Kayakers will be happy to see the low dam gone from downtown Dayton.
By Steve Bennish, Staff Writer
Updated 12:35 AM Thursday, August 18, 2011
DAYTON — Sun-kissed and a little damp, dozens of University of Dayton students, faculty, staff and collaborators hauled kayaks and gear out of the Great Miami River and walked them by the Monument Avenue low dam downtown Wednesday afternoon before re-entering the water on the other side.
It was the third of four portages required during a two-day educational trip from the Taylorsville Dam to Sunwatch Indian Village. It’s an annual trip with overnight camping along the river organized by UD, but many hope it will be the last time the Monument Avenue low dam portage is necessary.
Plans are under way to demolish and remove the hazardous low dam and install two rock structures that would provide safe passage for canoes and kayaks.
The plans got a boost last month when executives with Cox Enterprises, the parent company of the Dayton Daily News, announced that the James M. Cox Foundation will provide a $1 million challenge grant toward the estimated $4 million project.
It’s a top priority for the Downtown Dayton Plan, which calls for attracting thousands of people to live in a revitalized downtown. According to the latest projections, construction would begin in early 2013.
On Wednesday night, Dayton City Commission voted 5-0 to approve a resolution asking the Miami Conservancy District to transfer all rights, title and interest in the Dayton Low Dam to Five Rivers MetroParks so the dam can be removed and the river kayak project can go forward.
“We’re happy to see this project moving along,” said Leslie King, coordinator of the University’s Rivers Institute.
She said the Institute has been “a vocal advocate for removal of the low dam since 2006, primarily for safety reasons and also to improve the ecological and economic health of the river. We want to see people back in the water, enjoying their rivers.”
Staff Writer Jeremy P. Kelley contributed to this report.