Tuesday, June 11, 2002

TriHealth to help with rec center

Township trustees to vote tonight

By Jennifer Edwards, jedwards@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — To help pay for and operate a new $30 million community recreation center, trustees tonight are expected to approve a preliminary partnership with TriHealth Corporate Health Services.

        Township officials will find a 16-acre site for the proposed center while TriHealth pays for a detailed feasibility study and financial analysis. TriHealth will also complete the design, construction and programming schedule.

        If those details, expected in about three months, meet trustees' approval, the township will formally enter into a partnership with the health care provider and announce a groundbreaking for construction of the 180,000-square-foot facility, said Judith Carter, the township's assistant administrator.

        Until that plan comes back, however, it isn't certain whether the township will ask taxpayers to approve a levy to help pay for the project, Trustee Dave Tacosik said Monday.

        “There might be some criticism to partnering with a private organization, but they can do the job more efficiently and effectively than we can,” Mr. Tacosik said. “TriHealth was the best fit. They have a proven track record. Why reinvent the wheel?”

        TriHealth has more than 15,000 members at its centers in the Tristate, including the Carew Tower Fitness Center downtown and the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion in Montgomery, according to Pam Shannon, TriHealth's director.

        West Chester's center most likely would rise on 16 acres along West Chester Road at the intersection of Union Centre Boulevard across from Lakota West High School. It would have outdoor and indoor pools, jogging tracks, basketball courts, workout and meeting rooms and other amenities.

        That parcel is owned by West Chester 75, a group of local business leaders who purchased land in the Union Centre area about 10 years ago as an investment.

        West Chester officials want to build the center there as part oftheir vision for a town center in the Union Centre Boulevard area.

        Township Administrator Dave Gully said Monday he is negotiating a purchase price for the land. The township is hoping the owners donate the land or exchanges it for something yet to be determined, Mr. Gully said.

        In other business, trustees are likely to approve entering into an agreement with Schumacher Dugan for construction management services on a $1 million renovation project at the township's new headquarters.

        The renovations are expected to be complete by year's end. The township purchased a 180,000-square-foot building this year at the northwest corner of Beckett and West Chester roads for $4.3 million. It originally was valued at $12 million.

        The township's administrative, planning and zoning offices are at Centre Pointe office park off Muhlhauser Road near Union Centre Boulevard; the lease expires in 2005. At that time, the administration offices will relocate back to the police department on Cincinnati-Dayton Road.

        The planning and zoning department is expected to move into the new headquarters this summer.


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