Kettering eyes $2M renewal of business park site for Air Force partnership

An aerial view of the Miami Valley Research Park. FILE
An aerial view of the Miami Valley Research Park. FILE

PDAC ideas focus on WPAFB gate park, ‘Flight Line’ recreational trail and more

The city of Kettering wants to steer the Miami Valley Research Park toward greater collaboration with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the state’s biggest single-site employer.

The city’s proposed $2 million project would involve new construction or renovation of an existing building at the business park, orienting the site for work with universities, research organizations and defense contractors, Kettering city government said in a proposal to the Dayton Development Coalition’s Priority Development & Advocacy Committee — also known as PDAC.

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Kettering puts the total cost of the project at $2 million while seeking $850,000. The idea is to take advantage of “new Department of Defense digital and technology directions in engineering and weapons systems acquisition management,” the city said in its PDAC proposal.

The city’s application does not given an address for the building. Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said the project is speculative for possible new construction on shovel-ready land or renovation of an existing building or buildings.

About a month ago, PDAC organizers asked for community or government-based proposals that will benefit the region.

It’s the start of an annual process that allows the coalition and its allies to approach state and federal government with a unified voice in funding requests and lobbying efforts. Ideas will go to the Dayton area’s congressional delegation early next year.

The PDAC process does not award money itself. It prioritizes requests for funds from other sources

“The Air Force has announced a major push to promote digital engineering and increase digital processes in acquisition of weapons systems," the city of Kettering’s proposal says. "This facility will help the community support Wright-Patterson’s efforts to support those efforts.”

The proposal is titled “Defense Technology Connector Facility.”

Charles Giles, vice president of the park’s board of trustees, voices support for the idea in a letter to PDAC.

“The Miami Valley Research Park (MVRP) has a variety of available building sites.” Giles letter says. “These sites are complete with all utilities and roadway improvements in place. In addition to the shovel ready sites the MVRP has existing vacant buildings that would be a perfect location for defense contractors, technology companies and other related organizations.”

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The park is home to about 4,400 employees at companies such as Reynolds & Reynolds, Kodak, Community Tissue Services and Resonetics.

Fairborn has its own base-related proposal. The city wants to acquire and demolish a trio of what it describes as blighted buildings along Ohio 444 across from Wright-Patterson Gate 12A, also known as the Air Force Materiel Command gate.

“The funds will be used to purchase the remaining property, demolish all structures and remove all pavement, and install a new park that will improve the appearance of the main entrance to Air Force Materiel Command,” Fairborn said in its PDAC application.

The cost of the project is put at $550,000. The city seeks $400,000 and says it has already acquired two of the needed buildings, at 3746 and 3800 Ohio 444.

Another PDAC proposal: The cities of Dayton and Kettering want to acquire some 6.5 miles of an out-of-service Norfolk Southern rail corridor in a project with a total cost put at $6.5 million.

The idea is to create a recreational trail dubbed “the Flight Line.”

“The Flight Line is a strong candidate for the Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant that offers $500,000 (with a required match of $125,000) that may be used for acquisition,” the cities say in their joint PDAC application.

And another PDAC proposal from the Aviation Heritage Foundation Inc., also known as the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, wants Congress to reauthorize the National Aviation Heritage Area.

The area is the congressional designation of eight Ohio counties promoting the Dayton area’s aviation heritage. In December 2019, Congress reauthorized it for three years, until Sept, 30, 2022.

A reauthorization allows NAHA to receive federal funds and carry out its guiding legislation.

To see this year’s PDAC proposals, go to https://daytonregion.com/ddc/pdac/projects. Comments on the ideas may be made via the web link or sent to Amy Schrimpf at aschrimpf@daytonregion.com.

Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Nov. 27.

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