The Paul Knoop Prairie, located on the corner of U.S. 40 and Frederick Pike, is in trouble. With almost no public input, the City of Dayton has re-zoned the area and plans to allow the Dayton International Airport to build a massive warehouse and distribution center there. They could not have chosen a worse site to try to do this.
One of the reasons why that prairie was planted there is because that field is the starting point for Wiles Creek. The tall grasses that now grow there help clean, filter, and tame the water that flows into Wiles Creek. If that prairie is paved over, what we will end up with is a raging river of mud that will flow through Aullwood Metropark every time it rains; not to mention flooding issues in Englewood Metropark. We’ve already had enough problems with flooding as it is.
Gee, instead of destroying this prairie, perhaps we should be planting more of them! If you want to keep the mud out of the water, plant a tallgrass prairie! The roots of these grasses run every bit as deep as tree roots and will hold the soil in place like nothing else. Also, the flowers that grow there support many songbirds and pollinators, which have been on the decline recently.
Well, I had a problem with this, so I went to two City of Dayton Commission Meetings to voice my opposition. At the first meeting I attended, a businessman stood up and said that he had an empty lot that he was willing to offer as an alternative site. After the meeting, I was the only person to approach him, shake his hand, and look at his phone to see where his site was. It was on the south edge of Old Springfield Road, just across from the Procter and Gamble building.
I walked out of City Hall feeling like I had just done the mayor’s job for her. She wasn’t even at that meeting, and since the media was filming it, it seems likely that she was trying to distance herself from what was going on. A big part of a politician’s job is to find a middle ground when two sides cannot agree on something, and when someone stood up and offered a compromise, he was ignored. Destroying the Paul Knoop Prairie when there is an empty lot down the road is a stupendously stupid idea – yet that seems to be what is in the works.
No one knows why Dayton and the airport are determined to develop this particular site – all we have are rumors and speculation. The rumor is that the City of Dayton needs to pay five million dollars to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, because, according to the Ohio EPA, the plant is not meeting the requirements that limit the amount of phosphorous it can discharge into the Great Miami River. I’ve heard that Dayton might be getting five million dollars for that piece of land, but the only thing we know for a fact is that when we ask, “Why this particular site?” we cannot get a straight answer.
When someone does not give you a straight answer to a question, there is an excellent chance you are being lied to. The city says the warehouse will provide over 2,200 jobs, but can we trust those numbers when they are coming from a city that is currently being investigated by the FBI? I don’t think so!
If you have a problem with this, I would suggest writing to the mayors of Vandalia and Englewood, encouraging them to put pressure on Dayton. Also, you should plan on attending the City of Dayton Commission Meetings on July 10 at 8:30 a.m. and July 17 at 6 p.m., getting there early to fill out the paperwork if you want to make a statement.