Dayton, Ohio is a river city. The Great Miami River has its confluence with three of its major tributaries in downtown Dayton. But Dayton turned its back on its beautiful rivers after the devastating 1913 flood that destroyed downtown Dayton and killed hundreds. By the 1970s, Dayton’s rivers, like many cities in the rust belt where more industrial that natural. Over time that has changed, part-conservation, part-recreation, The Mad River Whitewater Park project proejct is located adjacent to Eastwood MetroPark and just three miles upstream of downtown Dayton. The project sought to stabilize a key City of Dayton underwater water main crossing, while stabilizing banks, removing invasive species and providing a play spot for a growing local whitewater community. After almost six years of planning, design, permits and fund raising the Mad River project was opened 2013.

This project served as a pilot river project which gave the community confidence that a larger river feature in downtown Dayton, the so-called RiverScape River Run could improve river health, remove a dangerous low dam and provide downstream navigation. This key amenity located near Dayton’s riverfront park and millions of dollars of new commercial and residential development  is currently under construction and is set to open in 2017.

Photo courtesy of Five Rivers MetroParks