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Riverfront Design Moves Forward - Maybe - in Dayton

Work will soon begin on the design phase of a riverfront project in Dayton.

At Tuesday night's city council meeting, the OK was given to approve a contract with Cincinnati-based KZF Design.

Or, so the city thinks.

Funding for the riverfront project is through a federal grant administered by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and awarded to the City of Dayton last year. When Dayton sought bids from design firms, the process, per the state mandate, was to include a scoring system from city administration and city council. But when the deadline passed, only KZF had submitted a bid. City Administrator Michael Giffen scored the bid without including members of the city council.

Now, the city awaits word from the Kentucky Transportaton Cabinet about whether that's OK. With only one bid, Giffen said that he presumed that a ranking system was not necessary. "I didn't want to lose the opportunity and delay this thing," Giffen said after the 5-1 vote in which only council member Jerry Gifford dissented. "The state will either say you made your recommendation to council, great, or they'll say, we want to hear from council before we approve."

Should the latter happen, the issue would likely be back on next month's city council agenda. 

A year ago, then-Governor Steve Beshear visited Northern Kentucky and announced $5.4 million for the Cities of Covington and Dayton, and the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK). Covington and Dayton's funds would go towards Riverfront Commons projects, the 11-mile multi-use path along the Ohio River that will connect the Northern Kentucky River Cities from Ludlow in the west to Ft. Thomas in the east. 

SEE PREVIOUSLY: How Dayton plans to continue its momentum on riverfront, downtown

Dayton's share of the funds was $530,387 to construct 1-mile of the bicycle and pedestrian path, including a ramp over the flood wall, running west to east from O'Fallon Avenue to near Berry Street.

Giffen said that the design phase would likely take three to four months, and then construction could begin in the spring. It is unclear what exactly will be included in the design - that's KZF's task. Giffen said the city would work with developers building luxury single-family homes and market-rate apartments on the riverfront to add additional amenities. "We're going to work in the long run with the develoopers and the city on the extra aesthetics, like some of the tie-in connections, like staircases," he said. 

Residents of the city have called for a pedestrian pier to be included in the riverfront project, along with other attractions, like possibly a statue garden that would include a replica of the famous Slush Puppie, which was created by a Dayton native. 

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Image via Dayton's riverfront master plan document