River Run mural part of $4 million project

With a dozen or more scissor snips, a bright red ribbon fell and Dayton area officials Thursday dedicated the RiverScape River Run mural, welcoming a new era of watercraft recreation on the Great Miami River.

The nearly 1,000-foot mural on the 90-year-old northern floodwall facing RiverScape depicts activities along the river including bicycling, hiking and paddling.

It’s a striking contrast to the bare concrete floodwall that was the canvass for the mural and that had faced river visitors for most of the past century. The artistic representations draw the eye as the mural adds color and vibrancy to the river corridor.

“”I’m just proud to be here,” said Amy Deal, the artist and designer who created the mural.

Just downriver, construction of the $4 million RiverScape River Run project is moving quickly as contractors remove a portion of the top of the Monument Avenue low dam. Carrie Scarff, deputy director of Five Rivers MetroParks, said that portion of the project could be completed before year’s end. The entire project could finish in 2016.

The goal is to lower river levels and leave the Monument Avenue dam’s foundation in place. The foundation will be used to anchor a line of limestone boulders placed from riverbank to riverbank that will include a fast-water passage for kayaks and a slower one for canoes. A similar structure will be built at RiverScape MetroPark.

Scarff said volunteers could begin relocating endangered fresh water mussels to a safer part of the river by the middle of this month.

A community effort raised $4 million to fund the River Run project, including a $1 million challenge grant from The James M. Cox Foundation.

“This is a beautiful project - to mix art and the river,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “It shows you what we can get done when the community bets on the river.”

Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman agreed. “It brightens up the whole riverscape,” she said.

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