Friday, June 23, 2000

Growth, families top county concerns

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Warren County residents, in a study released Thursday, say the most critical local problem e is the lack of parent-child communication.

        Officials point to growth as their biggest concern.

        Overall, the county needs assessment ranks family issues as the biggest problem, although not a bigger problem than anywhere else.

        The assessment, largely funded by the United Way of Warren County, is the third in the county since 1987. After the 1994 survey, which also ranked family issues No. 1, the United Way led efforts to make changes, said Executive Director James Pottebaum.

        Warren County Community Services opened family support centers in Franklin and South Lebanon and the Coalition for a Drug-free Warren County was started.

        “I think our approach is changing now,” he said. “We really have to have the business community involved in these initiatives to effect change.”

        The rest of the top 10 concerns in the county, based on interviews with 69 officials and 200 randomly selected residents:

        • A shortage of low- and mid-priced housing.

        • Traffic and transporta tion problems.

        • Lack of information on available social services assistance.

        • A shortage of trained workers and limited vocational training.

        • The need to manage growth in the state's second-fastest growing county.

        • Substance abuse.

        • Education issues, including school overcrowding.

        • Disharmony between entities within the county, particularly Mason and Deerfield Township.

        • Health care, especially the lack of a county hospital.

        Among changes since 1994: Lack of affordable child care fell off the list and no county hospital dropped from No. 2 to No. 10.

        Affordable housing and growth management, on the other hand, are of increasing concern, as is the lack of awareness of social services.

        Presentations of the needs assessment will be held:

        • For Mason and Deerfield Township at Makino, 7680 Innovation Way, at 7 p.m. Thursday.

        • For Lebanon at the Warren County United Way office, 20 N. Mechanic St., at 7 p.m. July 24.

        Copies of the report may be picked up at the United Way office.


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