Thursday, December 18, 2003

Columbia Twp. to hire expert on stimulating development



By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLUMBIA TWP. - To attract and retain businesses, this township plans to hire a consultant to help develop an economic development strategy for the commercial area around Ridge Road and Highland Avenue.

Columbia Township has received a proposal from the Hamilton County Development Co., which runs the county's economic development office, to devise a plan for recruiting and retaining businesses and redeveloping abandoned commercial property. The proposal carries a $20,000 price tag.

The trustees will seek proposals from two other consultants and approve a contract for one of them at their Jan. 13 meeting.

Township officials' concern about this area heightened after Sam's Club moved from Ridge Road to a new site in Oakley and the Kmart store on Ridge closed, and after a Cincinnati planning commissioner suggested that the city consider annexing the Ridge/Highland area to gain tax revenue.

The township, decimated over the years by annexations, consists of nine disconnected pieces of land. The Ridge/Highland area accounts for 60 percent of its property tax revenue.

That's why Cincinnati Planning Commissioner Caleb Faux's recent annexation comments concerning the Ridge/Highland area provoked anger and concern among township officials.

E-mail skemme@enquirer.com




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