RiverScape River Run: 5 things to know

TY GREENLEES/STAFF
Caption
TY GREENLEES/STAFF

After two years of construction and nearly 20 years of plans in the making, Five Rivers MetroParks is debuting its $4 million RiverScape River Run project. Community leaders will celebrate its grand opening with a ceremony this evening.

Here’s what you need to know about Dayton’s newest water attraction:

1. RAIN OR SHINE: DAYTON WILL CELEBRATE 

The free grand opening event will happen despite inclement weather. The event starts at 4:30 p.m. with official remarks from community leaders under the park pavilion. The Pickin’ in the Park music series will kick off at 6 p.m. The night will feature live tunes by progressive bluegrass musicians, and local craft beer and food trucks will also be available to enjoy at the park.

Bring your rain jacket and join the fun. Attendees can enjoy the celebration under the pavilion, which overlooks the river.

» RELATED: Despite rain and high waters, River Run to celebrate opening this week

2. WHAT IS IT?

The attraction includes two rock and concrete structures that span the Great Miami River between the Main and Monument streets bridges. One river chute, located near East Monument Avenue near the Dayton Art Institute, includes two features: one smooth-water passageway for novice paddlers and a whitewater chute for those daredevil kayakers. The second chute, located near the Main Street bridge, includes similar passageway for boaters.

» RELATED: Dayton to celebrate $4 million River Run with music, community bash

3. COMMUNITY EFFORT

The River Run was born out of an idea by local resident Bernie Farley, the owner of the Dayton Whitewater Warehouse. Progress really got moving when the James M. Cox Foundation issued a $1 million grant in July 2011. The foundation is an entity of Cox Media Group, this newspaper’s parent company.

“Today, what I think we’re realizing is that more and more we want to reconnect with the river and all the reasons why Dayton is where it is, which is primarily because of its proximity to the river” said Alex Taylor, who was recently named the CEO of Cox Enterprises, in connection with today’s festivities to open the project. “So, with the removal of these low-head dams and the revitalization of the whole river corridor, hopefully this will have the effect of drawing everybody back into the Great Miami River valley.”

» WATCH: The completed Riverscape River Run project opens May 5

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Alex Taylor, recently named the President and CEO of Cox Enterprises beginning next year, hopes the RiverScape River Run project will encourage residents to reconnect to the Great Miami River.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

4. ECONOMIC DRIVER

The River Run is just one part of the push to revitalize downtown. As apartments like the Water Street Flats and the Delco Lofts are well on their way to completion, developers are working to secure funding for an estimated $80 million rehab of the Dayton Arcade.

“It’s great to see the progress that’s happening downtown,” said Sandra Gudorf, Downtown Dayton Partnership president. “It’s exciting when news breaks about a new townhome being built, or a new restaurant opening, or when a new business announces it’s moving downtown, but we want to make sure that growth is happening in a way that’s impactful and sustainable.”

5. A PUSH TO DEVELOP THE RIVER 

Through the $1 million Great Miami Riverway Placemaking Initiative, communities from Sidney down to Hamilton are trying to develop and market the river to attract residents and tourists to the area for bicycle riding, paddling, running, walking and outdoor recreation.

“The river ties everyone together. An attraction like this is bringing attention to these neighborhoods on the river, and it’s going to strengthen them,” said Sarah Hippensteel Hall, manager of Watershed Partnership.

Check the Five Rivers MetroParks website for more information.

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