Thursday, March 01, 2001

Sycamore Twp. pocket could get boost

Developers look to revitalize Reading Rd. area

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP - A plan that would bring $35 million to $40 million in retail and commercial development could help revitalize a blighted section of Reading Road here, and eliminate flooding that has bedeviled residents and businesses for years.

        The site under consideration is 34 acres, west of Reading Road, near the old Carrousel Hotel.

        Local officials say Vandercar Holding Inc. in Madeira is interested in the site. A Vandercar official confirmed that interest, but declined to elaborat.

        The company has met with officials from Sycamore Township, Amberley Village, Reading and Cincinnati about its plans. Vandercar officials also said they are developing retail and office space at the old Milacron site in Oakley.

        Tentative plans for the Sycamore Township site include an upscale restaurant, a library branch, a research lab and pharmaceutical facility, a home improvement store and possibly a subdivision.

        Township Trustee Richard Kent said the plans called for demolishing the Carrousel and the nearby Ramada Inn.

        “The zoning doesn't have to be changed to do what they want,” Mr. Kent said.

        The planned development would revive the area, which has been declining slowly since heavy flooding from Amberley Creek in the last two decades has chased out businesses and caused extensive damage to residential properties.

        As the creek crosses Reading Road, it runs between the Carrousel and the Ramada Inn.

        “Plans are to reroute part of the creek, just beyond the Ramada Inn, run it behind a row of houses and connect it to the Mill Creek, near the Ronald Reagan Highway,” Mr. Kent said.

        Residents who live near the creek have complained about erosion and flooding during heavy rains.

        The Army Corps of Engineers, Cincinnati, Amberley, Reading and the state of Ohio have provided $428,000 for the feasibility study of the creek. A report is due this month.

        “This could clean up a messy situation,” said Mel Schear, who lives along the creek on Willowbrook Drive in Amberley Village.

        Mr. Schear has had a running battle with the creek. He said he spent $50,000 in 1993 on repairs from damage when water overflowed on Willowbrook and flooded his basement.

        City engineers think much of the flooding problem started 30 years ago when developers were allowed to fill in portions of the creek and reroute it to get lots to build the Don Rich subdivision.


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