Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Deny $5M request, some residents say

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - Some Warren County residents want county officials to deny Middletown's $5 million request to relocate Middletown Regional Hospital.

On Tuesday, Franklin Township resident Tom Evans took that plea to the county commissioners. He's one of about a dozen core members of the Progressive Citizens Group, representing communities in Butler and Warren counties. Nearly 300 people have said they support its efforts, Evans said.

Commissioners have discussed the financial request, but have not voted on whether to give $1.3 million for the first two phases of the infrastructure project near Ohio 122. It's part of the $5 million Middletown hopes the county will give over the next five years toward the $49 million project.

"Middletown has a horrible history of project management," Evans said. "It's just something I don't think we need to be in bed with."

He is also going to local municipalities, including Mason on Monday, to ask officials to send the same message to the county.

Commissioners Pat South and Larry Crisenbery said Tuesday they might be willing to give some money - though maybe not $5 million - but only to public roads and not hospital roads. Commissioner Mike Kilburn was not at Tuesday's meeting. Kilburn has said he was against the spending.

"Our board of commissioners has an obligation to make sure the roadways that are under our control are as good as possible," South said.

She added that she would prefer a company taking up acreage instead of more residential housing.

Middletown Regional Hospital has been looking to move east of the city and closer to Interstate 75 for more than two years. The location would have a $125 million hospital on a campus with health-related businesses.


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