Kettering property owners recognized for ‘neighborhood pride’

Ron D’Amico grew up in the Belmont area, and attended Chaminade High School. He always liked Kettering, though, because it brought back memories of ice cream.

“Right next to the Van Buren apartments there used to be a Moler’s Dairy, and if we were good we got to go there and get a treat,” said D’Amico.

So years later after his divorce, he decided to move from Miami Township to Kettering. He’s lived in the same Woodley Heights subdivision for over 30 years. He lived in the smallest model for 10 years, and then moved across the street to the largest model. Sutton Avenue is where you’ll find a “Kettering Neighborhood Pride Award” marker that recognizes him for the upkeep on his home and yard.

“It’s a unique neighborhood; most of the properties sell before the sign goes up. Moving across the street made the transition easy,” said D’Amico, 75.

Shortly after moving, he built a round rock garden full of hosta plants, live forevers, various shrubs and other perennials. It’s a memory garden for him in the spring when daffodils from his aunt and uncle, and tulips passed down from his mother come up. Then in the summer purple coneflowers and black-eyed susans take over. The corner lot makes it an ideal location to showcase a green thumb.

He also has a rather unique fig tree at the ranch-style home where he lives with two special-needs sons, Steve and Michael. The tree’s roots came from Duronia in central Italy, his dad and granddad’s country of origin.

“I have to trim it way back and cover it with burlap in the winter. In the summer, if I’m not cutting grass, I’m pulling weeds,” said D’Amico, whose parents sparked his interest in plants and gardening at a young age. “But it’s great when people stop and ask me about my plants and I know they appreciate my efforts.”

He retired from Mound in Miamisburg in 1992, and then did various consulting and teaching jobs after that. He’s an engineer, and has been tinkering with just the right light on the flagpole in the memory garden.

“I’m just one of those old geezers that don’t have anything to do except dig in the ground,” said D’Amico. “Hopefully it will keep me young.”

His property is just one of many recognized this summer in the City of Kettering Neighborhood Pride Program. A dozen residences and one business is chosen by a 30-member committee each month. Nearly 500 nominations have been received this summer. The two business properties chosen so far are Michael Halasz DDS at 229 E. Stroop Road, and William Coyne Dentistry at 1749 Delco Park Drive.

The committee considers many factors when judging the nominated properties: overall condition of building/fences/driveways, landscaping, curb appeal, and reflection of a positive example. Besides a Neighborhood Pride sign, owners are honored with a reception and receive a certificate from Mayor Patterson at a city council meeting in September. Their property image appears on the City of Kettering web site, and a video provided by Miami Valley Communications Council is also shown at the meeting.

“The Neighborhood Pride Program serves as an excellent way to recognize property owners for their efforts,” said Kettering volunteer administrator Mary Lou Randolph. “This program promotes attractive, healthy neighborhoods which improve property values, create a strong demand for housing in Kettering, and nurture a sense of community spirit.”

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