Miami County commissioners like direction of riverway coalition

The Miami County commissioners are considering joining a Great Miami Riverway Coalition to help promote the area along the river from Hamilton to Sidney. Troy already is part of the coalition and has been focusing on riverfront development, including the Treasure Island Park area opened in 2016. CONTRIBUTED
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The Miami County commissioners are considering joining a Great Miami Riverway Coalition to help promote the area along the river from Hamilton to Sidney. Troy already is part of the coalition and has been focusing on riverfront development, including the Treasure Island Park area opened in 2016. CONTRIBUTED

“Recreation is a real economic generator.”

Miami County will likely join the Great Miami Riverway Coalition, a group working for riverfront investment, promotion and economic development.

The organization has close to 20 members from Hamilton to Sidney, including Troy, Piqua, Tipp City, the Miami Conservancy District, Five Rivers MetroParks, Miami County Parks, Montgomery County and Dayton.

The Miami County commissioners indicated an interest in joining during a meeting earlier this month with Rich Osgood, county economic development director, and Stan Kegley, a Troy city employee and a coalition board member. Osgood said he would be interested in representing the county on the coalition board.

Commissioners said the organization and its goals would fit with some of their endeavors including an upcoming study of the County Road 25A corridor between Troy and Piqua. The area is bordered on the east by the Great Miami River.

The riverway organization focuses on the communities and nature along the riverway along with activities and events that occur there. Among the organization’s goals are to:

• Increase use of recreational, historical and cultural assets

• Attract more visitors

• Support economic development

• Strengthen river corridor neighborhoods.

Kegley said part of the coalition message to potential partners is the power of recreation.

“Recreation is a real economic generator,” he said. Recreation generates more than $17 million in consumer spending in Ohio, provides more than 196,000 jobs and brings in over $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenues, he said.

Those statistics, he said, can be combined with needs such as workforce development and the interests of today’s millennials in active outdoor recreation including kayaking, canoeing and other water sports in the state.

“If we can use the resources we have such as the river, it can turn it into an economic generator for all of us,” Kegley said.

“I am excited about the potential,” said Commissioner Greg Simmons.

Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said increased recreation and visitors means more sales tax for the county. The coalition also provides another opportunity for regional cooperation, he said.

Membership amounts are based on population. Kegley said potential partners are asked to consider a five-year commitment to provide stability to organization. It is working to hire its first staff member.

More information on the Great Miami Riverway Coalition is available online at www.greatmiamiriverway.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.