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Dayton, Kentucky, wants to be the hottest riverfront destination you've never considered

Posted: 1:26 AM, May 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-09 05:26:04Z

DAYTON, Ky. — The much-anticipated 2015 opening of Manhattan Harbour, a cluster of luxury homes along the Ohio River, gave way to four years of relative silence on Dayton's riverfront. When Beth Huntley and her husband moved there in 2018, their friendly row of houses was bordered on either side by vacant spans of grass.

“When we first purchased, it was quiet around here the first summer,” she said Thursday.

It still is, but Dayton City Administrator Michael Giffen said growth is coming fast. A pair of apartment complexes — Gateway Apartments and Tapestry Apartments — is under construction, and future tenants should be able to pre-lease by autumn.

Retail and restaurants are on their way too, he said.

It’s not an unfamiliar promise to Chris Watkins, who has lived on Dayton’s riverfront for six years, or even to newcomer Huntley. Both, however, said they believe it’s happening. Really, this time.

“They’ve been talking about the development for many years,” Watkins said. “It’s finally coming to fruition. Everyone on the whole river is excited about it.”

With new development will come new residents, new businesses and new ways to spend time — and Watkins said he believes everything that got in ahead of them will benefit.

“It’s slowly trickling in,” he said. “I think before you know it, the whole area will blow up.”

Huntley hopes so. She likes her small community, local businesses and the close friends she’s been able to make since she moved in, she said, but she would also be happy to see new people discovering the same things that made her family decide Dayton was the place for them.

“This is a pretty special place,” she said. “We’re excited we got in when we did. Now we’re here, and we can watch everything begin to grow.”