Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Article focuses on local growth

By Emily Biuso
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The question of whether Greater Cincinnati's fast-paced suburban development is “urban sprawl” or “smart growth” is now on a national stage — thanks to a former Evanston resident.

        In its July issue, National Geographic dwells extensively on Hamilton, Warren and Butler counties in its article, “Urban Sprawl: The American Dream?”

        The author, John G. Mitchell, focused on the area because, he wrote, it “ranks high on anyone's list of the nation's most sprawl-threatened metropolitan regions.” He wrote he chose the counties in part because he grew up four miles from downtown.

        The article is the latest episode in a debate over whether development means progress in Ohio's fastest-growing communities.

        In September, the Sierra Club released a national report citing two proposed mall projects in the Deerfield Township/Mason area as the most “irresponsible development” in Ohio.

        Larry Backus, president of Deerfield Township trustees, said the use of the term “urban sprawl” is irresponsible. “It's politicizing the issue rather than solving issues,” he said.

        Mr. Backus said Deerfield Township's development has been positive and small towns are not to blame for an urban growth explosion.

        Glen Brand, spokesman for the Sierra Club's Cincinnati office, said the article shows the area's growth is out of control.

        “This just confirms what we've known for years: The poorly planned sprawling development in Cincinnati is a crisis,” Mr. Brand said.


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