PERSPECTIVE: UD, Premier want fairgrounds input

As we shape a vision for the revitalization of the former Montgomery County Fairgrounds, we invite the community to join with us Thursday, Nov. 2, to imagine the possibilities.

Positive change in our community does not happen in a vacuum, nor does it happen overnight. We will kick off the multi-year revitalization effort by inviting ideas — and listening carefully. No decisions have been made about any particular redevelopment projects on the 38-acre parcel. We are starting with a blank canvas, are open to imaginative ideas, and want to foster a healthy, robust dialogue about what could be.

Imagine a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly mixed-use development on the doorstep of downtown Dayton. Envision a place where inventive minds — faculty and staff, doctors and researchers, neighborhood residents and community leaders — can work, live and play. Visualize a place that sparks creativity, that echoes Dayton’s inventive spirit throughout the ages.

Let’s dream big — together. It’s time to breathe new life into what’s arguably the most desirable developable tract of land in the city, building on the momentum of downtown revitalization.

MAP: This growing area could become the next hot housing spot in Dayton

Our two institutions have a long history of collaboration, with an eye on revitalizing the southern edge of the city. In partnership with the City of Dayton, CityWide Development Corp. and County Corp., we worked together to rebuild housing in the Fairgrounds neighborhood, enabling home ownership to grow to 75 percent. In concert with community leaders and private developers, we helped attract new businesses, graduate student housing, bike lanes and decorative street lighting on Brown Street, which has emerged as one of the city’s most successful redevelopments.

We also co-sponsor a healthcare symposium on community health and UD students gain experience in Premier’s hospitals and clinics. It’s a mutually beneficial partnership that speaks of the power of collaborative leadership in our community.

That’s why community leaders are looking to us, as strong anchor institutions, to be good stewards of this land, to transform it for future generations.

READ THIS NEXT: New ‘upscale’ condos proposed near downtown Dayton, UD

That’s a responsibility we take seriously and thoughtfully. We have partnered with planning NEXT, a master planning and urban design firm based in Columbus, to help us develop an inclusive process that invites genuine participation and leads to a master plan. While our decisions will reflect the needs and values of our institutions, we want to create a vision that honors our commitment to the Dayton community that we serve.

What will success look like? We want to create a vibe — a sense of place that capitalizes on the innovative and entrepreneurial ethos of the city, university and health system. We will work collaboratively with planning NEXT and community stakeholders to design a vision for the property that advances the missions of Premier Health and UD, boosts the economic vitality of the city and adds to the stability and health of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Please join us at 6 p.m. Nov. 2, for a “Fairgrounds to Future” community conversation — an interactive workshop at the former fairgrounds that’s open to the public. Please RSVP for the workshop at If you cannot attend, you may also share your ideas for the property at the same website.

We’re committed to transforming this land for the future. Our shared future. It starts with imagining the possibilities.

Mary H. Boosalis is president and CEO of Premier Health. Eric F. Spina is president of the University of Dayton.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: Gun control about saving lives, not waging culture wars

WASHINGTON — You have perhaps heard the joke about the liberal who is so open-minded that he can’t even take his own side in an argument. What’s less funny is that on gun control, liberals have been told for years that if they do take their own side in the argument, they will only hurt their cause. Supporters of even modest restrictions...
Opinion: Photo captures Trump's notes for listening session
Opinion: Photo captures Trump's notes for listening session

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump held a worthwhile listening session Wednesday featuring a range of views on how to combat gun violence in schools. And while Trump's at-times-meandering comments about arming teachers will certainly raise eyebrows, for the most part he did listen. Thanks in part, it seems, to a helpful reminder. ...
Opinion: Going to school shouldn’t turn into a death sentence

MIAMI — I know a high-school senior who hadn’t heard the awful news from Parkland before he got home Wednesday. He stared at the television and said, “What?” And, moments later, shaking his head: “What the hell?” This young man doesn’t know anyone who goes to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, though it’s...
Opinion: Parkland school student rises up to challenge gun carnage

WASHINGTON — It was a profoundly poignant image: Thirty to 40 teens huddled together in a small dark room, their downturned faces illuminated by cellphones as they learned about an active shooter prowling their school. Via news apps, these survivors of Wednesday’s murderous rampage at a Parkland, Florida, high school, where 17 were killed...
Opinion: Will automation kill our jobs?

A recent article in The Guardian dons the foreboding title “Robots will destroy our jobs — and we’re not ready for it.” The article claims, “For every job created by robotic automation, several more will be eliminated entirely. … This disruption will have a devastating impact on our workforce.” According to...
More Stories