The redevelopment of the former Montgomery County Fairgrounds will begin with the preservation of one of the site’s oldest buildings.
In May, Dayton History will relocate barn No. 17 — a horse stable— to Carillon Historical Park. The barn, built in the late 19th century, is thought to be the second oldest building on the former fairgrounds after the Roundhouse, according to onMain, a partnership formed by Premier Health and the University of Dayton to redevelop the site.
The relocation will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and will be funded by the James and Mary Houtz Family Foundation, according to Dayton History.
“Horse barn No. 17 will be used to tell the history of the Montgomery County Fairgrounds and the significant events that occurred on that site,” said Brady Kress, president of Dayton History. “The acquisition of this barn presents an opportunity to aid in Carillon Park’s fulfillment of its master plan, and will bridge three themes…early Dayton, transportation, and agriculture.”
Moving the barn will require Dayton History to do something it hasn’t done since the 1970s, Kress said.
Workers will deconstruct the barn and label each piece so it can be reasembled at the park. The last time Dayton History fully deconstructed a building was when it moved the Locust Grove School No. 12 from Springfield to Carillon Park, Kress told the Dayton Daily News.
The barn’s roof will be fully replaced, Kress said, because of an asbesots insullation sprayed on it at some point. Barn No. 17 should be fully reassembled by the end of summer, Kress said.
The relocation of the barn is part of onMain’s plans to remove or demolish 22 buildings at the former fairgrounds. Work to clear the site will be completed by fall and will not affect traffic on nearby streets, according to the partnership.
Additional historical artifacts from the property, such as the cast aluminum reliefs depicting agricultural life that were part of the main gate, were previously moved to the new Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Jefferson Twp.
While the barn will be moved, the Roundhouse will remain on the property. It will become an “integral feature” for the onMain “Imagination District.” The partnership is exploring options for the building which will serve as a focal point for the new neighborhood.
UD and Premier each paid $5.25 million of the $15 million purchase price of the fairgrounds.
Work on the first building on the former fairgrounds property could begin within the next three to four years, said Jamie Greene, principal of planning NEXT, the firm tasked with developing a vision for the site has said. The fairgrounds is expected to take around 10 to 15 years to be completely redeveloped, Greene said. The current project is slated to have three phases of construction.
Earlier this month Buddy LaChance, vice president of real estate at Premier, was named the first chief executive officer of onMain. He will lead the transformation of the 38-acre fairgrounds and starts his new job May 6, according to the partnership.
“We have a unique opportunity to create the next chapter in Dayton’s long history of innovation and entrepreneurialism. LaChance said. “This is the first step in a thoughtful process to establish a setting to connect people, neighborhoods, businesses and institutions.”
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