Monday, December 29, 2003

Clermont road swap in works


Critic says officials caused decline

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIAMI TWP. - Some say a $10.5 million road swap project will turn an aging stretch of old Ohio 28 into a pedestrian-friendly downtown that evokes the quaint community squares of older days.

Others, however, blame the township for causing the decline of this segment of Clermont County roadway in the first place.

Earlier this month, Ohio's Transportation Review Advisory Council announced more than $3 billion in statewide highway projects. Those projects include $10.5 million the state will use to buy Bypass 28 from Clermont County.

In exchange, the county will take control of a parallel, older section of Ohio 28 known as Business 28.

Township and county officials have been discussing the swap for months. They hope to draw upon town square designs of 60 years ago to attract high-end shops that would entice residents to spend their money in the township rather than in outlying shopping centers. Work won't begin until after 2005.

Stanley Stein, a former owner of Highview Plaza along Business 28, blames the township for causing the problems the project proposes to fix. He says the decline started in the mid-1990s, with the opening of Bypass 28, which reroutes through traffic around Business 28.

"Please don't allow the government entities that created the problem and its consequences to pat themselves on the back for providing a solution and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars in the process," Stein said.

Stein said he sold his property not long after the bypass opened.

Township officials contend their efforts are part of a continuing quest to make travel along Ohio 28 easier and more efficient.

"We will actually see this happening," said Township Trustee Joe Uecker, when he learned that the plan had been approved. "This is very, very exciting."

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E-mail mmccain@enquirer.com




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