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Dayton Flood Memorial Park Memorial Thread.

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The Dayton Flood Memorial in Old North Dayton is no more.

 

I found out about it's destruction at the Esrati blog.  One of the posters there, "Valerie", states that:

 

"In October 2006, the city gave Children’s Medical Center a $25,000 grant to relocate the park. To where, I don’t know. CMC’s public relations department should have the answer."

 

I will send an e-mail to the hospital, but am curious if any of the Dayton posters know about this, or have additional info they can share?  Why is Childrens involved, and what will replace the park?  And where will it be relocated?

 

The design was by public artist/landscape architect Andrew Leisceter, who apparently has quite a bit of public recognition for his work: resume, including an ASLA Honor Award for a project he did in California.  Cincinnatians will be familiar with his work at Sawyer Point.

 

The park worked on themes of geography and memory, into a landscape design.

 

Entrance was between these cyclonic columns, through an iron gate fashioned to reflect the weather patteron...isobars became feature of the gate design.

 

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Centerpiece was this large open plaza, with raised areas for the river valleys and retention basins surrounding the Dayton area.  I've seen this type of design feature concept.  Swedish architect Gunnar Asplundh used it in a town square design for Goteborg, Swededen, and Robert Venturi did the same for his Trinity Square project in Boston.

 

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Berms ring the park, with this sort of geological section done up in brick.  House wall as a stage/central feature in the rear, presding over the "map"

 

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The house wall has the image of the dog in the actic, a mnemomic device calling to mind locally well-known images of the flood, of dogs on roofs and in attic windows.

 

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A view from the park to Childrens Hospital, which is somehow a player in this parks' fate

 

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The park today:

 

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Gah...that's a real shame...any loss of a park is awful, but one that features a weather map on its gate?  Horrible loss...definitely, let us know if you find where it's gone to!

 

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Good News!  The park is being relocated, and enhanced with some informational things about the flood!

 

I received this from the Childrens Medical Center public affairs person:

 

As you know in 1987, The Children's Medical Center of Dayton and the City of Dayton entered into a land lease agreement for the Flood Memorial Park. Since that time, Dayton Children's has cared for the property and we have experienced significant issues with the usage and ongoing maintenance of the park.  it was a problem that affected the neighborhood, our employees and the thousands of patients and families that come to our facility. Yet all of us at Dayton Children's wanted to find a solution that continued to honor the history of the neighborhood and one that added value to the community.

 

As a result of discussions with the City of Dayton and an open neighborhood meeting held in May 2005, a task force with representatives from the City of Dayton, the Old North Dayton Neighborhood Associaton and the Old North Dayton Business Association was created to develop a plan. The team developed a proposal to best utilize any art pieces, honor the original park donors and find a way to honor the history of the neighborhood. The team developed a proprosal to join the key elements of the existing Flood Memorial with several educational elements in a new home just across the Keowee Street bridge next to the river. The plan was presented to the City of Dayton, the Northeast Priority Board, The Old North Dayton Development Corporation, the Old North Dayton Business Association and the Miami Conservancy District for feedback. The plan was approved and the new park will include the iron gates, the steeple mosaic and a monument listing the original donors and new educational panels located along the river detailing the history of the flood. The new revitalized space will be dedicated in honor of Joseph R. Kanak, a lifetime resident and dedicated advocate for Old North Dayton.

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Dale Huffman reports on the "relocated" Flood Memorial Park

 

It was 94 years ago in Dayton.

 

The rain started on Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913 and as it continued all week long as the rivers overflowed and a wall of dark, dirty flood waters swept through the city taking down homes, barns, buildings and bridges.

 

President Woodrow Wilson declared the Dayton flood a national calamity. More than 300 people died in the Miami Valley.

 

The Dayton Daily News set up a makeshift newsroom and print shop in NCR buildings and emergency extra editions of the newspaper were provided free to all residents, delivered by boat.

 

Not many of the individuals who lived in 1913 and survived the tragedy are still with us.

 

But many family members of those who were caught up in the great flood, and others with a sense of history, have made a noble effort to commemorate that time in our city's history.

 

Many made contributions, and in 1992 a small Flood Memorial Park was dedicated on land lent to the city of Dayton by Children's Medical Center on Valley Street.

 

"Since that time, there were issues about maintenance and usage of the park," said Vicki Giambrone, vice president of marketing and development for the hospital. "It became a problem that affected the neighborhood, our employees and our patients.

 

"All of us at Dayton Children's wanted to find a satisfactory solution that would honor the history of the flood, and serve the neighborhood."

 

Hospital leaders worked with Dayton officials, members of the Miami Conservancy District, the Northeast Priority Board and the Old North Dayton Business Association, and the task force developed a plan that now is a reality.

 

A new Flood Memorial Park is nearly complete, and there are hopes to dedicate it sometime in May.

 

The new park has been built near the Great Miami River on Valley Street, near Keowee Street, at the gateway to Old North Dayton.

 

In addition to honoring the spirit of those who fought back from that great flood of 1913, the park also will honor Joseph R. Konak. Konak died from cancer four years ago at the age of 50, and is being remembered for his dedicated public service to the Old North Dayton Community.

 

"Joe was just incredible," said his wife, Sandra. "He was on every committee and was involved in any event that made our neighborhood or the city of Dayton a better place to live."

 

Just at the top of five steps, as you enter the new park, there is a pillar of granite which has words thanking Konak for "his service and love to country, community and family."

 

Across from that monument are two stones which carry the names of about 900 Dayton area residents who donated money when the original park was constructed.

 

A handcrafted iron flood gate, a piece of art that was a centerpiece of the original park has been moved to the new location.

 

On an iron fence at the edge of the park there are a few photos mounted, which document the horrible flood damage.

 

One story quoted Carl Yeager, who lived at 225 Hunter St.: "I remember my father moving everything to the second floor. The family watched the water come up. I vividly remember seeing a wall of water about four of five feet high coming down the street. We quickly went to the garret (mother, father, and six kids) and we had to be careful not to punch through the floor. Boats came and gave us beans. The Red Cross provided boots and mattresses."

 

It is a nice little park, and with the proposed redevelopment of the river area on both sides, it is in a high profile place where many will have a chance to visit it. And perhaps, as one sign suggests, folks will meditate a bit "remembering the day the water came."

 

This sounding more and more like they are just relocating bits and pieces of the park, not the entire park.  It will not be Andrew Leicster's Flood Memorial Park anymore, but some remnant of it.

 

The reasons given for the relocation sound like the ones in that response to my e-mail query.  Maintenance and use issues.

 

It looks like a park was built that was not really wanted; it was not maintained and was not used (or maybe it was used for bad things, like drug deals or shooting-up or stuff like that). 

 

So why did they build the park and why did they put it there?  Maybe it sounded like a good idea at the time.

 

In any case the neighborhood bought-in to the demolition, didn't oppose it.  So machts nichts, huh?  It's what everyone wants. Win-win and all that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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