Roots grow deep over decades, not days. I remind myself of that phrase anytime I speak with someone moving here from outside Ohio or just passing through the area. To those who are new to the region, Dayton can be indistinguishable from any midsized, rustbelt town. The problems that exist throughout many cities in the Midwest exist here and in some cases are amplified.

Many of these individuals share a myopic view of our city and ultimately miss the wonderful communities, businesses and people that make Dayton an original. Yes we have our problems, but as a born and bred Daytonian of 37 years I can honestly say that I have never been more excited for the future of this community. And perhaps that is an optimism that can only exist for those who have been here over the decades and seen Dayton at its lowest.

Mind you this excitement is not rooted in fantasy or wishful thinking. In 2017, we saw the completion of the new Main Library, a true gem of the downtown area, providing a fun and safe place for the future leaders of Dayton to learn and grow. Water Street District now paints the shores of the Great Miami River with the addition of new residential flats and the renovation of the Delco Lofts. And looking to 2018, the construction of the Levitt Pavilion at Dave Hall Plaza will be the anchor of the “The Nine,” a nine-block community that will include the Arcade, Dayton Convention Center, Crowne Plaza and much more. This just scratches the surface of the investment and development downtown.

Those who have been here for decades should be excited for the future and proud of where we have come. This Best of Dayton issue trumpets those organizations and businesses that are recognized as the cream of the crop locally, selected by you. But this issue should also be a reminder of the heart, the heritage and the history we all share—the roots so to speak—that might not be visible on the surface to outsiders.

Dayton has had to reinvent itself over the years but invention is nothing new to Daytonians. Just look to our past to see how often this town has overcome hardships and pioneered the future. Be proud! Be excited! And remember the best is yet to come!




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