Monday, February 04, 2002

Annexation deal may be near

Middletown bargains for hospital site

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        TURTLECREEK TWP. — Township officials may be near an agreement to let Middletown annex land where Middletown Regional Hospital intends to build.

        “I don't feel we ought to spend township money to fight a losing fight,” Turtlecreek Trustee Dan George said. “I would love to keep everything just the way it is.

        “But if a higher power says the hospital has to go there and we can't stop it, then I want to manage that growth,” Mr. George said. “You can't do that from the outside.”

        Middletown Regional wants to leave its aging complex on McKnight Drive and build a new, high-tech hospital at Greentree and Union Roads. The city hopes to annex the site, because otherwise Middletown would lose its second-largest employer.

        Mr. George and Middletown Mayor David Schiavone met last week to discuss conditions under which the trustees might agree not to fight annexation. Mr. George's demands:

        • A promise that the city will not annex nearby homeowners' property unless they request it.

        • The township receives 25 percent of revenue from the land permanently.

        • A guarantee that the city will not annex further into Turtlecreek in the future.

        • A hospital construction plan that would inconvenience residents as little as possible.

        • A clause that voids the annexation if the hospital does not move to the site.

        Township and city lawyers are reviewing and drafting the terms.

        The other two Turtlecreek trustees — Dan Jones and James VanDeGrift — seem to be leaning toward supporting a compromise on those terms.

        “This is basically to protect our interests if it all comes down,” Mr. Jones said. “I don't know that we are actually in a position to block it.”

        But Keep Out, a group of nearby residents opposed to annexation, is not impressed with the proposed agreement.

        “It is not carrying out the will of the people here,” said leader Chuck Turner. “We think it's a big mistake.”

        Middletown is fine with the township's demands, Mr. Schiavone said.

        “I think both the council and Turtlecreek Township see the benefits of working together,” he said.


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