Monday, November 06, 2000

Township nurtures retailers

Development brings income

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD TWP. — The corner of Ohio 4 Bypass and Princeton Road will get a lot busier in the next 18 months when three large retailers open their doors.

        At the intersection's northwest corner, a 140,000-square-foot Home Depot, employing about 150 full- and part-time workers, is to open late next year. Two to three months later a Wal-Mart and Lowes will open stores across the street at the southwest corner. Together, they are expected to employ about 500 people.

        Wal-Mart and Lowes are being developed on 63 acres. That property represents the first business for the site through one of two Joint Economic Development Districts, or JEDDs, established in the past two years between Fairfield Township and the city of Hamilton. The other site is near Walden Ponds at the northern end of Ohio 4 Bypass where it intersects Ohio 4. Some smaller businesses and a bank already are operating there.

        Not only will Fairfield Township get additional property tax on the Lowes and Wal-Mart development, it will also receive about 25 percent of the 2 percent income tax Hamilton levies on workers, said Mark Sutton, president of the Fairfield Township Board of Trustees. The split of the income tax is based on which services each government provides at a particular location.

        The project is being developed in the township as a planned unit development, which gives trustees more say over the project. Improvements to the intersection — including adding turn lanes — are part of the plans.

        Based on a similar Lowe's/ Wal-Mart development on Hamilton's West Side, an annual payroll of $5.5 million or more is a realistic expectation, said Tim Bigler, Hamilton economic development director. Such a payroll would generate about $110,000 annually in income tax revenue that the two communities would split.

        “It's a neat project. Both communities will benefit,” Mr. Bigler said.

        The development, township officials say, is a natural outgrowth of the population boom of the past eight or nine years, as the number of residents nearly doubled to an estimated 16,500 today. They also attribute it to the opening of the Butler Regional Highway with its Bypass 4 exit.

        Other plans for the township include a branch of Lane Public Library. A branch of the Great Miami Valley YMCA is under construction at Princeton and Morris roads. Mr. Sutton says the stores will be more convenient for township residents who now must travel to West Chester Township or Springdale to shop.

        “I think it's a big plus for the township,” Mr. Sutton said. “The biggest thing is the convenience for residents.”


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