SIDNEY — The first kiosk along the 99-mile-stretch of the Great Miami Riverway (GMR), which begins in Sidney, was installed earlier this month at Custenborder Field.
The GMR is a mixed-use district of charming river towns connected by land and water trails from Sidney to Hamilton.
“What this does is it identifies you are on the Riverway, but also there is a map too that tells you exactly your location, and what amenities are nearby. It shows the downtown. It shows Tawawa Park and trails and things like that too,” said Duane Gaier, Sidney parks and recreation director.
The new kiosk at Custenborder Field is placed to the right of the gate near the play equipment and shelter area. It outlines the entire corridor and signifies the trail’s northernmost point.
“Custenborder Field is the first location there that was identified by the consulting firm the GMR hired to take a look at signage and kiosk locations along that whole corridor from Sidney to Hamilton,” Gaier said. “The second location that we hope to install next year is over by Geib Pavilion. There is a play area up there and an old wooden kiosk up there, and we want to replace that one next.”
Sidney was the first community of the 19 members of the GMR coalition to have a kiosk installed, Gaier said. Other communities along the corridor are also having similar kiosks installed.
The city of Sidney paid $6,396 from the general budget for the new kiosk. Each community pays for its own kiosk.
Gaier said the kiosk at Custenborder is the first of three planned locations along the trail in Sidney. Future plans, he said, are to install the next kiosk in Tawawa Park near Geib Pavilion and the third at the Canal Feeder trailhead in Graceland Cemetery.
The kiosks are placed in areas of “access to the river and trails around that connect to Tawawa Park,” Gaier noted.
“The Riverway is anything associated with the river and trails that are next to the river, so trails that lead off of the Great Miami River into Tawawa Park are included on (the kiosk),” Gaier said.
There is about a half a mile between the Custenborder Field and the location for the second kiosk at Geib Pavilion, which could be placed next summer, since Tawawa Park is a destination for people using the riverway, he said.
“The GMR website also references the Ross Covered Bridge and Big Rock and the amenities that Tawawa Park has for the park user,” Gaier said.
“I think the first year, it took a little longer than it will going into the future now that (all coalition members) are on the same page. Budget times are different for each community or entity, whether it’s a park district or a municipality” Gaier said of the pace of the development of the GMR since it’s 2016 branding became official. “So going forward things will be a little more timely.”
The GMR development has been going on since 2016: first the logo and color schemes and then medallions placed on park and Sidney signs to notify people Sidney is community that is part of the GMR. Gaier said there is also discussion of purchasing and placing way-finding signs to direct people from the trail to destinations in Sidney, like The Spot, for example.
A 2017 economic impact study, released in September, revealed the GMR brings in big money and sustains jobs as a result of tourism created from the pathway.
“The goal of the GMR is to promote this corridor regionally and keep spreading out to make these cities destinations. And so when they see these common colors, common design, they know they are on the Riverway. It’s a two piece thing. It benefits Sidney by telling park users what’s nearby but also that, hey, this is part of the GMR, and this is why we came to this area, for the folks that are from out of town,” Gaier said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.