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