Great Miami Riverway hopes to boost tourism in Miami Valley

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - 2018 will bring some changes to a major waterway in the Miami Valley. At the Montgomery County Commission meeting Tuesday, the Miami Conservancy District and Great Miami Riverway coordinators touted details about a massive partnership along the river corridor.

Nineteen communities between Sidney in Shelby County and Hamilton in Butler County have signed on as partners in the campaign to develop and promote sites, attractions and recreation on the Great Miami River.

Tuesday, Great Miami Riverway coordinator Elizabeth Connor unveiled the project slogan "Find Your Way."

"We really want to make sure that everyone in this region understands how amazing the riverway is," Connor said.

Connor explained that the riverway refers not only to the river itself, but to the surrounding communities as well. Partners have already invested close to $1 million in the project, in addition to more than $500 million the communities put into independent riverfront development.

A 2014 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey found the 99-mile corridor between Sidney and Hamilton contained 20 boat ramps, 65 access points and a high concentration of landmarks and cultural attractions. The federal agency said the region lacked the cohesive brand and singular message to link all of its points of interest along the Great Miami River.

"It's our mountain, it's our ocean and we have so many interesting museums and cultural assets along the way, as well as all of this great recreation," said watershed partnerships manager Sarah Hippensteel Hall, of the Miami Conservancy District.

Hippensteel Hall said the initiative continues to garner support as the project progresses and community realize the economic implications of a far-reaching brand.

Connor explained the riverside towns and river itself could help each other boost tourism in the region.

"If you're shopping downtown, you can also go to the river. If you're kayaking, you can get out and go to one of the museums," Connor said.

An official Great Miami Riverway website is launching in March. Later in the year, the organization will start posting signage and information kiosks along the 99-mile route.

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