West Carrollton could get $3M in federal funding for Whitewater Park



West Carrollton could get $3 million in federal funding for its whitewater park initiative on the Great Miami River, if a pending bill is approved by Congress.

The $7.5 million project along the riverfront would include a 900-foot whitewater channel around the South Montgomery Low Dam, competition-level whitewater features for kayaks and wave surfing, and modifications aimed at improving safety, use and access to the river.

“It is a project proposed for funding under the directed congressional spending program,” West Carrollton Economic Development Director Mike Lucking said. “Our project was submitted as a part of the PDAC (Dayton Region Priority Development and Advocacy Committee) process coordinated by the Dayton Development Coalition.”

According to Congressman Mike Turner’s office, the $3 million in proposed funding has been included in an appropriations package. The House of Representatives approved those bills Wednesday, so now they move on to the Senate.

City officials say the project takes advantage of West Carrollton’s stretch of the Great Miami River, a portion of the waterway they say is “the only place that has a viable pool of water for boating and enough of a vertical drop for competitive kayaking, a canoe channel and river surfing in the region.”

The federal funds, if approved, would be available in 2023 when West Carrollton starts making improvements to the low dam as part of the whitewater park design, Lucking said.

The multi-year, multi-phase redevelopment plan the city is crafting includes on-river recreation, riverfront development, and development at the southwest corner of the I-75, Exit 47 interchange.

Early plans include a hotel, medical office building, service retail, multiple restaurants (fast casual, premium white-tablecloth and drive-thrus), plus 26 high-end townhome condominiums and a 214-unit apartment project. There’s also a proposal for a small watercraft marina.

“West Carrollton’s long-term vision for the area along the Great Miami River is truly exciting,” Turner said in a statement. “It is this type of economic development that has attracted families and businesses to the greater Dayton area. The $3 million in federal funding ... for dam restoration will subsequently help launch this phase of their project and provide new tourism opportunities for West Carrollton.”

West Carrollton is conducting a preliminary feasibility study phase, which is expected to be completed by September.

Colorado-based McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group has been working with Burkhardt Engineering to collect base data pertaining to the river hydrology, various seasonal water levels and the like. That data will be used for design and permitting at a future phase of the project.

“When the preliminary feasibility phase is complete, we will have a few concepts to consider for our whitewater project,” said Lucking. “We will focus on creating the best whitewater experience to match our budgetary considerations.”

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