Proposal calls for pedestrian bridge connecting UD Arena, Carillon Park

Plan also includes pedestrian bridge connecting OnMain to bikeway along Great Miami River.

Two local organizations want to build a pedestrian bridge across the Great Miami River — connecting the University of Dayton Arena area with Carillon Park — and to improve access to the Great Miami River Recreation Trail near the Stewart Street bridge.

As part of an application request with the Dayton Region Priority Development and Advocacy Committee (PDAC), the Miami Conservancy District and Great Miami Riverway are seeking funding for planning and eventual construction of a $15 million project.

The application breaks the project down into pieces:

** $10.5 million for the freestanding Carillon-to-UD Arena bridge;

** $2.5 million for a pedestrian bridge over busy Patterson Boulevard, connecting the OnMain development (former county fairgrounds) to the Great Miami River Recreation Trail.

** $1.75 million for improved parking and a new GMRR Trail section by Carillon Park;

** $250,000 for planning and design.

The PDAC committee, organized by the Dayton Development Coalition, allows organizations to submit ideas they feel are worthy of lobbying and government funding.

Pedestrians who want to visit Carillon Park from UD Arena now have to cross the river on the Stewart Street bridge, which has unprotected sidewalks next to six lanes for vehicle traffic.

Dan Foley, director of the Great Miami Riverway, said improving the flow of people from both sides of the river will help prove to organizers of large events at UD Arena that Dayton should be a destination location.

“We’ve had significant economic momentum in south Dayton, and connecting it to the Great Miami River trail and to UD Arena makes sense for the continued growth we will see there in the next 10 to 20 years,” Foley said.

caption arrowCaption
A new pedestrian bridge over the Great Miami River is being proposed between the UD Arena area and Carillon Park. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

A new pedestrian bridge over the Great Miami River is being proposed between the UD Arena area and Carillon Park. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

caption arrowCaption
A new pedestrian bridge over the Great Miami River is being proposed between the UD Arena area and Carillon Park. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

In their PDAC applications, the two organizations said, “The southern corridor of the City of Dayton along the Great Miami River has seen significant investment in recent years, including General Electric Research and Development, Emerson Helix, and the potential $650 million for the OnMain site. This area is the site for the NCAA First Four Tournament, generating $4.5 million of economic activity, as well as the annual Winterguard Competition, with $19 million of impact.”

The application cautions that there have been no matching funds raised or committed yet.

But the organizations said significant planning has already occurred through the Dayton Riverfront Master Plan to improve and enhance riverfront access and recreation, and the goal would be to incorporate three of those recommendations — providing pedestrian connectivity from Carillon Park to UD Arena, linking the OnMain site to the Great Miami River Recreation Trail, and improving the Great Miami River Recreation Trail and adjacent parking between Carillon Park and the river.

OnMain is a proposed 38-acre development that includes plans for residential housing, retail and commercial buildings on land that was the former Montgomery County Fairgrounds. The land is owned through a partnership between Premier Health and UD.

“We believe there is more opportunity retain existing economic drivers and generate additional economic activity by improving the look, feel, and access to the river,” the organizations said in their application.

The University of Dayton said it supports the proposal.

“Improving the look, feel, and connectivity of attractions and developments along the corridor will help the university and the region to strengthen our case to retain major events like the NCAA First Four tournament as well as to draw other events to this area of the city,” said Richard S. Krysiak, Jr., UD vice president for facilities management and planning. “The University of Dayton is excited to be a part in this exciting effort.”

Buddy LaChance, president and CEO of OnMain, said the proposal “can serve to connect the river better with all of our neighborhood anchors, including the University of Dayton, Premier Health, Carillon Park, the Carillon neighborhood, and others.”

“We understand that part of this plan would identify potential sources of revenue for a pedestrian bridge to connect the east and west side of the river, as outlined in the Dayton Riverfront master plan, as well as improving the Great Miami River Recreation Trail and related parking access on the east side of the river.”

There is no timeline for the project, according to Foley.

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