326 Park Drive – Betsy & Galen Wilson
For over 20 years, Galen has served on the Board and committees of our neighborhood council, Historic South Park Inc., promoting and encouraging preservation, starting with the Wilsons’ own beautiful home.
Betsy is known for her expertly researched and compiled House Histories, which are fascinating, and lead people to cherish their historic homes, knowing their specific history. Each year, she and Galen take neighbors on a history tour about past South Park residents who are buried in Woodland Cemetery. Betsy has generously donated her time to complete numerous house histories for Preservation Dayton’s annual nominations to Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Properties list and for PDI’s walking tours of Dayton’s National Register neighborhoods.
They have invested both emotional and financial resources. In 2001, they purchased a blighted home, rescuing it from criminal use, and rehabbing it. But most recently, with purchase and renovation of 326 Park Drive they have outdone themselves. They spent hundreds of thousands on this former group home that was cut up into heartbreaking “cells” for its residents — many who toured it beforehand said there was no way it could be brought back to its original glory. The Wilsons did it – so beautifully — out of passion, without deep pockets — and it is amazing. In addition, Betsy and Galen have been instrumental in helping to create the summer Shakespeare in South Park festival. Galen has served as producer, actor, and director. Betsy has devoted her creative talent to costume design and creation for the performances.
Key in returning 326 Park Drive to splendor were the services of architect Matt Sauer and craftsman contractor Martin Bertolo and his crew. The house is now owned and enjoyed by Joyce and Heath MacAlpine.
322 Park Drive – Diana and Mike Regnier
Mike and Diana Regnier have visited Park Drive many times over the last 12 years when they came to see their daughter and grandchildren. They often discussed what beautiful homes 322 and 326 Park must have been and how it was a shame to see them in their current state. In 2017 they sold their home and property in Tennessee with the intention of moving to Ohio to be closer to family, and downsizing to a much smaller property that wouldn’t require so much time and maintenance.
As luck would have it, the Park drive properties were empty and in need of someone to take on the monumental task of purchasing, separating, and restoring them to single family homes. They took the leap and were so grateful to find that Betsy and Galen Wilson were willing to take on one of the properties as their own project. Two years and more challenges than they care to remember, they feel incredibly lucky to live in the great neighborhood of South Park. If you are walking along Park Drive on a summer afternoon, you are likely to find Mike and Diana enjoying the open air on the restored porch that stretches across the house’s entire front. Say hello and they will probably invite you to sit down to visit.