Fairgrounds to Future Enters New Phase

By 06/13/2018 News

Financing, Making Site Development Ready Will Be Key Focus in Coming Months

The planning process for the redevelopment of the former Montgomery County fairgrounds has entered a new phase.

The property’s owners, Premier Health and the University of Dayton, are taking the steps necessary to make the 38 acres ready for development and to complete a long-term vision for the property’s transformation.

Outreach to potential funding sources has begun, a process that is likely to take at least 12 to 24 months before any new construction might occur on the property. Such partnerships could fund initial phases of the property’s redevelopment, including roadways, utilities, water and sewer, and selective demolition of existing structures.
In addition, as they finalize the preliminary vision unveiled in January, Premier Health and the University are creating the governance structure needed for day-to-day oversight as the project unfolds.

As is typical with large, complex development projects that involve many community partners, a complete transformation of the property will occur in phases and could take 15 to 20 years to achieve the full vision across all of the developable land. Premier Health and the University purchased the 38-acre site in 2017 and have been working on a long-range vision for the property that builds upon their institutional missions and values, promotes economic development, and fosters a unique sense of place that serves broad community interests.

The intermediate steps toward financing and implementation follow a broad-based planning process through which more than 850 people offered ideas, feedback and comments. Input came from meetings with the public and key stakeholders and was carefully considered in developing a preliminary vision for the property’s redevelopment.

“This is not your typical capital development,” said Mary Boosalis, CEO and president of Premier Health. “We have an ambitious vision that will take considerable public and private support to realize. As we said from the beginning, we want to do this right versus fast, and that will take time.”

“As is standard in any new development, our early emphasis is putting in place the resources and partnerships to support and ensure the success of the vision we introduced in January,” said University President Eric F. Spina. “The vision remains the same: to create a vibrant, mixed-use development that builds on Dayton’s history of innovation and entrepreneurship and can propel our next wave of jobs and opportunity.”

While Premier Health and Encompass Health construct a freestanding rehabilitation hospital north of the former fairgrounds near Miami Valley Hospital, hospital employees will temporarily utilize a portion of the north end of the property for parking.

Following the recent transfer of possession of the 38 acres this spring to Premier Health and UD from the Montgomery County Agricultural Society, passersby are seeing some changes to the property, including the installation of landscaping and iron gates.

Other activities also will be occurring on the property as necessary to prepare it for redevelopment. Selective demolition of some structures may occur during the second half of 2018, but will not include the historic Roundhouse, which will be preserved. A property management firm has been hired to maintain the grounds and keep buildings secure.