DAYTON, Ohio (August 2017) – Our region has been known for decades as both a manufacturing and military community. We are thankful that we have had these two powerful economic drivers to support our people, our business community, and our local governmental entities.
I, for one, am grateful that these two sectors, plus some other key ones, have helped sustain our region when other communities have not fared as well. Years ago, with the loss of GM and others, had it not been for our state’s #1 largest, single-site employer, we might have felt economic hardships too great to even imagine.
Over the years we have had a number of government and private-sector leaders and organizations like the Dayton Development Coalition, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Ohio Department of Transportation, our chamber and others who have been outstanding advocates of our base and its needs. Local leaders are once again talking about what we can strategically do to help Wright-Patt and strengthen our base and the military’s investment here in the Dayton region.
Some leaders suggest there will once again be discussions about the size and cost of our military and how that might affect WPAFB. Our base … that’s right … our base is strategic to our nation’s defense and strategic to our region’s economic well-being as well. But how can we collectively help when we all should realize that our base should not have to go it alone? We are proud of our air base and should always stand ready to support its needs.
Our community continues to prioritize key projects like highway infrastructure that strategically matches our many other priorities. We’ve seen that roadway projects adjacent to our base can have a very dramatic outcome on its continued success both inside and outside the fence. We must use our collective resources to make sure Wright-Patt is healthy and prosperous. That includes advocating improvements along State Route 35, I-675 and other public roadways surrounding and impacting Wright-Patt.
I’m pleased to say these types of conversations are happening in cities like Beavercreek, Fairborn and Riverside, and those leaders are fundamentally together in the understanding that working as one, we can help grow and strengthen base missions and its personnel. We all stand ready to support our base, our men and women in both uniform and civilian attire, and their families.
We are a proud military town and are extremely thankful for our mutual existence. We must work collectively as strong partners to make sure Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the strongest, healthiest and best-positioned military installation in all of America. That is a duty we must all share.
To download a PDF of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News, click here.
Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce