For the Troy Daily News
INDIANAPOLIS — Nominated by the Dayton American Institute of Architects (AIA) and awarded by the Ohio AIA, David R. Cook of Tipp City was presented with the 2017 Public Service Award for significant contributions to his community.
The recognition was one of four honors presented by Ohio AIA at the Ohio Valley Regional Convention held in Indianapolis that is attended by over 300 architects from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
Cook, a registered architect for 50 years, noted in his acceptance remarks the critical need for “leadership and creative vision” in all communities leading to the vibrancy, resilience and quality of cities, states and the nation.
Cook began his civic involvement working with the Tipp Jaycees committee to change from a strong mayor to a Council-Manager form of government. The committee took the issue to City Council, asking them to place the question on the ballot, but when they refused, the Jaycee group circulated initiative petitions and placed the question before the voters. In 1968, a 71 percent of the voters approved the proposed Charter.
He went on to serve four years on the Tipp City Board of Appeals and following was elected to City Council. Two years later, he was selected by council to serve as Mayor, where he served as mayor for three terms or six years. In all, he served 12 years as a councilperson.
During Cook’s tenure on council, the Emergency Services Squad was established as well as the Old Tippecanoe City Restoration and Architectural District that includes the downtown area.
Of the many accomplishments of the city councils on which he served, Cook said he is most proud of the establishment of the Green Space Ordinance that declares that open and/or recreational space is as important to residential developments as water, sewer and electrical requirements.
The city’s regulations now require the dedication of land or money in lieu of, for all residential developments. This has resulted in several neighborhood parks and a 260-acre land donation bordering on the Great Miami River containing open space, picnic areas, 12 soccer fields, 12 baseball diamonds (eight lighted), a golf driving range, Frisbee golf course, two dog exercise areas, the connection/extension of a horse riding trail and a connection/extension of the Great Miami River multi-county recreational and bike trail.
By 1977, Tipp-Monroe Community Services, a non-profit organization funded by city and township governments and the board of education, had expanded so much that funding became a problem. Cook, representing city council, along with Jim Kyle from the Board of Education and Ron Thuma as a Monroe Township Trustees were selected to a special committee to study and seek additional and permanent funding. The result was the passage of a half-mil recreational levy that continues to help support TMCS today.
In 1986, Miami County adopted a Residential Building Code and Cook was appointed, by the County Commissioners, to the initial Board of Building Appeals and has served continuously for the past 30 years.
One year after serving on city council, Cook was appointed to the Tipp City Planning Commission on which he served for 14 years until the year 2000.
Cook became a registered architect in 1967, and has been in practice for the past 50 years. In the late 1960s, the 81-year-old Roundhouse in the City Park had fallen into disrepair and Cook provided details for repair and remodeling of this 1,700 sf public facility.
He has assisted two upstart community organizations by donating his architectural talents in order for them to obtain physical facilities. In 1972, the Tippecanoe Senior Citizens, without a permanent meeting place, were attempting to renovate an industrial building into a seniors’ center. Cook provided architectural services to help them establish their home. The facility served the Seniors for 43 years and in 2015, a tax levy was approved to build a new center for the growing organization.
In 1990, he furnished pro bono architectural services to the Tippecanoe Historical Society for conversion of a 1929 former post office into their museum that is still in active use today. And two years later, to the Tipp Foundation for the Helen Timmer Pavilion in Thomas Kyle Park.
In 2016, Cook was appointed by City Council to serve on a 5-member committee to review and make recommendations for changes to the City Charter. Serving as Vice-Chairman, the Committee placed four (4) proposed amendments on the November ballot that gained voter approval.
In early 2017, David Cook accepted an appointment by city council to again serve on its Board of Zoning Appeals.
The AIA awards ceremony was held in the Indianapolis Arts Garden, a 70-foot high, steel and glass domed building built over and above the intersection of Washington and Illinois Streets in downtown. It is owned and operated by the Indianapolis Arts Council.
Cook currently works as a consultant to Unibilt Industries, a manufacturer of wood-framed modular residential and light commercial structures that ships into four different states from its manufacturing plant in Vandalia, Ohio.