Dayton, OH
Redevelopment Vision

Premier Health and the University of Dayton are anchor institutions in the region with strong traditions of service and giving back to the Dayton community. Planning NEXT was selected by the two institutions to develop a vision for 38 acres on Dayton’s South Main Street, the former home of the Montgomery County fairgrounds. This project was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish a vision that would serve the missions of the two anchors, align development of the 38 acres with downtown revitalization, and serve the broader interests of the Dayton community.

Interactive Engagement

The planning process kicked off in the fall of 2017. Planning NEXT facilitated engagement workshops that included smartphone polling, paper surveys, and interactive stations where community members could talk with consultant team members. Online engagement opportunities were offered following each workshop. Over 850 people were engaged offering ideas, feedback and comments during the process.

Historic Structure Restoration

The 38-acre fairgrounds site contained a historic Roundhouse structure that dated back to the 1800’s. During engagement efforts, the public indicated a strong desire to retain the Roundhouse, so the final vision considered a plan for restoration of the structure. With implementation of the plan, the Roundhouse has potential to serve as an important community gathering space within the site where all people feel welcome to enjoy the historic landmark.

Turning vision into action

In addition to the final vision document, Planning NEXT has continued to work on vital implementation activities. During the process, a technical analysis was completed to translate development opportunities into realistic and financeable implementation initiatives, and a physical assessment considered existing conditions and infrastructure needs. The planning team has since developed an implementation manual as well as an investment prospectus and developer package.

In October 2018, Premier Health and the University of Dayton unveiled the final document and a new name for the site—onMain: Dayton’s Imagination District, which embodied the vision for the site as a place where Dayton’s history of innovation takes off into the future. Outreach to potential funding sources has begun, and Planning NEXT is continuing to work with the institutions on implementation efforts.


Project Type: vision report
Community Type: city
Client: Premier Health and University of Dayton
Services: visioning, public engagement, social media and online engagement