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Public offers input on future of fairgrounds redevelopment

UPDATE @ 8:45 p.m.: More housing, new restaurants, a grocery store and a wedding venue in the historic Roundhouse were among the hundreds of ideas for redeveloping the Montgomery County Fairgrounds that residents submitted tonight to Premier Health and the University of Dayton.

About 300 people gathered at the former Montgomery County Fairgrounds this evening to share their input for the two organizations to consider when they make a plan for the 38-acre site.

RELATED: Firm envisions fairgrounds with neighborhood vibe

Premier Health and University of Dayton are in the beginning stages of drawing up the development plan for the former fairgrounds just south of downtown Dayton, which they bought in April.

Premier Health CEO Mary Boosalis told attendees the timing for the project is good because it will build on the momentum of other developments happening around the city.

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“Let’s dream big. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said.

UD and Premier are also still taking input online at FairgroundsToFuture.org.

The workshop featured small-group discussions and each table of attendees came up with prioritized lists of what they would like to see happen at the property.

UD President Eric Spina said the input from the public will be an important part of shaping the best plan for the site, which is now a blank slate.

While the developers don’t have project specifics at this point, officials said they want the future development to be a safe, walkable environment that can help attract new businesses and young people.

Planning NEXT will take the input from tonight’s meeting and draft a development plan in December. The firm is aiming to have another public workshop in January to show how they translated the community feedback and in February present a plan.

A common theme to the lists was an emphasis on finding a good way to preserving the large Roundhouse at the site that dates back to 1874.

In one group discussion, Alison Kerlin said the developers could renovate the Roundhouse into a large reception venue for events like weddings.

EARLIER REPORT

The public is invited to a workshop tonight on the plan to redevelop the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.

Premier Health and University of Dayton are planning to jointly redevelop the 38-acre site just south of downtown Dayton and are in the beginning stages of drawing up the development plan.

The public meeting to be held 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 2 at the 1043 S. Main St. fairgrounds.

RELATED: Permit sought for new Montgomery County fairgrounds

“We are starting with a blank canvas, are open to imaginative ideas, and want to foster a healthy, robust dialogue about what could be,” Premier CEO Mary Boosalis and UD President Eric Spina said in a statement.

Workshop attendees will learn more about the planing process, hear about some initial research and participate in small group discussions to help build a vision for the site.

RELATED: UD buys property for $2.6 million

The two organizations have picked Columbus-based Planning NEXT to lead the planning process.

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