Monday, August 20, 2001

Development to draw jobs, traffic

Butler Co. area ready for both

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — While more development north of Tylersville Road at Cox Road bodes well for the community's economic boom, increased traffic is an inevitable byproduct.

        “You have to take the bad with the good,” said Administrator David Gully, who sees a future upscale outdoor mall at one corner, and an expansive medical center with a hotel at the other as major pluses for the growing Butler County township.

        The two developments promise 500 to 1,000 new jobs including many high-level professional positions in the medical complex, Mr. Gully said.

        Tax revenue received by the township from the new developments is earmarked for road improvements to handle traffic increases, but no money the developments generate for public education will be deferred or abated, Mr. Gully said.

        The plan continues a policy of reducing education costs to residential taxpayers as the township's business base continues to flourish and expand the tax base, he said.

        Estimates of projected revenues from the new developments were not available.

        To cope with increased traffic, Mr. Gully said Cox Road will be widened to five lanes from Tylersville to Hamilton-Mason Road; additional turn lanes added at Tylersville and Cox roads, and an entrance to the mall with improvements at the existing traffic signal serving Kohl's department store. Cost of the improvements is estimated at $9 million to $12 million.

        Mr. Gully said he is confident funding through Butler County's Transportation Improvement District will be found to extend the Michael A. Fox Highway a short distance east to join Cox Road, which parallels Interstate 75.

        John Silverman, managing principal of developer Midland Atlantic Properties, said the $50 million, 500,000-square-foot mall — Voice of America Centre — is expected to open in October 2002 with groundbreaking next month. It will be anchored by Michigan-based Jacobson Stores Inc. with Galyan's Trading Co., a sporting goods retailer..

        The 75-acre medical center site — University Pointe — will open with a $12 million, 80,000-square-foot diagnostic center for UC Phy sicians, a group of about 450 doctors affiliated with the University of Cincinnati. Construction will start soon.

        Future plans for the site include 19 buildings housing pediatric services, a dialysis center, fitness center, and research, with room for a 100-bed hospital, hotel and conference center, and other facilities. Total development cost is estimated at $100 million.

        Township Trustee David Tacosik said both developments will bring tax dollars in as more people receive medical care, shop and dine within the community.

        “I'd rather keep the money here. If there's a nice restaurant here, I'm more likely to eat there because it's convenient. So let's provide all the services we can within our community. That's exciting.”

        The medical center and mall will complement other developments.

        The township's expansive Voice of America Park will continue to be developed northeast of the 75-acre mall and Miami University will construct a job retraining and learning lab north of the mall, Mr. Tacosik said.


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