NEW DETAILS: Firm envisions fairgrounds with unique neighborhood identity

NEW DETAILS: The firm tasked with fostering a redevelopment plan for the Montgomery County Fairgrounds envisions the property becoming a neighborhood, where people can live, work and shop.

The University of Dayton and Premier Health on Wednesday announced that Planning NEXT, a Columbus based firm, would lead the effort in creating a redevelopment plan for the fairgrounds. The firm will host a Nov. 2 workshop to seek pubic input on what the fairgrounds should become.

Though both UD and Premier officials say no plans have been made for the 38-acre property, the principal of Planning NEXT said he envisions the fairgrounds having multiple uses.

“This will likely be a place where people can work and live and maybe the retail component is something that supports the daily living activities as opposed to being a regional shopping destination,” said Jamie Greene, principal of Planning NEXT.

But, the property will not become something like The Greene shopping center. Instead, Greene said he envisions the fairgrounds becoming a more permanent neighborhood with a fixed identity.

“We think that one of the dimensions of having a successful place is having some emotional connection to it,” Greene said. “So, to the extent that it has an identity, you know, that’s important. You might have the Oregon district here, we have the German Village, Italian Village, the Short North in Columbus.”

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Premier Health and University of Dayton have picked a Columbus firm to plan the redevelopment of the former home of the Montgomery County fairgrounds.

The university and Dayton-based health system have been planning to jointly redevelop the 38-acre site on South Main Street and have named Columbus-based Planning NEXT as the master planner for the site.

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The public will be able to give input for the project 6 p.m. Nov. 2 at the former fairgrounds off South Main Street, across from Miami Valley Hospital, during which Planning NEXT will share details of the five-month planning process, Premier Health said in a statement.

A second workshop is planned for early 2018, with a goal to complete the master plan by spring.

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“Redeveloping this 38 acres is a rare opportunity to advance the community-minded missions of both Premier Health and the University of Dayton in a meaningful way on the doorstep of downtown Dayton,” Mary Boosalis, Premier president and chief executive, said in a statement. “Our work with planning NEXT will be deliberate, thoughtful, and inclusive, and we also intend to move with speed so that this property can reinforce the momentum of revitalization efforts in the city’s core.”

Those interested will be able to share thoughts about the property's future online at

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“This property served as a community destination for more than 160 years as home to the Montgomery County fairgrounds,” said Eric Spina, University of Dayton president. “As anchor institutions, we’re committed to working with planning NEXT to build upon our missions and values in a way that ensures this property continues to offer a strong, authentic sense of place and serve broad community interests.”

Planning NEXT was chosen from several planning teams based on its track record of public engagement, innovative urban design, economic strategy and analysis, and “ability to craft a space that supports and complements culturally rich communities.”

The fairgrounds is moving to Judge Arthur O. Fisher Park in Jefferson Township, at a 130-acre site near Dayton Liberty and Infirmary Roads.

UD and Premier finalized the deal to buy the fairgrounds in April for a sale price of $15 million, of which UD and Premier will each pay $5.25 million.

In addition, Montgomery County is giving the institutions $2 million to restore and reuse the historic roundhouse. The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority is contributing a $2.5 million state grant to revitalization efforts.

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