At today’s groundbreaking for the Water Street District apartments, a $30 million investment in new housing downtown, Alan Pippenger of Requarth Co. gave the following remarks which I think really sum up the transformation that’s in progress in our Webster Station neighborhood and downtown as a whole.
Comments of Alan Pippenger, President of Requarth Co. at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Water Street District Apartments, March 19, 2015.
Thank you and good morning and welcome to our Webster Station neighborhood.
First, a point of clarification: It is the Requarth Co. – not me – that is one of the oldest residents of Webster Station. And it was my Great Grandfather – not me – who sold spruce to the Wright Brothers!
The Requarth Co. is a constant in a neighborhood that has witnessed a great deal of change over the past century. Our business moved here in 1895 from over in the Oregon District because Webster Station was the major transportation hub in Dayton, with service from both the Miami Erie Canal and a growing number of railroads.
That Webster Station is a transportation hub remains a constant. What has changed is that rather than canal boats and rail cars, we are served by trucks traveling interstate highways and planes arriving at an international airport just minutes to our north. We are also connected to one of the best bike trail systems in the country, a change that will greatly benefit residents of these apartments.
We’ve seen many businesses come and go in a hundred years, but a strong, innovative, and diverse business community is another constant. What has changed is clear: we’ve lost much of our manufacturing, the Harrison Radiators, the Delcos. What has emerged is a lively mix of retail, entertainment, business services, and a host of entrepreneurial start-ups incubating just down the street at Tech Town.
Today, within an easy walk, you can lease space for a high tech start-up, visit a farmer’s market, tour a brewery and taste a local craft beer, take a college class, attend a church service, borrow a book, catch a professional baseball game, spend a day at a spa, play in a fountain, wander aisles and aisles of surplus goods, print something on a 3-D printer, purchase communications or HVAC equipment, hire temporary staff, or buy insurance or tool supplies or church music or appliance parts, or even a 2×4. And when you’re done, you can relax in a new outdoor beer garden . . . with a local craft beer.
Yes, a strong, innovative, and diverse business community is a constant in Webster Station and it is one that is ready to welcome the new residents of Water Street to the neighborhood.
That we are a welcoming community is another constant – not just here in Webster Station – but in the Gem City itself. The Wrights moved here from Indiana, the Pattersons hailed from Pennsylvania, the Barneys from New York. They came to Dayton for the opportunities it offered just as today’s new residents arrive from Turkey, Rwanda, India, Mexico, and other countries around the world. Like the generations before them they are drawn to this place, where these rivers meet, where quality and innovation are a constant, where change – where breaking new ground – is a way of life.
Friends of Nan Whaley, Mark Owens, Treasurer, 443 E. 6th Street, Dayton, OH 45402