A Highly Contentious Election in Dayton Creates Sign War in the Community

A highly contentious election in Dayton has the town split over who should be elected to the town council. One side claims to stand for economic growth while the other doesn't want the small town feel to change.

Posted: Oct 8, 2019 6:36 PM

DAYTON, Ind. (WLFI)- Elections are only a month away and if you drive through Greater Lafayette there aren't many signs supporting candidates.
However, in the small town of Dayton, the opposite can be said. Everywhere you turn there are signs supporting one group of candidates or the other and it all has to do with a planned housing development.

"One of the people running against us his family owns a lot of property,” said Tyrone Taylor the Dayton Town Board President. “They have placed a lot of signs around town. In retaliation, the other side has tried to match them, so it’s kind of turned in to a sign war.”

Those signs are supporting two different sides. One side is dressed in black shirts and the others are dressed in white shirts. Each support different opinions on potential growth in the town.

"There are two sides of this,” says Ron Koehler a Dayton Town Council Member. “There are a lot of the people of Dayton I think 70-80% that don't want the housing addition. I’d say the other 20-30% do want the housing addition."

Ron Koehler is part of the group of candidates who identify themselves as the white shirt gang. Tyrone Taylor is part of the group which identifies as the black shirt gang which he says supports the growth of the Dayton community.

“The so-called black shirt gang is really about economic development and growth of the town,” said Taylor. “The white shirt gang really doesn’t understand it so much and they are really trying to stop any kind of new development business to TIF districts to housing additions.”
The other side says they just want better planning to take place surrounding any potential housing developments.

“The people who oppose this want to build housing out here but they just don’t want so much crammed on top of one another,” added Koehler. “What we are getting is houses that are 12 feet apart and it’s going to look like the south end of Lafayette and we don’t need that and we like to do some planning.”

But Taylor says they need to grow the community to keep it alive.

"If a pipe bust, does the town want to be like hey your water bill is going to go up even more now because we have to pay this,” stated Taylor. “If you have the distributed funds it makes things easier. Really think do you want your town to strive in the future or do you want it to die."

However, Koehler says Dayton community members don't want their small-town feel to change.

“Most of us came from Lafayette and we came out here because we wanted small community living,’ stated Koehler. “We don’t want to be a suburb of Lafayette we don’t want to look like Lafayette and we don’t want to be high density packed on top of one another like Lafayette.”
Elections will take place on November 5th.

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