By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer
WEST CHESTER TWP. - The auto name that's synonymous with affluence could be coming here soon - the latest symbol of West Chester's growing prosperity.
The local dealer for Mercedes-Benz confirmed Monday that he is considering sites here and in Northern Kentucky for a dealership. He'll meet with township officials next week to talk about a deal that could include a tax incentive.
It would be West Chester's first new-car dealer, in a township that matches the prestigious automaker's target demographics. West Chester is home to the Tristate's wealthiest community (Wetherington), according to the 2000 U.S. Census, and continues to attract high-income families to its growing subdivisions.
Township Administrator Dave Gully and other officials will meet July 2 with Dana Hackney, president and general manager of Mercedes-Benz of Cincinnati, in Sycamore Township.
Hackney declined to say exactly where he's looking here or in Northern Kentucky. He said an announcement could come in the next few months.
"We are looking for interstate visibility," Hackney said. "We are looking for demographics that match our product, so obviously West Chester shows up in both those categories."
Hackney has indicated to West Chester officials he might be interested in a tax abatement, according to a township e-mail obtained by the Enquirer.
"They are looking to the township for help with a street (possibly a TIF)," reads the e-mail, written by Gully's assistant, Paula Wyrick. TIF, or tax increment financing, is a development tool that uses property tax revenues to help pay for infrastructure projects.
If the dealership does emerge, it could usher in other businesses, which has some residents concerned.
"I would be worried it might turn into a mess like over on Fields Ertel Road with the Kings Auto Mall or (Ohio) 4 or Colerain Avenue," said Douglas Mays, 44. "They would have to try to limit it but I don't know the township has that power."
A car dealership, however, would be a boon to development in the township, which has a lot of land available in the Union Centre area.
"There are many places in West Chester where a high-end car dealership would be a wonderful addition," Trustee Catherine Stoker said. "I am not sure, however, that Union Centre would be the best place. Union Centre is for entertainment and retail centers, not something that sprawls out like most car dealerships do."
Patrick Crowley contributed to this report. E-mail email@example.com.
Howard: Some good news
Korte: Inside City Hall
Pulfer: The ambassador
SCOTUS RULING: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
Court upholds principle, strikes down quotas
Local colleges step up minority recruiting
Local college-bound teens divided on vote
Tristate: Race matters
Putting the court's ruling into context
Bush: Diversity, not quotas, won
Excerpts from the court's two cases
Editorial: For the good of diversity
Guest column: Colleges face new confusion with court's guidelines
Local voices: Affirmative action ruling
Reserves receive hero's welcome
Butler Co. closer to relief from flooding
Fairfield can't stand the rain
Taxpayers stuck with Kroger's $15M bill
Mercedes-Benz looking at West Chester
2 motorcyclists die, another hurt in wrecks
Heberle parents demand information
School teams to be split up
Scholarship winners want to help others
CPS unveils two new designs
Calling all canoeists: Prove your skills at Paddlefest
West Chester committee urges recreation levy
Police sort information on river deaths
Parents who owe support offered catch-up chance
Death-row inmate asks for new trial
Obituary: Mary Louise Schum won design awards
Tristate A.M. report
Development of Ft. Mitchell farm OK'd
NKU grant may spur more health centers at schools
Video shows off city quirks
Needy parents on long waiting list for state child-care benefits
Ky. educators weigh state, federal testing at schools