A plan to bring a kayak launch to the Great Miami River could be the start of more river development in Hamilton.
Daniel Tidyman, city clerk and special projects manager, told City Council at its most recent meeting, in conjunction with the planning and engineering departments, this project is based on the city’s River Master Plan, which is part of the Hamilton comprehensive plan that set a goal of increasing activity along and access to the Great Miami River.
The kayak launch will be just under an $80,000 project, and the city would need to pay 25% of the project cost, based on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks Grant. While reviewing the grant application, they determined the kayak launch next to Marcum Park and RiversEdge was the best option because there’s already a ramp that already leads down to the Great Miami River Trail, and it’s a centralized location.
“We felt this was the best option to apply for this grant, and also we felt if there were funds out there, we should try to apply for them. And, if anything, this could be the start to increase more development along the river,” Tidyman said.
Staff attempted to seek an ODNR Paddling Enhancement Grant in late 2022, but he said they were not awarding it at that time. They pivoted and sought the NatureWorks Grant.
“The goal of this project is to establish an accessible access point into the Great Miami River for kayakers and other non-motorized boats from downtown Hamilton,” according to the report from Tidyman, Planning Director Liz Hayden, and Associate Civil Engineer Chad Harville. “It will be a sloped concrete pad from the Great Miami River Recreational Trail into the river where it is currently mud and weeds.”
When the city was seeking public input on its River Master Plan, residents identified non-motorized watercraft activities as a top priority for activating the river.
The River Master Plan states: “The river between the dams is ideal for this type of boating. Special events that promote rowing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding should be encouraged. The new access ramp to the river at Marcum Park and RiversEdge Amphitheater should be leveraged for more engagement with the river.”