Council hears update on Great Miami Valley Riverway

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council heard a presentation on the Great Miami Valley Riverway during its Monday evening meeting.

Dan Foley, director of the Great Miami Riverway, provided City Council with an update on the organization’s activities as well as details on its strategic priorities. The Great Miami Riverway is more than 99 miles of river and paved trails, it is the entire riverway region. Foley said it includes the towns and nature connected by the river, and the activities and events that happen along the riverway.

The Great Miami Riverway is Ohio’s only federally-designated National Water Trail. The Great Miami River Recreation Trail was named best in Ohio by Ohio Magazine, Foley said.

The city of Sidney is the gateway to the riverway and is one of its 20 coalition members. Approximately .9 miles of the riverway’s recreational trail in Sidney has yet to be completed, which will extend the Canal Feeder Trail to Piqua.

Coalition members have invested $1 million over five years on the riverway initiative, Foley said.

“Our brand is strongest when public and private (entities) join together in a shared vision,” he said.

During his presentation, Foley shared four strategic priorities identified by the organization. He displayed various charts showing land and water connectivity to the Great Miami Riverway of canal cities, Interstate 75, and information on the Miami Conservancy District flood protection system. Aside from trail connectivity, other priorities he detailed with numerous pictures or graphs included: building on the identity and expanding the awareness of the riverway, increasing investments in riverfront development along the river and in riverway communities, and restructuring the riverway coalition and broadening the funding platform.

The goal is to build a strong, vibrant network of communities connected along 99 miles of river by increasing economic and community investment to attract customers, jobs, and talented workers to central and southwest Ohio, Foley said at the conclusion of his presentation.

Mayor Mike Barhorst asked about the pricing of the data collection being used by the Great Miami Valley Riverway to track cell phone activity along the trail using geo-fencing. Foley said initially it proved difficult to determine whether an object was a person or animal on the river. However, now approximately $23,000 is being spent over a three-year-period to quantify trail user activities using cell phone data.

Foley also told council members when he returns for his next presentation in coming months, he will provide a five-year plan for the organization.

At the end of the meeting during city staff comments, Public Works Director Jon Crusey informed City Council the final course of asphalt on the Franklin Street project did not pass inspection and the contractor would be returning this week to mill the top layer and repave the roadway.

City Manager Mark Cundiff reminded all city offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 6, in observance of the Labor Day holiday, and that trash collection would be delayed one day the entire week. He also reminded everyone the September City Council workshop meeting will be held on Tuesday evening instead of Monday because of the holiday. A review of the city’s proposed 2022-2026 five year plan is scheduled for the Sept. 7 meeting.

In final business, City Council went into an executive session to consider the employment of a public official/employee, and possible investment or expenditure of public funds to be made in connection with an economic development project. Council also held a special meeting Monday morning to hold an executive session to discuss the employment of a public employee/official. No action was taken by council members after they emerged from either session.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.