Dayton’s riverfront: Bold ideas include rockscape beach plaza

New water play at Island MetroPark. New adventures at Wesleyan MetroPark. New scenic views at Deeds MetroPark. And RiverScape would be part of a new downtown park loop.

New and bold ideas are packed into Dayton’s riverfront master plan, which are being shared with the public as a variety of community partners prepare to adopt the final version of the document.

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The plan, which is intended to be a blueprint to guide development and investment for the next 20 years, recommends many new experiences, parks, trails, connections, green spaces and amenities.

But some specific proposals are especially bold and ambitious.

The plan calls for extending the southern tip of Island MetroPark to the low dam on the Great Miami River to create a paddler pass through on the eastern side channel, which would fall several feet over vertical drops.

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A "rockscape beach plaza" and sun deck are proposed for Deeds Point, and RiverScape MetroPark would benefit from a new pedestrian connection on the Riverside Drive bridge and big changes to Monument Avenue.

Wesleyan MetroPark, located along the Wolf Creek, could become a play and nature destination, with a zip line over a ravine and new nature play features, like boulders, logs and other plantings.

The riverfront master plan is uniquely Dayton, reflecting its history, culture, assets and strengths, said Carrie Scarff, Five Rivers MetroParks chief of planning and projects.

The river, which has divided the city for years, can finally become a uniter with new connections and projects, she said.

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A final draft of the master plan was recently due to Five Rivers MetroParks from its consultant.

MetroParks, along with a variety of other partners, has helped craft a frame work for a study area that includes all four rivers, extending about two to three miles out from downtown to feature parks, Scarff said.

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