John Gower

John Gower

Urban Design Director for CityWide Development

John Gower currently serves as Urban Design Director for CityWide Development, a role he took on in 2016.

With a background in architecture and urban design, John served as Downtown Planner for the City of Dayton from 1977 to 2001 and later promoted to Community Development Director for the City from 2001 until 2011. In 2011, he retired as Director and returned to work in the Office of the City Manager as the Urban Design Coordinator and Reimaging Strategist.

His areas of expertise have included urban design and development planning, visioning and implementation, historic preservation and adaptive reuse planning and place and asset-based strategic planning and implementation for the Greater Downtown and the city as a whole.

His work continues at CityWide with crossing over the fields of place-making, strategic economic planning and adaptive reuse on downtown projects as well as community place-based collaboratives.

9:45 am - 12:00 pm
Rotunda Concourse - 1st Floor

Dayton Aviation Heritage Museum National park Tour

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park exists at the heart of one of the world’s most significant, globally impactful stories: the discovery of the secrets of controllable flight. Through perseverance and determination, the Wright brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar were able to overcome obstacles in their lives and leave their respective marks on history. This tour will explore sites important to Dayton's aviation history and the development of flight. **Free, Ticket Required. Self-Transportation to Site**

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
The Tank - Basement Level

Decoding Dayton

Andrew, Jason and John will share the Decoding Dayton story. Started in 2015 by an organic conversation in John Gowers backyard realizing all of the secrets of the city that needed to be told. Decoding Dayton, invites you to connect and grow with our city. History meets present-day momentum and visions for future growth. Every city, street, and building holds a story waiting to be told and a future waiting to be created. Explore the essential coding of Dayton, Ohio and how it has reshaped over time. Hosted by "Daytopian" locals John Gower (former City Planner and architect) and Jason Antonick (community organizer and banker). Includes 34 episodes filmed from 2016-2020. This original series, produced by Indigo Life, started as a mini-pilot on Facebook in 2016 with 3-minute episodes that saw a watch time completion rate of 10-percent. Seasons 2-4 were hosted on a private streaming service from 2017-2020. The fans asked for more so episode lengths were increased to an average of 10-minutes. The 10-minute episodes saw an average of 75% watch time completion. The team hosted a series of premiere parties where an average of 50 neighbors gathered and shared their own stories. Local economic development organizations and employers have used the series for recruitment of headquarters and employees. The series was so popular a spin-off called Decoding Nature was created in collaboration with Five Rivers MetroParks and won the National Association of County Park & Recreation Officials Award for marketing.

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
Korndyke Room - Basement Level

The Dayton Arcade: The Word on the Street is to Tear It Down

The Dayton Arcade is the most emotional building in Dayton, Ohio. Originally constructed in 1902, the original 5 buildings served as the central marketplace for the region. As retail changed, especially in downtowns across the nation, the Arcade was renovated in 1980 into an urban mall. Within 5 short years they needed to have the debt restructured. This led to a reset of the retail and restaurants which lasted for another 5+ years before it closed in 1991. In 2015 Mayor Nan Whaley won her election pledging the demolition of the Arcade. She convened a task force which resulted in the eventual redevelopment. Come here the whole story. Learn about the plan, the redevelopment strategy and financial structure.