Great Miami Riverway summit in Hamilton to feature Spooky Nook developer

Spooky Nook Sports founder Sam Beiler speaks during a tour of construction at Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in Hamilton. The multi-use sports and convention complex will have over a million square feet of space and is expected to be completed in December of 2021. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Spooky Nook Sports founder Sam Beiler speaks during a tour of construction at Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in Hamilton. The multi-use sports and convention complex will have over a million square feet of space and is expected to be completed in December of 2021. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Sam Beiler, who is developing North America’s largest indoor sports complex, will be the keynote speaker April 30 at the Great Miami Riverway Summit, an annual event that attracts people from the 99-mile route from from Sidney to Hamilton.

“Sam’s going to talk about the lead-in to their opening later this year,” said Dan Foley, director of the Great Miami Riverway, an effort to attract local and national tourists to activities in communities along the river in cities that include Hamilton, Middletown, Franklin, Miamisburg and Dayton.

Beiler will discuss how he is repurposing the 19th century Champion Paper mill into a $144 million, 1.3-million-square-foot Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, and the anticipated economic impact it will have when it opens around the end of this year.

It is expected to attract 10,000 or more athletes and their families some weekends for tournaments and athletic training. It also will include at least one hotel and one of the region’s largest convention centers.

Meanwhile, City Manager Joshua Smith will discuss how the city attracted Spooky Nook and helped make it a reality.

There will be updates on the city’s downtown revitalization and its future plans, with guided and self-led tours showing off downtown improvements, murals and other points of interest.

Riverway officials, meanwhile, will spotlight the Riverway’s 2020 achievements and programs that will happen this year.

ExploreRegional tourism: Great Miami Riverway more than the river, bike path
Renderings of new shade sails, seating and furniture at RiverScape River Run. CONTRIBUTED
Renderings of new shade sails, seating and furniture at RiverScape River Run. CONTRIBUTED

The event will be under Hamilton’s McDulin parking garage at Market Street between 2nd and 3rd streets. The area will be covered to protect people from the elements. Attendees will gather “carefully in person,” he said, with physical distancing and masks.

The summit will happen from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are available at tinyurl.com/2021RiverwaySummit . The event, open to the public and business owners, costs $30 to attend, with free parking in the garage for participants.

Foley asks that people register by Monday, April 26, so the organization has an accurate count for the caterers.

Here are some highlights of things happening along the riverway recently:

In Dayton, where it is possible to surf the Great Miami River, it recently was announced that Five Rivers MetroParks will install new shade sails, seating and furniture along the south bank of RiverScape River Run to increase the comfort of visitors.

The RiverScape River Run provides a seven-mile paddle from Eastwood MetroPark along the Mad River, through Dayton’s downtown to the Carillion Historical park and University of Dayton area.

The RiverScape provides a rare chance for canoers, paddleboarders and kayakers — even surfers — to connect with the river in urban core of a city. That area of the river also offers a smooth-water passageway for novice paddlers and a “whitewater play feature” for the more experienced.

To learn more about the surfing, people can visit https://www.surfdayton.com, and for other sports and locations, Five Rivers MetroParks at https://www.metroparks.org

ExploreFive Rivers MetroParks to add amenities to the banks of RiverScape River Run

Along the Riverway, biking and hiking paths now are nearly complete along the 99-mile route from Hamilton to Sidney, with only small gaps remaining, and those have plans for construction.

In Hamilton, Great Miami Rowing this year hired Marc Oria, who has coached Olympians, as its coach.

ExploreCoach who has tutored Olympians takes over lead of Great Miami Rowing, hopes to expand

Downriver, in Hamilton County, Great Parks of Hamilton County joined the Riverway effort, with plans to eventually create a biking/hiking path along the sections of the river it owns.

ExploreBig expansion for Great Miami Riverway: south into Hamilton County

Way upriver, in Troy, people can experience Ohio’s “first and only public floating-tent experience. Treasure Island Park there offers the “Float Troy experience,” which uses Shoal floating tents that are manufactured in Miami County by Smithfly. The Shoal Tent is a first-of-its-kind inflatable, floating raft with a tent topper that lets campers literally sleep out on the water.

ExploreFrom 2018: ‘Park5,’ atop Hamilton’s McDulin parking garage, is open