areas,” and the developer “strongly believes in the development potential,” Wildman said.

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