Saturday, May 11, 2002

Milford, schools to buy land

By Lew Moores,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MILFORD — The city will purchase about 160 acres along South Milford Road from the Milford School District once the school district buys the property from a private developer.

        The city then will try to sell about half of the land to a non-profit corporation — Valley View Farm — formed just last month to preserve greenspace and history on the last large undeveloped tract in the city.

        The school district will keep about six acres and, coupled with 13.6 acres it already owns, build an elementary school on the property, the only one of four new elementary schools that will be located within the city.

        “We've really partnered well here with our schools to make this whole thing happen,” said Mayor Jim Antell.

        Gary Corn, president of the Milford board of education, said the board hopes to close on the property from Bryco Co. by the end of June. The cost is $2.6 million. Bryco owned the land with the hopes of developing it for 355 single-family homes, but the city turned down the plan.

        “This is a win-win situation for the community, the city and the schools together,” said Mr. Corn.

        Mayor Antell said the city will purchase the land through non-tax revenues, such as funds generated by fines in mayor's court, for about $2.5 million.

        The new plan is a departure from the previous one, which envisioned the school district buying the property, keeping six acres, giving 47 acres to the city and selling the remainder to a private developer.

        But then the Valley View Farm group came forward and lobbied the city to form a partnership with them to buy the property from the school district.

        Chris Habel, an attorney and spokesman for Valley View, said they are rushing to meet a Wednesday deadline for filing a grant application to the Clean Ohio Fund, approved by state voters in November 2000 to generate $100 million each year for greenspace and brownfield revitalization programs. The program kicks in this year.

        Valley View is looking to raise about $1.25 million of the $2.5 million the city will pay for the South Milford property.


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