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 Release Date: September 9, 2013
From Miami Conservancy District  - 
Region to Collaborate with USACE for Riverfront Planning
Fifteen communities and agencies along 99 miles of the Great Miami River corridor are collaborating with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on a recreation riverfront study through the USACE Planning Assistance to States program.

"There has been surge in recreation riverfront development along the Great Miami River in the past several years," says Janet Bly, Miami Conservancy District (MCD) General Manager. "The study will look at what's been done, what's planned and what we might be missing in terms of opportunity along the river.

"This effort will help the communities set priorities, define funding strategies and develop an action plan for implementing projects," Bly says.

MCD and Montgomery County applied for the planning assistance, which requires a 100-percent match. Montgomery County will provide $50,000. MCD will provide $25,000, and local communities and metroparks together will contribute $38,000. MCD also will provide $12,000 in in-kind services as USACE's "local sponsor." USACE will provide $125,000 in services for a total project of $250,000, if the study is approved as proposed.

"Through our MCOFuture initiative, we found that the most successful counties are those that collaborate and cooperate with their regional partners," says Montgomery County Commission President Dan Foley. "This is another example of our region working together to produce greater opportunity. Montgomery County and our community partners recognize the importance of a thriving river corridor, not only for its recreational value but as an economic development driver that will create jobs and other opportunities for our citizens."

The participating communities and agencies are the cities of Sidney, Piqua, Troy, Dayton, Riverside, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown and Hamilton along with Miami County Park District, Five River MetroParks, MetroParks of Butler County, Montgomery County and MCD.

Currently, there are many projects in various stages of implementation along Ohio's Great Corridor, the name often used for the span of the Great Miami River from Sidney to Hamilton. This spring, the RiversEdge Park and Amphitheater opened in Hamilton. Among the upcoming projects are Dayton River Run, bikeway extensions, and Troy marina improvements. Nearly 20 more projects are envisioned but unfunded.

The direct financial impact of outdoor recreation is substantial, both nationally and in Ohio. In Ohio, outdoor recreation provides 196,000 direct Ohio jobs, provides $17.4 billion in consumer spending each year, and $1.3 billion in state/local tax revenue, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

The planning assistance could include studies, strategic planning or conceptual physical master planning. It will not include detailed design, a set of construction documents, or provide funding for either.

"But we expect it will give us a much better idea of the task before us in terms of recreation development opportunities along the river," Foley says.

"And clarify our vision for the corridor as a recreation destination for the region," Bly says.

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