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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Jun 30

Police: Serving the community, so many ways

Posted to City Manager's Blog, By Shelley Dickstein by Alex Despain

Dayton Police Uniform Patch

We see the uniform, we see the badge, and we probably notice the gun they carry. But as with nearly any situation or group of people, there is much more than meets the eye.

Have you looked at the face of the man or woman who wakes up every day and makes a decision to protect perfect strangers?

If you look at a bodycam video of Dayton Officer Thadeu Holloway, you would see blood dripping onto the camera lens from a gunshot wound on the side of his head after he was shot by a fraud suspect (an incident occurring in September of 2021 that resulted in Officer Holloway being recognized nationally for exemplary policing work).

If you listen to the audio from that scene, you would hear Officer Holloway communicating with innocent bystanders, telling them to stay where they were because the suspect still had a gun--and then thanking them for being cooperative. You would hear Officer Holloway refuse to leave to get needed medical attention because the scene needed to be secured and the suspect needed first aid as well.

Sure, you might say, “That was all over the news and that’s only one officer and one incident.”

There are more…Do you know about Officer Hargraves, who plucked a distressed man from the edge a bridge, preventing him from jumping? How about Officers Ishmael and Wiesman, who were first to arrive on a fire scene and found a frantic mother whose baby was still inside the burning building? They went inside the home, guided by the mother, and rescued the child from a certain death.

Then there’s Officer Olinger, who saved a trapped car accident victim’s life by putting a tourniquet on his badly damaged arm, giving firefighters time to carefully remove the man from the twisted vehicle. You should also know about Officers Murphy and Urekar, who put a woman in their cruiser and rushed her to the hospital when her EpiPen wasn’t alleviating a serious allergic reaction. Oh, and they made sure her car got to the hospital, so it was there when she was released.

And though there was no media coverage, please be aware that Officer Webster apprehended a man moments after he tried to kidnap a woman at gunpoint, and that Officers Speelman and Betsinger helped a mom get her autistic teenager home safely and then retrieved her keys from a roof, where the teen had thrown them.

Then there are the detectives who spend years on investigating and bringing cases to trial, such as Detective Dulaney, who worked to bring justice to a number of scammers who took advantage of residents after the tornadoes of 2019. Or how about Detective Phillips who worked tirelessly to put a drug dealer responsible for four overdose deaths in prison?

In 2021, more than 40 Dayton officers (and some civilians) worked together as a team on a gun reduction initiative, succeeding in removing more than 100 guns from our streets and making 191 felony arrests. The efforts were targeted at those taking part in the most violent crimes.

These law enforcement professionals didn’t know any of the people they saved or helped or sought justice for. They don’t put on the badge for recognition, and they don’t carry a gun because they want to use it. I hope when you see the badge, you will also see the face of the man or woman who wakes up every morning and makes a decision to protect perfect strangers.

When recruiting new officers, the Dayton Police Department seeks people who value fairness and service above all else. We’re looking for recruits now; the application period ends July 31. The potential for job specialization and growth toward leadership positions is plentiful—recruits are sometimes surprised by the scope of skills and interests that police work can involve. I encourage anyone interested to look into this opportunity. Information is available at

May 17

Living in Dayton’s Historic Districts - An Intro to COAs

Posted to Gem City Notes by Alex Despain

An Image of buildings on West Third Street

West Third Street in the Wright-Dunbar historic district.

Buildings on Fifth Street, St. Anne's Hill

Fifth Street in the St. Anne’s Hill historic district

Did you know? In the City of Dayton, we currently have 13 locally designated historic districts as well as over 70 individually designated historic landmarks.

A map of historic districts in Dayton

All 13 locally regulated districts.

Historic districts and properties are usually recognized at both the federal and local levels. Federal recognition provides a number of benefits, including tax credits for restoration projects. Local recognition and regulations are mostly intended to ensure the ongoing protection and preservation of the historic integrity and character of these properties.

 Historic districts are designated as such primarily due to their age, but also due to the integrity of the structures in the area.  Original window patterns and style, the massing of a structure, and original materials and details all help to retain the integrity of a building.  If these elements are altered too much, the building can lose its historic status.  To help prevent this, exterior work must be reviewed to ensure that repairs and modifications are done in a way that maintains this integrity and is complementary to the historic aesthetic of the neighborhood.

A house on Park Drive before renovation

A House on Park Drive after renovation

326 Park Drive, before (top) and after a successful rehabilitation.

Getting a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) helps to make certain that work done on your property is going to be done right the first time.

 Depending on the historic designation category of your property, you may need a Major COA if you are looking to do any considerable modifications, such as new construction or changes to door or window layouts. Applications for Major COAs must be reviewed by our Landmarks Commission. But most routine work, such as replacing a roof or door or painting the exterior, requires little more than a phone call or an email to our Historic Preservation Officer.  So long as the proposed changes are all appropriate, a Minor COA can typically be processed and sent out in the mail to you the same day.

An example minor COA placard

An example major COA placard

Minor and Major Certificates of Appropriateness 

Since Major and Minor COAs are issued based on the historic designation category of your property, it is important to understand the differences between the categories. In Dayton, we have three historic designation categories:

  • HD-1 is intended to protect the overall form (style), massing (size), and fenestration (windows) of structures, but it allows for some leeway for painting and minor replacements without oversight from the Landmarks Commission. In many historic districts, commercial areas are designated HD-1 instead of HD-2 to give business owners more freedom to make updates to their structures. For structures designated as HD-1, property owners must acquire Major COAs for any major modifications to the structure but are not required to obtain Minor COAs for routine work.   
  • HD-2 is the most restrictive designation and is generally applied to all residential areas in historic districts and to some significant individual structures. HD-2 requires a COA for any exterior work.  For structures designated HD-2, property owners need to get a Major COA for any major modification, as mentioned above, but also need to get Minor COAs for all other exterior projects.
  • HD-3 is intended to protect individual structures from unwarranted demolition and is usually applied to significant commercial structures.  You will only need a Certificate of appropriateness for an HD-3 if you are seeking approval to tear down the building.

 To see which category your property falls under, visit

 Our historic districts and landmarks help tell the story of Dayton’s past. They give us a glimpse into the lives of those who came before us, and we hope to continue to showcase and preserve the craftsmanship and character of all the contributing structures in our districts. Once historic features have been altered, it can be difficult to return to the original condition, as materials are often lost.

Images of a house on LaBelle Street

La Belle Street in St. Anne’s Hill

So, if you live in one of Dayton’s historic districts, please be sure to reach out to Historic Preservation Officer Holly Hornbeak if you have any questions or are looking to do any work on the exterior of your home! Holly can be reached at or (937) 333-4271.

Apr 06

22. Great Miami Riverway

Posted to Podcast - Birthplace of Next by Alex Despain

In this Birthplace of Next Extra Edition, we're featuring Elizabeth Connor of the Great Miami Riverway. From Sidney to Hamilton, The Great Miami Riverway is 99 miles of river, paved trails and connected communities, only an hour away from Cincinnati and Columbus at the Crossroads of America. The City of dayton is a Proud Sponsor of the Great Miami Riverway, and Elizabeth will tell us more about the organization.