Wednesday, March 01, 2000

New park will cover 150 acres

Land to be bought March 15

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION TOWNSHIP — The greening of this southeastern Butler County community continues as township officials revealed Tuesday they are creating a new, 150-acre park off Beckett Road north of Union Centre Boulevard.

        Union Township officials said they plan to purchase the acreage for the new park from private developers on March 15.

        The park, which will be located on both sides of Beckett Road, will cost $4.9 million to purchase and another estimated $5 million to develop in stages during the next five years.

        It will be the township's first park west of Interstate 75 and it is also the second-largest park in the community after the township's 330-acre recreational area at the site of the former Voice of America (VOA) off Tylersville Road.

        Union Township Administrator David Gully said the park will serve both residents and employees at nearby industrial parks. The park will also act as a natural buffer between new housing being built off Beckett Road, and nearby office parks.

        “When people come to (Union Township) to work, we don't just want them to experience concrete and asphalt,” said Mr. Gully.

        The 150-acre property, which is being bought from Planned Development Co. of Ohio, includes numerous small lakes that Mr. Gully said can be used for fishing and eventu ally will be surrounded by nature trails and picnic areas. The land on the eastern side of Beckett Road is more heavily wooded.

        Similar to the development process of the VOA park site, Mr. Gully said township officials will hold public meetings to help determine the final design of the park.

        Township officials will hold the second of two public meetings on the VOA park in early May.

        Union Township Trustee President Jose Alvarez said the township's booming population, which jumped from 39,000 in 1990 to more than 59,000 today, was for years largely concentrated east of I-75 and consequently the township's parks were created there.

        “But it's been a target of ours for years now to try to find a park area on the west side,” said Mr. Alvarez. “We are glad to see it come to fruition.”

        Mr. Alvarez said the first public meeting on the Beckett Road park will be held sometime before the fall.

        Besides the park's aquatic features, Mr. Gully said the recreational area will likely include some athletic fields and perhaps an outdoor lodge.


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