Friday, August 25, 2000

Physicians to build campus on park site

By Ken Alltucker and Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER — UC Physicians said Thursday it signed an agreement to buy McGinnis Park for $4.9 million from West Chester Township, where it plans to build a medical campus to serve this rapidly growing suburb north of Cincinnati.

        Township trustees this week approved the sale of the 45-acre site in Butler County near the Cox and Tylersville Road intersection just east of Interstate 75.

        UC Physicians plans to start construction next spring of the office building for its doctors and other community doctors willing to lease space, said John Gillespie, the group's director of marketing and public relations.

        It's too early to tell whether the expansion will mean new outpatient services provided by the network of 450 specialists and primary care doctors, he said.

        The group doesn't know how much an initial building of 20,000 to 40,000 square feet would cost and hasn't set aside funds to pay for it. It will make those decisions after the land purchase closes in two to six months.

        With its flagship at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and a smaller office in Montgomery, the group says a third campus at the Tylersville Road corridor, one of the fastest growing areas of Butler County's largest township, is crucial to attracting more patients and revenue.

        “Our strategic goal is to double our activity over the next decade,” said Mr. Gillespie, adding the group serves 160,000 patients a year. “We don't believe we can do that at our current sites.”

        West Chester resident Amanda Grant said a centralized medical campus with physicians and specialist

        would save residents of this southeastern Butler County community long drives to Cincinnati or Middletown for medical care.

        “With West Chester growing so fast and getting so big, it's a nice addition to the community,” said Ms. Grant.

        With the addition of the 330-acre Voice of America Park — a gift from the federal government — nearby and the recent purchase of a 151-acre park off of Beckett Road, township officials were willing to part with McGinnis Park.

        “We are really excited about this,” said West Chester Township Administrator David Gully of the pending land sale. He said the creation of a medical campus will bring much-needed doctors and specialists to the booming community, which is now estimated to exceed 60,000 in population.

        The township plans to use the sale proceeds to help pay for the new Beckett Road park now in development.

        “This is huge for the township,” he said. “It allows us to bring 151 acres of much-needed parkland to the west side of the community ... without getting into people's pockets.”

        Longtime West Chester resident Becky Schneider said any concerns about losing park space were dispelled when township officials recently moved to develop the 330-acres of the former Voice of America station into a recreational and park area.

        “We won't be lacking in park space out here,” she said. “I'm glad to hear that doctors will be closer to us so we don't have to drive so far.”


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