Less than one year after fundraising efforts began, the RiverScape River Run Project is almost fully funded.
The public and private sectors ― including businesses, foundations and individuals ― have contributed a combined $3.8 million to date to support the $4 million project, the next phase of development at RiverScape MetroPark.
“After a huge community input process, RiverScape River Run emerged as one of the priorities of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan, and this project will create a long list of benefits for downtown Dayton and the region,” said Dr. Michael Ervin, co-chair of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan and Downtown Dayton Partnership. “Downtown Dayton’s economic development strategy is focused on strengthening the core of our entire region. This strategy hinges on creating an exciting downtown environment that will attract and retain the young, talented workforce needed to build Dayton’s new economy.”
Now, the community can be part of River Run. The public portion of the River Run fundraising campaign began June 1. To make a tax-deductible contribution in any amount, click here or call the Downtown Dayton Partnership at 937-224-1518 to receive a contribution form.
“Rivers always have been the lifeblood of great cities,” Ervin said. “RiverScape MetroPark has been so successful in bringing people to the river. Now, River Run will get people into the river. And it is only the first step in a comprehensive plan for future river development in our community. After we finish this project, we plan to look at further development of the entire length of our downtown river.”
Many cities across the country have invested in their waterfronts as a fundamental revitalization strategy and have seen a significant return on that investment. Those cities include ones that resemble Dayton, such as Oklahoma City, Okla.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Hartford, Conn. For example, Oklahoma City invested $54 million along the Oklahoma River and, according to city officials, has received a $700 million return on that investment. In Dayton, $38 million already has been invested in the riverfront since 1999. RiverScape River Run is the next step in Dayton’s investment.
RiverScape River Run includes the removal of a dangerous low dam and construction of two boulder-like structures spanning the Great Miami River. Each structure will have two passageways: one still water passageway for canoes and one whitewater passageway for kayaks. The project will create a regional recreation destination that also will allow people to fish, sunbathe and enjoy the river downtown. Construction on River Run is expected to begin in 2013, with completion in 2014. The remainder of this year will be spent finalizing designs, engineering and the permitting process.
Fundraising for RiverScape River Run began last summer with a $1 million challenge grant from the James M. Cox Foundation. Contributors to RiverScape River Run to date are: The CareSource Foundation, The Connor Group, Cox Media Group Ohio, The Dayton Foundation, Dr. Michael Ervin, Greater Dayton RTA, Heidelberg Distributing Company, Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trust ― Fifth Third Bank Trustee, Kettering Health Network, KeyBank, Mrs. Judy Lumby, The Meadwestvaco Foundation, Miami Conservancy District, Montgomery County, PNC, Premier Health Partners, The Schiewetz Foundation, Sinclair Community College, Thompson Hine, The Vectren Foundation and The Virginia W. Kettering Foundation.
The Greater Downtown Dayton Plan is a multipronged economic development initiative and strategic blueprint for Dayton’s center city launched in May 2010. Greater Downtown is one of two regional centers of economic activity for the Dayton region, with approximately $5 billion a year in regional economic impact. A vibrant, thriving center city is crucial to the prosperity of the City of Dayton and Dayton region. The Greater Downtown Dayton Plan calls for building on downtown’s strengths to create the type of vibrant, bustling city increasingly in demand today.