Fifteen communities and agencies along 99 miles of the Great Miami River are collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a $250,000 recreation riverfront study.
The plan is seen as essential to join various local projects along the river corridor into a single recreational area — dubbed Ohio’s Great Corridor — drawing tourists and area residents down to the river.
“There has been a surge in recreation riverfront development along the Great Miami River in the past several years,” Janet Bly, general manager of the Miami Conservancy District said. “The study will look at what’s been done, what’s planned and what we might be missing in terms of opportunity along the river.”
The conservancy district and Montgomery County applied for the planning assistance, which requires a 100-percent local match. Montgomery County, the largest local contributor, will provide $50,000. The conservancy district will kick-in $25,000 and provide $12,000 in in-kind services as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ local sponsor. The Corps will provide $125,000 in services.
Local communities and metroparks together will contribute $38,000 to the project.
“This effort will help the communities set priorities, define funding strategies and develop an action plan for implementing projects,” Bly said.
Other participating communities and agencies include: Sidney, Piqua, Troy, Dayton, Riverside, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown and Hamilton along with Miami County Park District, Five Rivers MetroParks and MetroParks of Butler County.
Montgomery County Commission President Dan Foley said that through the MCOFuture initiative last year, the county learned that the most successful communities are those that collaborate and cooperate with their regional partners.
“This is another example of our region working together to produce greater opportunity,” Foley said. “Montgomery County and our community partners recognize the importance of a thriving river corridor, not only for its recreational value but as an economic development driver that will create jobs and other opportunities for our citizens.”
Already Miami Valley communities are working on more than $35 million in riverfront projects, including the $4 million Dayton River Run whitewater park project in downtown Dayton. This spring, the RiversEdge Park and Amphitheater opened in Hamilton. Among the upcoming projects are bikeway extensions and Troy marina improvements. Nearly 20 more projects are envisioned but unfunded, according to the conservancy district.
The direct financial impact of outdoor recreation is substantial in Ohio. Outdoor recreation provides 196,000 direct Ohio jobs, $17.4 billion in consumer spending each year, and $1.3 billion in state/local tax revenue, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.
The planning assistance could include studies, strategic planning or conceptual physical master planning. It will not include a detailed design, a set of construction documents, or funding for either.
“…we expect it will give us a much better idea of the task before us in terms of recreation development opportunities along the river,” Foley said.
Contributions to Great Miami River recreation study
Fifteen communities and agencies along 99 miles of the Great Miami River corridor are collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a recreation riverfront study. Below is a breakdown of contributions to the $250,000 study.
Butler County MetroParks $2,000
Five Rivers MetroParks $3,000
City of Franklin $2,000
City of Hamilton $3,000
Miami Conservancy District $25,000 (plus $12,000 in-kind as local sponsor)
Miami County Park Dist. $3,000
Montgomery County $50,000
West Carrollton $3,000
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers $125,000 (in service)