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The Dayton Aviation Trail grew out of a regional economic development conference held at the University of Dayton on November 18-19, 1980, which was co-sponsored by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.  One of the ideas that came out of the conference was to use the area's aviation heritage to market the region by establishing two trails:  a tourist trail to attract visitors and a business trail to attract companies.
The committee formed to carry out the proposal held its first meeting on February 25, 1981.  Five months later, on August 3, 1981, the committee incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation named Aviation Trail, Inc.  (ATI)

The purpose of Aviation Trail, Inc. is:

1) to identify and preserve the Dayton/Miami Valley aviation heritage, 2) to engage in promotional and educational activities to create an awareness of the area's identification with aviation and of its place in aviation history, and 3) to stimulate the area's economic development through aviation-related capital projects.

Aviation Trail, Inc. is governed by a Board of Trustees of no less than 15 members and no more than 20.  A Board of Advisors with no membership limitation was established in 1982.  The incorporating trustees were:
                             Jim Alexander                                     Jim Jacobs                            Gerald Sharkey
                            Paul Brown                                          Harold Johnson                   Marian S. Simmons
                            Dick Baughman                                   Mary Ann Johnson             Colonel Richard Uppstrom
                            John Dussault                                       J. H. Meyer, M. D.              Read Viemeister
                            E. George Ferguson                            Amy Salaverria                   George J. Wedekind, Jr.
                            Ed Hamlyn                                           Doris Scott                           Mel Weinberg
The committee that preceded the formal incorporation of ATI decided that its first project would be to develop a tourist Aviation Trail to attract visitors to the Dayton/Miami Valley area, then to publish a brochure promoting the new trail.  The initial research uncovered a wide range of aviation-related attractions and historically-significant sites -- many more than could be included in a simple handout.  Therefore, the brochure was limited to the ten sites considered to be of most interest to the general public.
An Aviation Trail Inaugural Tour on July 13, 1981, introduced community leaders to the trail laid out in the new brochure.  The 175 guests toured the sites in five special RTA buses.  Sally Graubarth trained the tour guides accompanying each bus and arranged the details, including a costumed "Katharine Wright" waiving to the visitors from the law of Hawthorn Hill, the Wright mansion in Oakwood, and airplane-shaped cookies served as refreshments on the buses.  The Inaugural Tour and brochure were underwritten by the Dayton-Montgomery County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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