The City of Dayton held an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday to mark the completion of the two gateways for The Crossroads Plaza, a downtown gathering space located along a now-closed one-block section of N. Church Street between Cook Street and State Highway 146 adjacent to Dayton City Hall.
The gateway markers are the latest addition to The Crossroads Plaza, where Food Truck Fridays are held once a month and Dayton’s Treat Street is held each Halloween.
The plaza was the inspiration of the Dayton Enhancement Committee, formed by past mayor, Jeff Lambright. The committee, made up of 11 longtime Dayton residents, formed in January 2016 for the purpose of beautifying the city. By March 2016, the plaza project was in the works, explained current Mayor Caroline Wadzeck.
“This was a horrible-looking lot with weeds up to your knees. We decided that it was a bad thing to have next to city hall. We thought that if we were going to enhance the city, why not start with a city property?” she said.
Before long, the lot was cleared and the plaza project was underway.
“We had drawings made and as we proceeded, we added little things to it. We didn’t have the entire vision all at once,” the mayor said.
Last year, the City encountered a little backlash with the closing of Church Street but Wadzeck believes that people will grow to love the plaza for what it has to offer.
“I think it’s just going to grow and we will have more functions here through the years. I think people who might not have seen the value of the project will come to see it as a wonderful gathering place,” she said. “Anytime you change something, you will face opposition. Once our residents see everything that is going to take place here, they will love it.”
The City issued a special thanks to Freddy and Vangie Villareal of Dayton Concrete, Dick Plank of Cleveland Supply, Clayton Bracey with Precision Lawn, Shane Parker and Vanessa Burt for some of the recent additions to the plaza, including concrete planters that have attached wooden benches. The planters are filled with trees that will one day provide shade and lovely flowers that brighten up the overall atmosphere of the area.