At Wednesday’s Dayton City Commission meeting, local residents expressed their growing frustration surrounding Garden Station. The downtown Dayton community garden was once a high-crime area that volunteers spent eight years renovating.
The city-owned land between 3rd and 4th streets along Wayne Avenue is now part of a development deal with Kentucky-based Weyland Ventures, formerly City Properties Group.
The garden’s supporters say city officials told them the land and its current use would be preserved as part of any development deal. City officials deny that.
Maggie Ottoson believes it just makes sense to keep the garden in tact.
“We’ve been told that the land cannot be used because it is so close to a railroad track, and because of how far it sits off the ground - it would need to be leveled and that would be disruptive of the wall that the railroad track sits on. So, there’s not a lot that can be done with the land,” she said.
Ottoson believes the garden is the best use for the site and says the developer has refused to meet with them to talk about Garden Station’s future.
Now, supporters are threatening to boycott any business that ends up on the site and Issue 9 in the November election.
Issue 9 is a City of Dayton municipal income tax increase request for capital expenses and pre-K education support.
In her final comments of the commission meeting, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley struck back against the proposed boycott.
“I’m disappointed that there would be threatening about an issue that is really about the investment of workforce and investment of children, around this issue but that is your prerogative," she stated. "We hope that people will recognize that you know, no one agrees with anyone all the time, and we hope you agree with us most of the time.”
Then the mayor abruptly put gavel to block and ended the meeting.
Several alternative sites have been offered by the city but supporters say they aren’t feasible in the long-term. After eight years at the current site they're not enthusiastic about starting from scratch at another location or working under another temporary lease from the city.
Garden Station has been issued an eviction notice effective October 31st.