By: Meggie Welch – Staff Writer
Old River Park, which opened in 1939 for use by NCR Corporation employees and families, has been closed for almost 20 years. When the university acquired 1700 South Patterson Building, they gained the park as well, according to University of Dayton president Dan Curran.
Curran and his team saw potential for the park, and worked to create a “place of peace” for students and nonprofit organizations.
UD revitalized the area and hoped it would become a place for students to not only go and reflect and be with nature, but also to improve their wellness.
According to Curran, Old River Park will now offer a wide “array of recreation and wellness activities” and will “give students the opportunity to do something different.”
On Sept. 22, Old River Park opened its gates for a blessing and dedication ceremony.
A 45-acre portion of the park was accessible during the event and included a blessing by the Rev. James Fitz, kayaking and canoeing demos, fitness classes and disc golf.
Erin Fox, a junior graphic design major, said she hopes more of the park will be open soon.
Fox took advantage of the blessing and dedication event by kayaking on Old River Park’s 1.5 mile scenic moat.
“It was fun, I think I’ll do more paddling, especially when it’s such good weather,” she said.
The goal of Old River Park, according to their website, is to “provide new recreational experiences within nature, expand recreation opportunities and health and wellness programs and to generate student interest and demand.”
Melissa Longino, director of campus recreation, said they were very excited to get UD students out into nature and to build wellness they can use for the rest of their lives.
UD campus recreation will offer free classes such as yoga, TRX,and boot camp, as well as informal events such as corn hole and disc golf.
In addition, the park currently boasts two miles of walking paths, a boat house, pavilion and a stage wired for sound.
The park is less than a mile away from campus and is easy to bike, run or walk to; however, UD campus recreation will also run shuttles from the RecPlex to Old River Park during scheduled events.
Longino is excited about the future of the park.
“Right now, we just have the heart of the park open. We have a lot of potential for the rest of the park that we can’t wait for,” she said.
According to Curran, the reopening of the 45 acres is just the beginning.
During his dedication speech, Curran mentioned ideas for the future including new environmental labs, an arboretum and an outdoor amphitheater.
Students interested in spending time at Old River Park can find the upcoming scheduled events at www.udayton.edu/studev/campusrec/welcome/events.php.