Downtown South- A plan anyone?

For The Love of Dayton posted everything in the DDN about the Fairgrounds plan and the new UD plan yesterday- so I didn’t see any need to repost- you can read the whole thread here:

Montgomery County Fairgrounds, Stewart Street Corridor and University of Dayton Development « For The Love Of Dayton
I’ve talked about the need to better utilize the Montgomery County Fairgrounds before, especially with the development of the 50 acres the University of Dayton purchased from NCR. UD is a major player in this part of Dayton as well as in other community efforts…

The Fair Board plan was pie in the sky with unrealistic numbers- and already, a day later, they are pulling back the numbers on the arena seats- and acknowledged that the idea of an ice rink wasn’t feasible (a 6,000-seat ice arena alone runs close to $30K).

With rumors flying that MVH bought Dominics, and about to build a ten story office tower somewhere on campus- it seems someone needs to sit down and put all three of these players together.

To me, there is only one logical solution to both what to do with the fairgrounds and who to run it- and that’s toss it into Five Rivers Metroparks portfolio. The upcoming levy in 2008 could include funding for renovations.

The reality is, the area along Brown/Stewart/Main is Dayton’s best chance at combating the Greene. Throw a movie theater, an ice rink, a grocery store and some affordable retail space in with a programmed parking solution, a light rail loop- and you have a real viable urban work/shop/live community.

What we need is a leadership group with some vision to push this on a fast track. The fair board is well over its head in its planning, but, no one but your’s truly is going to say anything.

Your thoughts?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!

Leave a Reply

13 Comments on "Downtown South- A plan anyone?"

Notify of

Good thinking. It’s all happening too haphazardly. And now, UD is taking a wait-and-see approach before planning mixed use along Stewart. Wait and see what…others who are also waiting to see or are “in over their heads”? We could end up with status quo if we’re not careful, which would be tragic. Or just a mess of uncoordinated developments. Because, yes, the south of downtown district is our best, and perhaps our only, chance for a real, vital, vibrant, big-city-feel kind of area including a livable, walkable neighborhood.

We do need another arena and this seems the logical place for it.

D. Greene

I am very skeptical about light rail simply because I have no faith in the county and city governments to work together or competently execute a plan.

That said, it would be a HUGE boon for business if there was a simple light rail loop that started at say, Far Hills/Dorothy Lane and terminated at 3rd Street and Patterson, just west of the Cannery, with stops along the way Stewart and 5th Street. If the loop stayed open late on Friday and Saturday night, UD students without cars could safely venture on foot to the Oregon District and nobody would have to worry about driving drunk. Another line running east-west along 35 from Woodman (the woodman park apartments along the bike path) to downtown, connecting at some hub with a north-south line, would draw a lot of people out of the suburbs.


My Friend, you are 100% right. Don’t worry about The Greene, they do not have 10,000 students, faculty and staff within a walking distance of their area. The bottom line is, as David Esrati has always pointed out, build on our strengths. The University of Dayton is just about our biggest strength. MVH is a strength. FIVE RIVER METRO PARK is a strength. As I have pointed out to many, companies come and go, shrink and grow – UNIVESITIES are here to stay, with a lot out support, local and from the outside. Hospitals are generally here to stay. This is the only area in the “urban” section of Dayton that has a real chance to become successful.

Phillip Ranly

Bill P. suggested putting the arena near 5/3 Field—a fabulous idea. The ballpark is where it is and I think moving another nearby would create a year round spot for sports lovers. With Ballpark Village and Techtown (and possibly the Merc…) coming to the area in the somewhat foreseeable future we could have a real good thing going. I would get a trolley passing through the OD, Fairgrounds and Webster Station. Just a crazy thought here—create a train (trolley) station in Webster Station as a nod to the long gone train station of the past. Build a parking garage attached to the station for people who want to park once and go from neighborhood to neighborhood on the rail. It’d also be nice for the people coming to games at the ballpark and arena.

As for the Fairgrounds neighborhood, I say just keeping on developing the way they have. The new stuff now there is great. Yes, it would be nice for all the minds to come together to figure out the best plan of attack. Maybe it will happen.

Sara Walker
Sara Walker

Dominics HAS sold to MVH. The fairground has limited use due to the fact that Curran made the circular bldg a historic landmark and the Hospital IS building on Magnolia – not 12 stories but 4. There will be another “tube” connecting the building to the old.


Heres’ a plan

I ginned up a quick and dirty new urbanist concept for the Fairgrounds (actuallly been playing around with this since going there for the German Fest).

It’s at over at my Daytonology blog, with a link to a more extended discussion with more pix & diagrams posted as a thread at Urban Ohio.

But yeah, there’s no excuse for screwing up the planning for NCR site as there are plenty of examples, good and bad, of big urban infill projects. IMHO the planners should be looking at Stewart Street as a whole, not as a boundary, as its going to be the main entry to that UD area from the interstate.

I’m thinking of Stewart as an urban busy street, like Van Ness in San Francisco or a section line street like Ashland or Western in Chicago.


Gosh, light rail. How often has this been talked about?

The earliest plan for rail rapid transit for Dayton dates from the early/mid ’60s.

Josh Frederick
Josh Frederick
First off, I will say that it is good to hear of some planning going on in the city of Dayton again. I personally believe the problem of creating a cohesive downtown is the disparity in distance of the points of interest in and around downtown and the lack of information regarding those sites. Take 5 sites for instance; The Dragons Baseball stadium, The Dayton Convention Center, The Art Institute, The Montgomery County Fairgrounds, and The Oregon District. All 5 are vital to the health and economy of Dayton and yet there is no overt connection between any of them. The Oregon District has some proximity to the Convention Center and even a lesser tie to the baseball stadium, but for the most part all 5 are significantly separated. At one point several years ago I proposed building map kiosks around the city at points of interest hoping to give more site to the overall attractions of the city. (i was not taken seriously unfortunately). Most people in the suburbs seem willing to make the trek in town for a Dragons game, but I think most either are unnerved or ignorant about the other opportunities in downtown. Having kiosks with information regarding points of interest, restaurants and hotels would be a perfect way of generating interest in the city again. In addition, The kiosks could offer advertising space, more than offsetting building and upkeep costs. Take the UD Arena as another example. Flyers basketball has always been a well supported commodity in the area as well as the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments hosted there. Yet, there is no tie in to the rest of the city for those attending any basketball event, especially for those people who are from out of town. I can only imagine that the majority of game goers end up back home or at their hotels after the game, when they could be directed to other opportunities in the are as well. In short, we haven’t supported our own assets, let alone the proposed ones! To that point I will say that partnering MVH,… Read more »
David Esrati
David Esrati

Thanks for your comments- I’ve been pushing for directional signage and street level ads for a while- to no avail. Some of the RTA bus stops actually have the cabinet- but won’t sell the space.
Maybe with the new ad plans for the buses- we may see someone selling bus stop ads too.
I’ve also asked for a unified parking signage system.


JOSH for MAYOR…………..


Patterson School site ( the ragtag buildings between the Victoria and Jefferson) would make an outstanding large public parking lot.

It would provide parking for Victoria and Loft and Uno/Club 88/Arthurs patrons.

It would provide event parking for Cityfolk Festival, Celtic Fest, and other Riverscape events.

It would provide competetion to the price gouging by private parking lots.

Bill Pote

Jeff – surface parking lots are a negative to downtown, not a positive. In fact, I think there should be a ban on any additional surface parking lots. They are eye sores and waste valuable space that could otherwise be used for people (retail, restaurants, residential, etc) rather than automobiles.

Instead, we should be building parking garages in strategic places with retail on the bottom floor. They are more expensive, yes – but bring much more value to downtown.

For an interesting take on parking lots, go to


Eye sore – ahh… buildings with no commercial tenants are eye sores, and parking lots as well, but we need to get people to move/start up businesses downtown, these businesses will want easy/close parking.

Bill, I am not sure what you mean by valuable space, involving retail, restaurants and residential……..There is no real retail downtown, a small number of restaurants, a small amount of residential, but not enough to warrant a new parking garage. The idea should be to attract these businesses, and if this includes parking spaces next to restaurants/retail, then so be it. It is better than what is downtown now, which is …….NOTHING.

Nobody likes to park in a garage, no one wants to climb stairs, these are just facts about most Americans. IF, and ONLY IF Downtown buildings/office spaces/commercial spaces were in demand, then we would need more parking garages. As of now, people do not want to go downtown, so we need to accommodate future business growth, by getting business downtown first (with easy parking) not work in reverse. Businesses with easy access parking should be first and foremost. Just ask 100 people in the region why they hate downtown, and parking is in the Top 3.