Posted February 20, 2020
After a tough year for the city, the mayor of Dayton is eager to see the community bounce back.
Mayor Nan Whaley presented her State of the City Address Feb. 19, at the Dayton Metro Library. In her address, she recapped the city's year and what's in store for 2020.
Dayton was hit with one crisis after another last year. The city faced tornadoes sweeping through the region during Memorial Day weekend and a mass shooting in the Oregon District. The Ku Klux Klan also made a stop in Dayton, along with the Dayton Police Department losing one of its members, Detective Jorge Del Rio, to a fatal shooting. The city also encountered other acts of gun violence and disparity.
"Last year was the most challenging year as your mayor," Whaley said. "There were tragic moments, but also moments of incredible beauty."
Through the tragedies, the people of Dayton stood together. Local residents banded together to offer resources for those affected by the tornadoes, along with the Dayton Fire Department paying 5,600 visits to those impacted. Oregon District businesses such as Heart Mercantile used its social media platform to spread awareness of resources following the Oregon District shooting. Tens of thousands of people gathered in the Oregon District for Gem City Shine, a community-focused music festival led by Dave Chappelle.
"We have a lot of healing to do," Whaley said. "Let's focus on how to heal together."
Whaley spoke about the city's new Dayton Stronger initiative, set to roll out in the coming weeks. Dayton Stronger, daytonstronger.org, is a single platform website highlighting resources available for support following these tragedies. She also highlighted other city efforts boosting opportunities in Dayton, such as the Preschool Promise initiative and Learn to Earn Dayton's educational programming.
New projects including the Dayton Arcade and the groundbreaking of Gem City Market stand as highlights from Whaley's point of view. The city also increased its efforts of combating the opioid epidemic, seeing a decrease in opioid deaths compared to years prior. Another key focus for the mayor was the city's eviction task force, aiming to reduce the number of vacant properties locally.
Whaley also called for increased gun control efforts both locally and statewide. She said she's spreading Dayton's story by collaborating with Governor Mike DeWine and other state legislatures to bring change to the city.
Among the new initiatives set for this year, Whaley is optimistic Dayton will come back even stronger moving forward.
"Dayton is a resilient city and we can do anything when we all come together," she said.