About This Plan

The Dayton Riverfront Plan focuses on the greater downtown’s four waterways and explores the tremendous potential our rivers have to enhance regional vibrancy, livability, and economic vitality over the next 20 years.

Working with various stakeholders, including residents in the neighborhoods, public institutions, as well as private entities, this Plan examines the nature of transitions between the city grid and waterways with an eye toward transforming those spaces into vibrant public places.

This master plan:

  • Explores quality open spaces in the downtown that transform our waterfronts to active, vital places where the entire community comes together.
  • Promotes our outstanding cultural assets, expand our quality outdoor recreation opportunities, and increases our connectivity anchored by our region’s remarkable trail network.
  • This Plan also enhances the environmental value of the river corridor through improved water quality and expanded natural habitat.
  • Addresses community issues such as public health, social justice, flood protection, climate resilience, and accessibility—physical, visual, and perceptual.
  • Ultimately, this Plan serves as a community economic development tool, increasing downtown Dayton’s image as a destination and its attractiveness to a talented workforce and the innovative companies who will employ them.

Study Area

The Dayton Riverfront Plan centers on the greater downtown. Four waterways, the Great Miami River, the Stillwater River, the Mad River, and the Wolf Creek, reach into diverse segments of our community and converge to connect some of our region’s greatest assets.

The study area extends along these waterways in all four directions of the compass for approximately three miles, each terminating in a park:

  • North on the Miami and Stillwater Rivers to Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark
  • East on the Mad River to Eastwood MetroPark
  • South on the Great Miami River to Carillon Historical Park
  • West on the Wolf Creek to Wesleyan MetroPark

Project Process

Development of the Dayton Riverfront Master Plan began in June of 2017 with a public input process. More than 450 people attended public open houses and stakeholder meetings, and 3,000 more people participated online.

Based on this feedback, the team established goals for the project, and from those goals developed a framework to provide structure to the planning process. The framework involved assigning identities for each of the five corridors: Cultural to the north along the Stillwater River; Community to the west along the Wolf Creek; Education to the south along the Great Miami River, Technology to the east along the Mad River, and Downtown.

From these identities, shaped by additional community input, catalytic projects and general improvements were recommended for each of the five corridors. Implementation plans were developed to chart the course of bringing the plan to reality, focusing particularly on the first ten years.


Dayton’s riverfronts are the heart and soul of the region. They embody both the cultural and historic values of the residents that visit or live along the waterways and the city’s tenacity for economic growth, environmental resilience and community togetherness.

The Riverfront Plan represents a 20+ year framework with six goals, defined here:

  1. Economic Engine: Leverage the rivers to catalyze development in greater downtown and ensure longterm vitality of the region.
  2. Something For Everyone: Provide more diverse programs and experiences, and ensure their equitable distribution across the riverfront.
  3. Heart of Dayton: Enhance Dayton’s identity through place-making that celebrates the historic legacy, cultural heritage and vibrant future of its rivers.
  4. Healthy City: Build in places and programs that support health, safety and wellness for all live, learn, work and play along the riverfront.
  5. Many Rivers, One City: Improve access through physical connections to and across the riverfront and to the surrounding community.
  6. Living Protection: Promote the ecological health of the riverfront while continuing to protect from flooding.

Partners & Funders

Funding and working partners for this Dayton Riverfront Plan include:




Corridor Framework