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Group Wants to Create Recreational Pier at Dayton Riverfront

Some residents in Dayton have come together to explore the feasability of another possible development along the city's riverfront: a pier.
Calling themselves the Dayton Riverfront Committee, a group of Dayton residents have begun speaking with other regional river cities, as well as Dayton city officials, to determine how to put a plan into action.
“The idea is to give something back to the city and to the people who currently live here, for everyone to enjoy,” said Dayton resident Catherine Hamilton Hicks.
After visiting and speaking with officials from other river cities that already boast a pier on the river, such as Maysville, Ky., Hicks presented the committee’s initial findings and ideas to City Council last Tuesday night. She, and fellow committee member Ben Baker, a candidate for city council, also serve on the Dayton Planning & Zoning Committee.
Hicks and her fellow organizers want to make sure that the upcoming Dayton riverfront developments – which will ultimately include the construction of over 50 luxury homes and condos along the water – does not result in an unintended barricade between the riverfront and current Dayton residents, who might live farther from the river, toward the town center.
“You’re not going to be stuck behind these multimillion dollar homes and condos,” Hicks said to the audience. “A pier is a great equalizer.”
Among the benefits a pier would bring to the city of Dayton, the committee believes a pier would increase recreational access to the riverfront, for activities such as fishing, sunsets, painting, or photography, as well as create a community focal point for festivals and riverboat docking.
Hicks also mentioned the potential for habitat preservation and conservation a pier project could enable, and imagines getting Dayton science students involved in those efforts.
An added bonus of the pier project, Hicks explains, would be continuing Dayton’s riverfront tradition for generations.
“How cool would it be to start something that could be a part of our city for the next 100 years or more?” she said.
The process is already proving, however, to be a labor of love, Hicks says, adding that this is not the first time she’s approached the city with this idea.
“Initially, everyone was pretty cynical,” Hicks said, describing her difficulties getting former Dayton City Administrator Dennis Redmond on board with the project.
The amount of research and studies that must be completed will also, undoubtedly, present some obstacles to the group. To help, the group has reached out to KZF Engineering, the architecture and design firm instrumental in the development of the new Cincinnati Riverfront Park.
The committee is hoping some of the feasibility research done for that project can be shared for the purposes of a pier in Dayton.
Hicks and the committee plan to continue their research and present again at the next Dayton City Council meeting, scheduled for August 5.
As for where exactly the pier will be located? “Everyone seems to have their own idea,” Hicks said, mentioning that the committee will take into account input from the city, developers, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Have input on the pier project? The committee has built a Facebook page to get more community members involved in the process.
-Pat LaFleur, RCN contributor
Photo via riverfront committee's presentation
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