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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
KETTERING - Kettering officials say they hope to begin construction later this year on Gentile Park - marking the city's 21st park and the first new park since 1988.
Gentile Park (pronounced "Jen-Tilly") is being planned on a 12- to 14-acre parcel on the former Defense Electronics Supply Center site, which occupied 165 acres west of Wilmington Pike, north of East Dorothy Lane and south of Patterson Road before closing in 1996.
The project is estimated to cost $1 million to $1.5 million and will be paid for out of the city's capital improvement fund as well as any grants the city is able to secure, said Mary Beth Thaman, director of the Kettering parks, recreation and cultural arts department.
"We're confident we will be able to design a park that really uses the natural features of this land," Thaman said. "It will be more of a nontraditional park."
Gentile Park will focus on three components - conservation, fitness and history - in an effort to serve residents in that area, the Kettering Business Park, the new senior apartment complex and nearby elementary schools.
Amenities will include outdoor fitness equipment, walking path, play trails, a playground and a shelter.
Construction could start as early as this fall, with the goal of completing the park sometime in 2015, said Mike Fleener, the city's parks superintendent.
"It will be a nice addition to that part of town," Fleener said. "It takes a vacant piece of land and turns it into something nicer for the community as a whole."
Three public meetings already have been held, and another one likely will be scheduled in April to gather more feedback from residents, Thaman said.
The city maintains 450 acres of park land. The last new park constructed was Lincoln Park Civic Commons, which was completed in 1988.
During the last several years, the city has spent approximately $4.58 million to renovate its parks. The majority ($3.36 million) was received through a bond issue that was on the November 2008 ballot. The remainder was funded by the city's capital improvement fund.
The city's parks, recreation and cultural arts department has budgeted nearly $3 million this year to maintain its parks and grounds, medians and city facilities.
One of the historical monuments at Gentile Park is expected to honor Maj. Dominic Gentile, a Miami Valley native and World War II fighter pilot ace for whom the park will be named. While it was a U.S. military facility, DESC also was known as Gentile Station.
To view the plans for Gentile Park, visit www.ketteringoh.org.
Contact this reporter at 937-225-2281 or firstname.lastname@example.org