Posted: 12:05 a.m. Saturday, March 15, 2014

Continuing Coverage

River summit touts economic benefits

99-mile corridor should drive jobs, commissioner says.

By Drew Simon

Staff Writer


A week ago officials broke ground on the first commercial building of the Water Street Development in downtown Dayton.

The river-bordering development was one of several discussed at the 7th annual River Summit at the University of Dayton River Campus on Friday. The summit focused on economic development along the Great Miami River.

“We have an urban community that’s built out on the river,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley. “We think this 99 miles of corridor from Sidney down to Hamilton is really going to drive jobs.”

The Water Street Development will be the home of two commercial buildings, a combination of retail and office space, said Jason Woodard with the City of Dayton Water Street Development. The new area also will feature around 190 residential units that will open to the river, Woodard said.

A parking structure is planned.

The city of Piqua plans to use several sections of the corridor for development, said Chris Schmiesing with City of Piqua Riverfront Projects. One centers around a former power plant, an area that will benefit from a Clean Ohio grant.

The removal of the old infrastructure will create prime property overlooking the river, Schmiesing said.

Southern downtown Piqua sits along the river, and Schmiesing said using buildings already there to create economic growth will be key to the city’s success.

Bonbright Distributors Inc., 1 Arena Park Drive, is contributing $1 to Five River Metroparks for every case it sells of New Belguim beer, said David Treese, administrator for Bonbright.

Treese hopes Bonbright’s community involvement with Five River Metroparks will allow the distributor to play a part in the river corridor’s development.

Mike Knopp, executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, was a keynote speaker Friday.

Knopp said Dayton is in a better position than Oklahoma City was in prior to revitalization plans there.

River sports were the key revitalizing the Oklahoma City area, Knopp said.

“It’s just tremendous in the way that you can embrace the river and make it become a major catalyst in advancing your quality of life,” Knopp said.

Dayton, according to Foley, is already on the way to revitalizing the riverfront with the development of Fifth Third Field and Riverscape. He hopes the entire region will embrace what the river has potential to bring economically and socially.

“We have all these communities that dot the map, and our job is to really maximize the asset,” Foley said.


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