Ohio River Way supports $152 million investment in Ohio’s Appalachian waterfront development


CINCINNATI— The regional nonprofit Ohio River Way voiced enthusiastic support for Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement of a $152 million investment in transformational projects along Ohio’s Appalachian waterfront. Spanning 17 riverfront projects, this funding will increase access to local waterways, revitalize historic riverfront downtowns and create opportunities for tourism and recreation.

“Since our founding in 2003, the Ohio River Way has been championing a new vision of thriving communities that embrace the Ohio River,” explained Brewster Rhoads, Chair of the Ohio River Way and founder of the Ohio River Paddlefest. “This historic investment marks the biggest milestone yet in making that vision a reality.”

The projects encompass a wide range of improvements including river-to-downtown connections, downtown redevelopment, streetscape enhancements, and the addition of new boat ramps, docks, and parks. These initiatives are designed to improve walkability within communities and boost tourism by enhancing the riverfronts.

“When we launched this program, we asked our Appalachian communities to think big, and that’s exactly what they did,” said Governor DeWine. “The projects we’re announcing today were developed by those living in our Appalachian riverfront communities because no one knows what’s needed to make this region thrive better than those who live here.”

Securing this funding required significant collaboration between leaders in communities and organizations along the Ohio River. As part of this process, the Ohio River Way was on the ground in river towns connecting local leaders with each other, working with community planners and helping envision how this funding could best be used.

The 17 riverfront communities receiving funding include Beverly, Portsmouth, Marietta, Gallipolis, Sardis, Higginsport, Ironton, South Point, Burlington, Ripley, Racine, Proctorville, New Richmond, Pomeroy, McConnelsville, Middleport and Zanesville.

Mark Noll, Executive Director of the Ohio River Way, remarked, “We are thrilled by Ohio’s game-changing riverfront investments in communities along the Ohio River. The river is a vital asset that deserves to be celebrated, and these investments will greatly enhance access to recreation, boost tourism and stimulate economic development, significantly improving the quality of life for our residents.”

Funding for Ohio’s Wonderful Waterfronts Initiative is part of the larger Appalachian Community Grant Program, which has committed $500 million to Ohio’s 32-county Appalachian region. The Ohio River Way is committed to working alongside the state and these communities to ensure the success of these transformative projects. The State of Ohio will announce additional grants for waterfront communities in the coming days.

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