A natural connection


Riverway links residents and communities

By Blythe Alspaugh - [email protected]



Duane Gaier, director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Sidney and Riverway Coalition Chair, welcomes attendees of the 2022 Riverway Summit and gives updates regarding Sidney’s partnership with the Great Miami Riverway.

Duane Gaier, director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Sidney and Riverway Coalition Chair, welcomes attendees of the 2022 Riverway Summit and gives updates regarding Sidney’s partnership with the Great Miami Riverway.


DAYTON — Incorporating community assets and building upon local history has been essential in developing local communities alongside the Great Miami Riverway.

“With an increase in interest in activity downtown, I know Sidney has benefited from this partnership. A surge in storefront businesses and restaurants popping up in the downtown, along with connecting the Great Miami Riverway Recreation Trail to our friends along the corridor validates that this group is helping to make a difference,” Sidney Parks and Recreation Director and Riverway Coalition Chair Duane Gaier said.

The economic development of downtown Piqua and Sidney was a strong focus at the 2022 Riverway Summit, held Friday, April 1, at Carillon Park. Keynote speakers Bill Weyland and Barry Alberts spoke about the new development initiatives in Piqua and Sidney, as well as place-based development initiatives. Weyland and Alberts, of Weyland Ventures, have worked with Piqua and Sidney as well as other communities along the Miami Riverway on designing and developing their riverfront strategy plans.

“The river here is, in fact, the greatest asset for communities along it, and the work that’s being done only increases the value of this asset,” Alberts said. “Our strategy is building on, celebrating and reinforcing these communities.”

A major part of the development of downtown Piqua includes bringing in Crooked Handle Brewing Company, a craft brewery that first opened in Springboro in 2015. The second home of Crooked Handle will be the Piqua Granite and Marble building, adjacent to Lock 9 Park.

The 10,000-square foot building, dating back to the early 1900s, was previously occupied by motorcycle and car dealerships. Renovations for the building include removing partitions and equipment that remains in the space, in order to better highlight the historic character of the building. The renovated structure will include a brewery, warehouse, beer garden, a full kitchen, and an event space.

In Sidney, the assets that Weyland and Alberts wanted to focus on included local parks and the trail system, the Big Four Bridge, the Spot Restaurant and naturally, the river. They also wanted to focus on highlighting the many historic buildings in downtown Sidney, such as the “Jewel Box” Bank, while celebrating Sidney’s adjacency to Jackson Center, home of Airstream. Part of the development of downtown will include “Airstream Alley,” a pocket park where residents and visitors alike can gather as they explore downtown and all the business and activities offered within the community.

Highlighting historic buildings and architecture includes a project such as turning the old jail into a restaurant, according to Alberts, who said that many people like that former community structures can be used in new and interesting ways.

“In larger cities like Cincinnati or Columbus, projects like this may just be a small fish, but in a town like Sidney, it’s another reason why people would find it’s a nice place to either live or visit,” Alberts said.

As the development of downtown Sidney continues, so does the goal of bringing in more residents that will find the community an enriching place to live.

“We want people to live here and love living here, and that’s all part of life — being able to go to parks, and the bike path, and the Miami Riverway. It’s all really wonderful things that families like to do. You like to live where you can do things,” Sidney Mayor Mardie Milligan said. “I don’t think you should ever stop reinventing yourself; Sidney’s a great place, Ohio’s a great place, the Miami Valley is a great place. We like to be part of that, and it’s wonderful to be part of this group of talent and cities along the Great Miami Riverway.”

Duane Gaier, director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Sidney and Riverway Coalition Chair, welcomes attendees of the 2022 Riverway Summit and gives updates regarding Sidney’s partnership with the Great Miami Riverway.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/04/web1_DG-1.jpgDuane Gaier, director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Sidney and Riverway Coalition Chair, welcomes attendees of the 2022 Riverway Summit and gives updates regarding Sidney’s partnership with the Great Miami Riverway.
Riverway links residents and communities

By Blythe Alspaugh

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.