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Army Corps Completes Great Miami River Corridor Study

The Great Miami River is connected to the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer, where Dayton gets its water.
Lewis Wallace
/
WYSO

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finished a one-year study of the Great Miami River Corridor, which looked at opportunities for economic development along a 99-mile stretch.The area studied runs from around Sidney, up in Shelby County, down to the city of Hamilton in Butler County.

The corps found that the area’s strengths include the Great Miami River Recreation Trail, and multiple access points for recreation. But the report also cites challenges for the corridor, including missing links in the trail that need to be completed, a lack of overnight accommodations along some parts of the trail, a lack of a unified marketing plan and identity for the Great Miami River corridor.

“We have an extraordinary asset here, and it’s really time for us to capitalize on it,” said Janet Bly with the Miami Conservancy District, which helped lead the study locally.

The Army Corps suggests playing up the cultural and historical identity of the river as the region tries to make the waterway a focus of economic development. The study also suggests community events should focus more on highlighting the river. Several projects already underway will increase recreational access points along the river, including plans for a kayak run and removal of a low dam in downtown Dayton.

The report, out Friday, comes after a year of study led by the USACE with support from a wide span of Miami Valley governments and organizations. All the communities involved have an interest in promoting the river as a tourist attraction

Dusty Hall with the Southwest Ohio Council for Higher Education facilitated a planning session this morning about next steps for the coming year—and Hall says he hopes the Miami River marketing plan will blow brands like Pure Michigan out of the water.

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.