City Unveils Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Project

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Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2014 7:55 pm | Updated: 8:12 pm, Sun Mar 30, 2014.

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- After months of planning, the city of Piqua, Ohio, publically unveiled the Concept Plan for the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Project. City Manager Gary A. Huff truly believes this project can be a “game changer” for the Piqua community by inspiring both public and private investment for river recreational enhancements, new commercial and retail business opportunities, and downtown living places. The benefits to the community could ultimately result in added investments, attraction of businesses and jobs, new residents, and many more visitors to the city. This ultimately means increased community prosperity and wealth.

The development of the river corridor is not a new idea. The Great Miami River has always been recognized as a tremendous asset. The unanswered question has been how to take advantage of the river for maximum benefit to the Piqua community. Thus, Piqua began their quest months ago to find a solution to this enigma.

Several circumstances fell into place as the city began this venture. A Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund Grant of $1.4 million enabled the city to begin the clean-up of the riverfront behind the old Piqua Power Plant which is currently underway. The Power Plant Riverfront Project will provide much improved aesthetic and recreation enhancements to that section of the river. The city of Piqua was selected by the Ohio Development Services Agency as one of six Ohio localities for a pilot Brownfields Action Plan Program to help communities determine the impacts of brownfield sites on an area-wide scale with the goal of improving the revitalization of these properties. The area in Piqua that was selected for study was the Downtown Riverfront.

The Piqua Brownfield Action Plan was completed in December 2012 involving a number of public input meetings over a period of months. In addition to the study, the city also received a $50,000 grant to provide further detailed analysis of the Downtown Riverfront area. CityVisions Associates of Louisville, Ky., was selected to assess the properties and buildings within the Downtown Riverfront and recommend the viability of redevelopment and provide a concept plan based on the findings.

The Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Concept Plan identifies those buildings that have potential for feasible reuse and eliminates those that garner little or no value. Elimination of some buildings also opens up the riverfront for improved accessibility and recreation opportunities. The city of Piqua already enjoys one of the best trail systems in Ohio and attracts users from all over the state and region. The Piqua Recreational Trail System connects the city to the Great Miami River Recreational Trail which connects to 330 miles of paved interconnected trails linking communities throughout the Dayton and Cincinnati regions. The further redevelopment of the Downtown Riverfront has the potential to capitalize on these assets and make Piqua a tremendously desirable destination.

Another very fortunate benefit came when the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the city two grants totaling $400,000 to conduct environmental assessments on brownfield sites throughout Piqua. These assessments are underway and will help determine if soil contamination is present on any of these sites. If no contamination is found, it improves the ability for private redevelopment investment. If contamination is discovered, there may be additional funding available from the EPA to clean-up the sites and make redevelopment more attractive to companies. The Downtown Riverfront is included in this city-wide assessment.

The overall Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Project needs to be a Public-Private Partnership venture with private investors taking on the restoration of buildings and the city pursuing grants, donations, and other funding sources to develop river-related recreation facilities.

As Piqua moves forward, more public meetings will be held to solicit input, attract investors, generate ideas for specific activities and facilities, and hopefully encourage community support for the project. The city has a great opportunity to do something very extraordinary that could well determine the future of Piqua.

SOURCE: Alliance for Innovation

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