Millions cut from plan for Riverfront Park

Construction on Miamisburg’s new plan for its downtown park on the Great Miami River – which cuts about $8 million from its predecessor - is expected to begin this year.

Bids on Phase I of the $10 million revised Riverfront Park master plan should go out by this summer with work expected to break ground in the fall, said Debbie McLaughlin, Miamisburg’s parks and recreation director.

“All of the time lines are in place, as well as the grant funds available,” McLaughlin said.

The eight-phase plan replaces a pre-recession 2008 proposal then estimated at $18 million (about $20 million in today’s dollars, officials said) that included key - but costly - elements, especially in its initial phases.

The new concept, which calls for realigning the regional bike way to go under the Linden Avenue bridge, was unanimously approved by Miamisburg City Council Tuesday night.

Councilwoman Sarah Clark, a member of the steering committee recommending the changes, called it “a plan that I really love and I think is going to be great for downtown.”

It meets the goals of the city to move forward on downtown development and stays in line with its strategic plan. Meanwhile, it retains or adds elements – an amphitheater, a multiuse center, more parking and a hub for the bike path - which would help make it a regional draw, officials said.

The project calls for a “destination entertainment venue” that could be completed in cost-effective phases, said Aaron Domini, senior planner with OHM Advisors, the Columbus consultant which developed the revised plan.

“Our goal is to right size the park, keep the vision in place and promote the overall economic competitiveness of the downtown by creating this destination,” he said.

The first two phases of the previous plan called for levee reconstruction, facilities to store and launch kayaks on the park’s northwest side, and work to put utilities underground on the park’s east side, McLaughlin said. Those projects were estimated to cost $8 million to $10 million combined, officials said.

“It’s a redesigned park that makes sense of the people, the downtown and the city,” Domini said.

The boundaries of the park, which now hosts about 60 events a year, are unchanged under the new plan. But the land mapped out for green space is scaled back from about 10 acres to nearly 8.5 acres, McLaughlin said.

Much of that change is due to additional parking, which has grown by more than 100 spaces, officials said.

“It’s a much needed amenity to have the increased parking - for not only the park use and events, but also for downtown,” McLaughlin said. “So it helps meet all of those needs.”

The first phase, which will include a gateway on the park’s east side, is projected to cost about $200,000. The city expects to pay for that work through a $250,000 grant which financed the new plan and must be spent by June 2016, McLaughlin said.

Council passed a series of items Tuesday night to complete phase I and start on the second phase. Those moves included allowing the city to apply for nearly $300,000 in state grants to finance the second portion.

That project would include a playground area and an 18-foot observation tower on the park’s northwest side, officials said.

Phase II is expected to cost about $200,000, but includes options for additional improvements if funding is available, according to McLaughlin.

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