SIDNEY — Duane Gaier, parks and recreation director for the city of Sidney, is the new chairperson of the Great Miami Riverway Coalition.
The Great Miami Riverway is a regional destination from Sidney to Hamilton, focused on economic investment, tourism, and workforce attraction. It is 99 miles of river, paved trails, natural beauty, and vibrant city waterfronts. While each city retains its own unique identity, the Great Miami Riverway links them together to create a dynamic, active, and welcoming district with a shared sense of place.
In his role as chair of the Riverway Coalition, Gaier will work with all Riverway communities and agencies to:
• Attract more visitors.
• Support economic development.
• Strengthen river corridor neighborhoods.
• Increase the use of recreational, historical and cultural assets.
“I’m looking forward to working with Dan (Foley) and the coalition members in the coming year,” said Gaier. “The Riverway has built a regional destination along the corridor to draw visitors into the member communities. This organization has rejuvenated the trail extension discussion locally and worked with Sidney Alive and the Sidney Visitors Bureau to promote the events and attractions in the downtown and along the river and trail corridor, making Sidney a destination for the region. There is value in the economic engine that tourism creates and this organization helps Sidney benefit from the visitors.”
Gaier started with the city of Sidney parks department in June 1999 and became the parks and recreation director in the fall of 2008. During his tenure, he’s worked to extend the Canal Feeder Trail an additional 2.5 miles, with a goal of connecting it to the Great Miami River Recreational Trail. Under his leadership, park acreage in Sidney has increased from 350 acres to more than 450 acres, including the addition of a 35-acre nature preserve, additional canal land for trail development, and more neighborhood parkland.
“Duane has been an advocate for the Great Miami Riverway from the start,” said Dan Foley, Great Miami Riverway director. “His experience with the city of Sidney and his ability to collaborate with all of the jurisdictions up and down the Riverway will help us continue to make the Riverway one of the premier economic and tourist attractions in the Midwest and beyond. We’re grateful for his leadership.”
The Great Miami Riverway, a program of the Miami Conservancy District (MCD), was formed in 2016 at the request of the river communities along the corridor. The Riverway hired its first full-time staff member in 2017.
“This place-making effort is an outgrowth of the 2014 study of recreational assets on 99 miles of the Great Miami River done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE),” says Janet Bly, MCD general manager. “One of the strongest recommendations by USACE was for the region to build a strong, unified identity for the Great Miami River.”
The Riverway is home to Ohio’s only federally designated National Water Trail. An August 2018 study by Tourism Economics determined the Riverway generated $773 million in economic impact and supported over 9,100 jobs.
The following communities and organizations are members of the Great Miami Riverway: Sidney, Piqua, Troy, Tipp City, Dayton, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown, Hamilton, Miami County Commissioners, Montgomery County Commissioners, Miami County Park District, Five Rivers MetroParks, MetroParks of Butler County and Miami Conservancy District (MCD).