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Downtown Dayton: Shanon Potts

Dayton Skyline at Dusk

Riverscape Park, Dayton

Olive, an Urban Dive

Century Bar

Shanon Potts is the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Dayton. Born and raised in Ohio, she jokes that she's "always been a Buckeye girl." She was a PR and communications major at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, then attended law school at Capital University. Though an Ohio native, she had never lived in a downtown area before; now she both lives and works downtown and doesn't even need to drive her car to work. "I grew up in a town surrounded by farms," she says. "I thought I'd give downtown urban living a try. It's been the best thing I've ever done."
When she first moved to downtown Dayton, she didn't have any friends or family there so she had no choice but to get involved with a social organization in order to meet new people. She became involved with Generation Dayton, an organization for young professionals, eventually becoming a steering team member. Now, Shanon is an enthusiastic booster of all that Dayton has to offer.
Arts & Culture
"The performing arts here are very high-quality for a city of our size, and also very affordable," she says. There are also a number of art galleries and studios, with local artists passionately embracing the handmade movement. The Oregon Historic District is full of art galleries and shops where you'll find stores like Peace on Fifth, a fair trade compassionate commerce store, and Sew Dayton, opened by two women who partnered up after losing their jobs to follow their dreams of owning their own business. They decided to open a seamstress shop where they make custom items like dresses and purses, do alterations, and also teach sewing classes.
The Great Outdoors
Downtown Dayton also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Downtown is a hub for "miles and miles" of interconnected bike paths that run through the city and also through the area's system of Five Rivers Metroparks located throughout the region, two of which are located downtown. Walkscore.com has scored downtown Dayton as a walker's paradise. "We're definitely trending towards a more active, walkable, bikeable lifestyle." For sports enthusiasts, the local minor league baseball team, the Dayton Dragons, play downtown and is always a fun time.
Dining & Drinking
Dayton is a surprisingly "foodie" town, still flying under the radar. For coffee, Shanon says Ghostlight Coffee has "the most amazing coffee in the area." 2nd Street Market, park of the metroparks, is an outdoor market where people buy produce directly from local farmers and also stop by for lunch at places like Crepe Boheme, where a French woman makes crepes to order. "It's one of my favorite places to eat."
Olive, an Urban Dive, is located in what was formerly a Wympee's fast food joint. A farm-to-table restaurant, this is a tiny little diner with no liquor license (though you can BYOB) serving gourmet sandwiches for lunch and weekend brunch. The owner Kim Collett has also purchased a space across the street from Olive that will be called Barrel House, which will have a coffee shop kind of vibe but will serve beer instead of coffee.
Century Bar is another local gem. "It used to be a well-known secret, but now it's really becoming more and more popular by the day," Shanon says. "People are driving in from the suburbs of Cincinnati to go there." After rebranding as a bourbon bar they found their niche; if you try all 50 bourbons you even get your name on a plaque. (Not all at once, of course.)
The artsy/trendy Oregon District also has a strip of popular bars, restaurants and cafes. Press Coffee was rated by Zagat's as one of the top 10 independent coffee shops in the nation. The Dublin Pub hosts the largest St. Patrick's Day party in the region. Lucky's Taproom has an extensive selection of beer on tap (which you can also take home by the growler) and also have a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly menu, in stark contrast to the usual BBQ and beef you'd find at most beer bars. A new brewery called Toxic Brew Company will soon be opening close to Lucky's, and is the first craft brewery in Dayton in 50 years. For those looking for a little ethnic flavor, the Thai Nine Bistro serves authentic Thai cuisine and sushi in a historic building that has been featured in travel magazines. Blind Bob's down the street is another bar, and this one caters to the grunge scene. All three are part of the same growler program, where customers can go inside and have their growlers filled from any of their taps. South Park Tavern in the historic South Park district is also in the growler program.
Dayton is also home to Ohio's first brewpub co-op, the Fifth Street Brewpub Co-Op, where interested parties pay $100 to be a part owner of the co-op. 
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