Courthouse Square revamp will include shipping container event hub

A new addition to Courthouse Square in Dayton is planned to come in time for summer entertainment — an event center designed from a shipping container.

Downtown Dayton Partnership President Katie Meyer updated the Montgomery County commission this week with plans to revamp Courthouse Square, located at Main and Third Streets.

The $165,000 project is expected to wrap up this spring.

The shipping container event center will be facing Third Street and will promote walkability to local restaurants and entertainment venues like the Schuster Center, Meyer said.

“We really see it as something that can be experimental,” she said. “We’re going to try a variety of different uses over the course of the summer. Everything from retail to different sorts of happy hours and art programming.”

The shipping container — estimated at $60,000 in project plans — will pop open and can also be used for live music, private events and other kinds of recreation.



Strings of bistro lights will illuminate the square, and colorful outdoor furniture will be scattered throughout the space, according to project plans. Outdoor games will also be stashed away in the shipping container.

From May to September, the Downtown Dayton Partnership has plans to host lunchtime events at Courthouse Square a few days each week, with a late-afternoon and evening happy hour event also planned for Wednesdays, Meyer said.

Other project costs include branding and signage, programming to attract people to the space, and other amenities.

The revitalization effort received a $75,000 grant from the nonprofit Project for Public Spaces, which funds efforts to boost plazas, parks and other gathering places.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership and Montgomery County are funding the other $90,000 for the project.

When it was created in the 1970s, Courthouse Square was designed to serve as the visual focal point of downtown.

For several years, a number of local leaders have discussed how to revitalize Courthouse Square. That vision has included ideas to make the property more like some of the celebrated gathering spaces around the state and nation, like Fountain Square in Cincinnati, Public Square in Cleveland and Campus Martius Park in Detroit.

Last fall, Montgomery County announced a $500,000 project to fix the square’s fountain and recreate the space into a spot where people can gather.

The fountain, which was built nearly five decades ago, stopped working in 2020 and no immediate action was taken to fix it because of budget concerns.

Initial demolition began for the fountain last fall. The project is converting a section of the existing fountain’s reservoir into a new landscaped space with seating and eight access points.

County officials said on Tuesday that workers have an “aggressive schedule” for completing construction on the fountain.

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