The Stillwater River, perhaps the most beautiful of Dayton’s four waterways, converges with the Great Miami River at Island MetroPark, and the Great Miami continues south into downtown. This stretch of the Dayton Riverfront Plan, known as the Culture Corridor, offers what will become a dynamic regional attraction.
The rivers pass through seven parks: Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, DeWeese Park, Triangle Park, Island MetroPark, Kettering Field, Deeds Park, and Deeds Point MetroPark. These parks create over four miles of contiguous public open space and host an array of assets: the Wegerzyn Formal Gardens, Children’s Garden, and Community Garden; the Dayton Playhouse; the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery; tennis courts, baseball fields, and a new turf football field; Jay Lake fishing pond; the Island Band Shell, the Greater Dayton Rowing Association, and Dayton Canoe Club. These amenities are woven together by the Stillwater and Great Miami Trails and connected to downtown over the newly opened Deeds Point Bridge.
These arts, recreation, and culture assets have been dubbed The ARC. The Dayton Riverfront Plan proposes to develop The ARC into a regional destination for families and friends to spend the day meandering up and down the river, enjoying all there is to do. The partners will develop an identity and brand for The ARC and bring the various parks’ operations under one umbrella. With that, upgrades to each of the parks and a handful of game-changing improvements along the corridor are proposed:
- Expanding the Link Bike hubs so that people can travel the corridor by bike, hopping from destination to destination.
- Closing North Bend Boulevard to traffic and creating a pedestrian promenade along the river, connecting Island and Deeds Point MetroParks.
- Expanding DeWeese Park and the Stillwater Trail to the west side of the river and calming traffic on Riverside Drive to connect the Riverdale and North Riverdale neighborhoods to the rivers and parks.
- Removing a segment of the Island Park low dam to create safe passage for paddlers coming down the Stillwater and Great Miami Rivers into downtown along a fun whitewater segment, while still providing for rowers and canoeists along the upper stretch of river.
- Developing the new Connor School on the site of Deeds Park, providing free education and wrap-around family support to 400 underserved youth in the region beginning later this year.
The Culture Corridor promises to offer an outdoor destination rivaling any in the region. Families, friends, and Dayton visitors will spend the entire weekend exploring all that The ARC has to offer. Adjacent, underserved neighborhoods that have long been separated from these rivers and parks by hefty roadways will be connected so that they, too, feel like riverfront neighborhoods. The future is exciting along the Stillwater River.
To keep the community informed about the progress of the plan, this fall, we updated the Dayton Riverfront Plan website. This month, we’re introducing a new app on the website where you can tour a map of the Plan’s study area and see what projects have been completed, what projects are being implemented, and what projects are being planned right now. Check it out!