In December, we’ll share a progress report on all the Dayton Riverfront Plan projects that are in the works, underway, or completed. This month, we want to highlight a particular project—a study that is critical to the success of the entire Plan.
There are three types of projects that make up the Dayton Riverfront Plan: infrastructure, public open space, and economic development. Improving and creating new public open spaces, parks, bikeways and promenades are critical because they stimulate economic development in the surrounding area—Dayton has seen this around RiverScape MetroPark. Successful development of the Plan’s parks and promenades is critical to the Plan’s overall success.
Raising the money to build these amenities is one challenge. Another greater challenge is identifying how they will be maintained: both where the money will come from and what agency maintain them. The City of Dayton, Five Rivers MetroParks, and the Miami Conservancy District each have responsibility for the various parks and open space along our urban waterways. To address these challenges, the Dayton Riverfront Plan partners have engaged consultants to conduct a study to identify the options for operational funding to care for the parks and options for who will be responsible for care of the parks.
A first step of this study will identify the great economic potential that investing in urban waterfront parks generates. Development of urban and waterfront parks typically leads to private investment that is ten times the cost of the park. The community invested $40 million to build RiverScape MetroPark; since then, private investment has topped $400 million in the surrounding blocks. This economic development increases property values, stimulates additional retail sales and adds jobs. Riverfront parks can create value in other remarkable ways. A study of Denver’s riverfront parks showed that residents improved their health in a way that reduced combined healthcare costs by $65 million.
These myriad increases in value generated by investment in parks can be recouped to pay for the operational costs. Identifying such sources of funding will be key to ensuring that we move forward responsibly with the tremendous vision and ambition of the Dayton Riverfront Plan.