Dayton, OH
Redevelopment Vision

Premier Health and the University of Dayton are anchor institutions in a region marked by strong traditions of service. So, it was only natural that, together, they’d want to advance the Dayton community where and how they could. Planning NEXT was privileged to help them develop a once-in-a-generation vision and align development of 38 acres on South Main Street with downtown revitalization and the region’s innovation ethos—all to the benefit of those living and working in Dayton. Planning NEXT lead the public engagement effort, combining it with a technical analysis to develop a vision and a plan for an innovation district known as onMain: Dayton’s Imagination District—a place replete with vibrant, pioneering, next-generation visioners, creatives, and trailblazers.

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

During the process, a technical analysis was completed to translate development opportunities into realistic and financeable implementation initiatives. This included physical design, economic analysis, and an engineering assessment focused on infrastructure needs. In October 2018, Premier Health and the University of Dayton unveiled the final vision and a new name for the initiative—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. In January of 2019 a development non-profit organization was established to guide this complex, multi-year development effort. Outreach to potential funding sources has begun and so far, a $3.5 million JobsOhio grant for infrastrcuture improvements has been secured. Planning NEXT is continuing to work as the implementation manager on efforts such as rezoning, site design, engineering, and financing.

Creating quality places

onMain is a place that prioritizes high-quality public realm and buildings designed in an intentional way. The district is not just a development, but a neighborhood that will promote principles such as sustainable values, advanced technology, and healthy living choices in an integrated way that respects the site’s history and environmental context.


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