Plans to add a gas station to the Smithville Road Kroger store led to a spirited debate about the property Wednesday, with one Dayton City Commissioner saying he would vote against the plan because of Kroger’s past actions in the city.
In his opposition, Commissioner Dean Lovelace cited 2008 developments when Kroger closed its Gettysburg Avenue store and backed out of plans to build a new store at Wayne and Wyoming streets.
City residents have complained for years about the lack of major grocery store options in Dayton, compared to the surrounding suburbs.
The Smithville plan does not affect the grocery store. Kroger would spend about $1.3 million to build a gas station on the corner of the existing Pinewood Plaza parking lot, immediately adjacent to the Smithville-Tuttle intersection.
City Commission voted to move ahead with the plan, which would go to a vote next week, but Commissioner Joey Williams said the city should talk to Kroger in the interim about possible alterations.
Dan Kennedy of the Southeast Priority Board, said Kroger should shift its planned gas pumps slightly south so the city can eventually align Tuttle and Elberon avenues. City Commissioner Matt Joseph also asked Kroger representatives to consider traffic concerns, both in the parking lot and on adjacent streets.
Walt Murch, president of the Eastern Hills Community Council, spoke against the project, saying there are four other gas stations within a half-mile of the site, and arguing that the addition will make existing traffic problems even worse.
• Dayton police soon will be using more sport-utility vehicles as everyday cruisers, after City Commission approved the purchase of 18 such vehicles Wednesday from Statewide Ford Lincoln Mercury for $569,466.
Assistant police chief Robert Chabali said the city already has three of the Ford Explorers in use, as it adjusts its fleet upon the discontinuation of the Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser.
Chabali said the Explorer has a better back seat than the Dodge Charger that some other police departments are using. He said that was an important consideration after the 2011 incident in which Kylen English broke out of the back seat of a DPD cruiser and jumped to his death.
• The city bought from Dayton Public Schools the 3.7-acre parcel that formerly housed the Dayton Career Academy at 441 River Corridor Drive. The cost was $166,028.
Assistant City Manager Shelley Dickstein said the city will now control all of the river frontage between Webster Street and Patterson Boulevard (across from Deeds Point) for future development options.