Today, there are many options for people to spend their leisure time. Cities offer a broad range of entertainment options, and the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan puts the spotlight on existing amenities and looks to add more features that not only bring in millions of guests, but attract businesses and residents who want to be close to the action.
A vibrant, diverse and thriving downtown requires a strong arts community and a variety of entertainment options. The arts, along with other unique entertainment amenities and public events, draw crowds to our center city and have a multimillion-dollar economic impact on downtown every year. Studies show the arts are the third most important factor, behind the economy and schools, considered by businesses and employees in relocation discussions.
Creating new active lifestyle options also is important as people choose to live, work and play in places that support their desire for walking, biking and use of public transit. Downtown is the hub of the largest regional bikeway system in the country and, since the launch of the Plan, there now are an additional 42.5 miles of regional trails connected to downtown’s bikeways. Funding is secured for a bike share program, which will launch in 2015 and feature 22 stations and more than 200 bikes in greater downtown.
Dayton's access to high-quality waterways also make downtown a recreation destination. A vision of a 98-mile recreation and entertainment district along the Great Miami and Mad rivers is shared by 11 cities. Greater downtown has become the hub of this district and, by building on existing strengths, new and exciting activities that offer a variety of river experiences can be created. The fully funded $4 million RiverScape River Run project will open the downtown river to a cascade of additional opportunities, including a whitewater-style passage for paddle-sport enthusiasts.
Growing and strengthening these signature downtown amenities is important as we strive to increase that impact. A critical component to this mix is public spaces programming and an effort needs to be made to address the attraction and retention of key events in the Greater Downtown. Key objectives of the Plan moving forward include continuing to position the greater downtown as the premier destination for the region and increasing the depth and breadth of programming options in public spaces.
Plan goals include:
- Develop a broad-based event and public space programming strategy by 2016 that provides solutions to current challenges and identifies long-term funding sustainability.
- Increase participation in Courthouse Square programming events by 10%.
- Develop an action-orientated, collaborative cross-promotion and PR plan on an annual basis.
- Identify capital and operating funding plans for three priority projects identified in the Greater Downtown Dayton Riverfront Master Plan.
- Double cycling mode share compared to 2014 levels in the Greater Downtown.
- Increase the number of people renting canoes and kayaks for the downtown river by five times over 2012 levels.
Greater downtown is the business hub of the Dayton region. The global, innovation-driven economy and growing migration of talent to urban areas present many opportunities for downtown to strengthen its position as the center for commerce in the Miami Valley. Health care, technology and education are big contributors poised for future growth. That's why business and economic development are key components of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan.
New first floor businesses have been "popping up" across downtown. The increase in street level occupancy has been substantial – since the launch of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan, more than 40,000 square feet of first floor space has been filled downtown. The Activated Spaces Pop-up Shop Project has led the way by launching 16 new downtown businesses.
Entrepreneurs also have a supportive home downtown. Tech Town continues to incubate and grow technology start-ups, including its current lineup of about 45 small businesses. Capitalizing on the success of the nearby Entrepreneurs Center and the Creative Technology Accelerator, the campus recently expanded with a new 50,000 SF office building built in 2011.
Greater Downtown Dayton Plan goals include:
- Catalyze another $500 million of public and private investment in the Greater Downtown by 2020.
- Retain and grow Greater Downtown’s workforce by 4,500 jobs by 2020.
- Increase the appraised property value in downtown’s core by 25% by 2020.
- Increase the occupied first floor space in downtown’s core by 20% by 2020.
Nationwide, walkable cities rich with culture and entertainment options are the preferred living environment. The Greater Downtown Dayton Plan focuses on using existing amenities and adding features that will make our city an urban neighborhood with 18-hour-a-day vibrancy attractive to people and businesses.
Downtown’s neighborhood is growing. Condo and apartment options across the greater downtown have increased by 320 units since 2010 and the population in downtown’s core has been increasing since 2000. The number of downtown condos alone has increased by 75% since the launch of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan, with many of these new units selling before construction even finished. Consistently increasing sales prices show demand remains strong.
The historical neighborhoods surrounding downtown also provide excellent opportunities for urban living. Many of these homes have been carefully restored, and on weekends owners are often hard at work renovating the homes yet to be refurbished. This work is paying off – in a period from 2011 to 2014 when most of the residential property in the region dramatically declined in value, the 1,875 residential properties in the ten historical districts increased in value by 14.4%. ( Source: Dayton Daily News).
Apartment seekers contend with a competitive market downtown. 240 units have come online since 2010, but demand is still outpacing supply. For four straight years, downtown Dayton has had the tightest apartment market in the region; typically at an occupancy rate of 96 to 98%. Seeing an investment opportunity, developers have plans in the works to add another 445 units.
Plan goals include:
- Create an urban neighborhood with 18-hour-a-day street activity by developing 2,500 new housing units between 2010 and 2020.
- Increase the residential population in downtown’s core by 50% by 2020.
- Create a multimillion-dollar fund to assist in the development and financing of housing projects in the greater downtown.