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Courthouse Square

“This grant is absolutely transformative for the Courthouse Square project.”

—Sandra K. Gudorf, Downtown Dayton Partnership

Downtown Dayton Partnership

Created in the 1970s, Courthouse Square was once one of the big success stories of urban renewal in Dayton and proudly boasts a central location near the city’s public transit system hub.

Today, the space serves as the site of Dayton’s holiday festival, which attracts 30,000 people the day after Thanksgiving. However, the plaza has also fallen into disrepair and some features like the fountain no longer work. Below-ground commercial spaces that were once used as restaurants and public restrooms were shut down many years ago. Though thousands of students from the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College are in the blocks near Courthouse Square on a daily basis, Dayton’s downtown, like many others across the nation, has seen a decrease in office workers due to the rise of remote work, and some events are sparsely attended and the square lies mostly underutilized.

As a recipient of a Community Placemaking Grant, the Downtown Dayton Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to improving downtown Dayton, will have the resources to activate the plaza, make it an accessible community gathering place, and encourage people to return to this central business district. “Courthouse Square is the geographical center of our downtown, and bringing new life and energy to the space means so much for our community and the growing momentum we have downtown,” says Sandra K. Gudorf, President of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. Some of their early ideas include hosting a market, pop-up comedy shows, comfortable year-round seating, more green space with trees and grass, and a return of the fountain—all additions that would help contribute to a renewed sense of vitality.

The plaza behind the courthouse features an exciting canvas for placemaking. Credit: Downtown Dayton Partnership
The site has adjacent commercial spaces that were once used as restaurants and public restrooms, but are currently shuttered. Credit: Downtown Dayton Partnership
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