Main Street bridge project may lead to demolition of apartments

Construction project needs land on riverbank for bridge and guidlines say conservation land must be added elsewhere.

A major bridge construction project that doesn’t begin until 2017 will likely mean good news for a Dayton neighborhood.

The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to rebuild the Main Street Bridge across the Great Miami River starting in 2017. The rebuild will take place over two construction seasons and not finish up until September 2019. It’s likely to cost $9 million.

The new bridge will be wider. That means ODOT will require a patch of additional ground — about 1,600 square feet — from river conservation land near the bike path at the bridge’s southwest corner on the southern riverbank.

The Miami Conservation District manages the river corridor, but the patch is owned by the city of Dayton. Guidelines imposed by the federal Land & Water Conservation Act requires ODOT to replace the conservation land somewhere else.

That’s where an abandoned dilapidated city-owned apartment building at 926 Old Orchard just outside the boundary of Five Oaks Park comes into play.

The building’s doors are ripped off, old tires and litter clutter the backyard, and drywall inside has been torn out. It’s a perfect harbor for undesirable activity.

ODOT is proposing to buy the building from the city, tear it down, and then return the site to the city to add land to the park. That should satisfy the federal restrictions.

It also satisfies Steve Finke, Dayton’s assistant director of Public Works.

“We are fine with it,” he said. “We have to demolish it anyway.”

Vickie Coleman, 46, is also happy for the project. She lives nearby and was on her way to the bus stop on Friday to catch a ride to her job.

“The parks and green spaces are always a good thing,” she said. “Tearing down these abandoned buildings are a good thing, too. The more they can get down — that will reduce crime activity.”

The plan is still being developed and ODOT is seeking public comments about the project before it moves forward. The cost to demolish the building isn’t known yet, but hopes are it’ll be less than $10,000.

Tricia Bishop, environmental coordinator for ODOT District 7, said the bridge project will require a detour for the bike trail while it’s underway.

Much of the project is still in the planning stages, Bishop added, and permits need to be obtained for the work to start.

Anyone with comments on the project should call Bishop at (937) 497-6721 or email her at

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