Saturday, October 4, 2003

Wal-Mart Supercenter proposed

Deerfield Twp. retail developments expected to increase traffic 20%

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DEERFIELD TWP. - Wal-Mart is proposing a Supercenter between two developing shopping areas on one of Warren County's most traveled roads.

Plans call for a 203,000-square-foot Supercenter on the corner of Mason-Montgomery Road and Bowen Drive. In front of the store would be the Shoppes of Deerfield, including five restaurants such as Panera Bread and Applebee's and a 20,000-square-foot retail strip.

The development would be nestled between two major shopping districts currently under construction, and Warren County Engineer Neil Tunison estimated the three developments will increase peak traffic about 20 percent, although building roads around the area could alleviate some of that.

Mason-Montgomery Road already carries 44,367 vehicles a day, according to a 2002 traffic count done north of Interstate 71.

"There's no doubt that this is something we feared and don't welcome wholeheartedly, but we're wrestling to deal with it," said Tim Hershner, Deerfield Township's community development director. "I wanted it to be more village-like or plaza-like rather than just a big box store. ... A Super Wal-Mart is going to generate much more traffic than what we envisioned."

Congestion from the new development along Mason-Montgomery Road was one reason John Cafazo moved from his Deerfield Township home near the development to Maineville two months ago.

"They have that whole area under construction," he said. "I just didn't want to be in that area and dealing with that traffic."

The county is reviewing a traffic study done by Wal-Mart to see if any road improvements need to be made. The county's Regional Planning Commission will review the plans later this month.

Wal-Mart considers the new store to be "a relocation opportunity" for the smaller Wal-Mart to the south, off Fields Ertel Road in Symmes Township, company spokeswoman Daphne Moore said. It would include groceries and discount items and employ twice as many people as the smaller store.

Should it gain approval, the store would be the third project under construction along that part of Mason-Montgomery Road.

To the north is a Kroger shopping center with fast-food restaurants, parts of which could open by the end of the year. To the south is Deerfield Towne Center, which would resemble Rookwood Commons.


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