How UpDayton Has Changed Dayton


Time flies when you’re having fun, right? We at UpDayton have been having so much fun transforming the Gem City into our ideal place to live, work and play, that our tenth birthday seemed to sneak up on us. Dayton was a very different city ten years ago, consisting of one-way streets downtown, orange barrels on I-75 and a skyline that didn’t feature any luxury apartments. In the past ten years Dayton has been reinventing itself, and UpDayton has had a hand in affecting positive change as well. Let’s take a look at some changes Dayton has gone through, and some UpDayton projects that happened alongside them.

During the early-to-mid 10s, Dayton was slowly becoming a more bicycle friendly city. Plenty of two lane roads were being reconstructed to feature one driving lane and one bicycle lane for cyclists who wanted go beyond biking the trails. In 2015, $1 million was invested to create the Link bike program that placed more than 200 bicycles within a four mile radius of Courthouse Square. With the city strongly promoting an active lifestyle, it didn’t take long for UpDayton to contribute to the bicycling wave. One of the winning projects from the 2015 Summit, Bike Racks on Brown, sought to place bike racks near local businesses and neighborhoods near Brown Street. A $10,000 grant from Public Health Dayton & Montgomery County later enable the purchase of 71 bike racks for citywide use.

The election of 2012 brought significant change to the Dayton Metro Library network when more than 60% of Montgomery County voters supported their $187 million renovation plan. This plan sought to makeover the existing facilities and modernize them for the 21st century. Dayton Metro Library recognized that their patron’s needs and expectations were rapidly changing and they hoped this transformation would keep patrons engaged. Also in 2012, the winning Summit project, Diversity in Action, partnered with Dayton Metro Library to create four bilingual ‘Take It and Read It’ stations in the various immigrant communities of Dayton. The goal of this project is to provide the Gem City’s diverse immigrant population with better access to literary resources. To sustain the efforts of the Diversity in Action project into the future, Dayton Metro Library will continue to extend outreach services for funding and replenishment of foreign language books for its shelves.

As you can see, while Dayton is constantly evolving, UpDayton will always be in the mix to supplement the changes. Through the power of volunteer work, the city is able to accomplish its goals and we at UpDayton are able to fulfill our mission of making a better city to live, work and play.

Be sure to register now for the Summit X and see the next wave of projects that’ll be benefiting Dayton! It all takes place at the Dayton Art Institute on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 5:30pm.

By: Joe Swann

UpDayton Summit 101


You’ve been hearing about the UpDayton Summit for weeks now, but what exactly is it? Whether you haven’t been to a one in years or this is your first time, we’re here to explain all that you need to know about our big annual event!

First of all, the UpDayton Summit is hosted at the Dayton Art Institute in its big Shaw Gothic Cloister event space. Once you park at the museum and head in the main entrance, Summit volunteers will help guide you to the sign-in and registration tables in the Great Hall. Then there is a fair amount of mingling as everyone arrives, so you can shake hands with the best young professionals in the Dayton area.

As the Summit program begins, we will ask you to turn your attention to the stage area. There our project leaders will each make a short presentation about their ideas for the Gem City. Once the presentations have concluded, you will use the ballot you received when you checked in to vote on your favorite projects. We’ll take a break for some food while the votes are counted, and then we will announce the top three winning projects at the end of the night!

Throughout the evening you’ll have the opportunity to volunteer for UpDayton permanent teams, like Marketing or Advocacy. After the summit is over, check our Facebook page for more information about the first meeting for the winning projects if you want to pitch in to make them a reality.

Are you excited to help make real change in our community? Register for the summit today and save your seat. 

Past UpDayton Projects: Dayton Inspires

No matter how long you've been in Dayton, you have probably seen a Dayton Inspires mural around town, or at least seen it pop up in your Instagram feed. The Dayton Inspires project is about so much more than cool photo ops, though. Originally a 2014 UpDayton project focused on helping residents take pride in their city, it has become a social initiative aimed at making Dayton a better place to live while connecting residents across cultural barriers. 

Take a look at some of Dayton Inspires's latest projects in the videos below! 


Tips For Submitting A Summit Project


In case you haven't heard, the deadline to submit projects for the UpDayton Summit has been extended to Friday, March 9th! If you have an idea, make sure that you get all of your information turned in with the official form

Before you click "Submit" on that form, take a look at some of our tips towards building a project that can not only win the votes at the summit but be successful at the end of the year.

  1. Think of people power: UpDayton's biggest asset is its volunteers. Our most recent project winners, such as the Reading Park Project and Dayton Inspires involve community work days or other events that let people get excited and work together towards a common goal. 
  2. Make sure you have the right scope: Winning projects at the UpDayton Summit get $3,000 and the support of UpDayton and its volunteers for a year. Consider these resources when you're putting a project together. 
  3. Consider partners: You have a project idea in mind, now it's time for help working out the fine details. For example, the Comfort Bags project worked with Agape for Youth to learn more about what foster children need and for help distributing collected donations. 
  4. Know what you want to accomplish: The most successful summit projects have clear goals in mind. After you reach those initial goals you can set more, but it helps you build your project in a measurable way that makes sense. For example, The Longest Table had the initial goal presented at the Summit of hosting its community dinner on a city street, which the leadership team accomplished. From there, the project grew to monthly smaller dinners and an annual big dinner. 

For more tips for submitting an UpDayton summit project, check out the article on! 

UpDayton Summit History 101


2018 marks the tenth year of UpDayton’s Summit. For the past ten years, young professionals have been coming together at the Summit to share their needs and concerns of the region, and to pitch ideas for building a better city that we call home, Dayton. We want to take a look back at the history of the Summit, and in this post we’ll be covering the first five years, 2009 - 2013. Let’s take a trip down memory lane!


In the very beginning, it wasn’t even called the UpDayton Summit! Its name was the Young Creatives Summit and took place at the Dayton Convention Center before moving to the Dayton Art Institute in ‘12, but the idea remained the same: brainstorm ways to make Dayton a better place to live, work and play. Topics that were talked about in these events originated from a survey sent out to UpDayton members. From there, teams were formed and had breakout sessions to determine projects that could be created to help each of those topics. This was a very different approach than the pitches format currently used in Summits.


Throughout these early years, a lot of great projects came from the breakout sessions. One of the recurring themes from the inaugural 2009 Summit was to have some sort of comprehensive online communications hub where people could go to get information about regional events, volunteer opportunities, entertainment and recreational happenings. This resource hub became Dayton Most Metro, and eventually evolved into a magazine-like format that included calendars, articles and blogs. Striving to engage the community, they have become a go-to place to discover how to get involved in the region and discover things to do.


In a breakout session from the 2011 Summit, attendees were asked about ways to make their neighborhoods more attractive. A lot of their responses centered around beautifying the surrounding downtown communities to make them more attractive for young people to reside. The project team was drawn to a regional asset that was being underused: a pedestrian bridge over US-35 connecting the Historic Oregon District to the South Park Historic District. They decided it needed a visual upgrade, and with the help of 70 volunteers in one day, the walkway of the bridge was painted with creative designs in hopes of increasing foot traffic between the two neighborhoods.


Many project ideas were tossed around during the 2012 Summit, and one that came to fruition was the Waggle Project. The goal of this project was to create signage that highlighted routes around downtown Dayton for walkers and bicyclists to use. Signs would also give a time estimate to certain points of interest so that the reader would have a clear estimate on how to quickly to reach their destination. Hanging over 40 signs on street posts downtown, the Waggle Project was able to educate downtown visitors about local sites and how to safely navigate to each of them (using their legs and not wheels, of course!).

Although this was a brief recap of some past projects, you can get a glimpse at many more that came from the Summit at the ‘Past Projects’ link on UpDayton’s website. On an upcoming post, we’ll dive into the Summit’s next four years, and how those projects changed Dayton as well. And while we look back, we must not forget about the upcoming tenth Summit, Summit X. Register now and join us on Thursday, April 26 as we celebrate the past, but continue looking toward the future!

By Joe Swann