Saturday, January 31, 2004

Tax district may be used to benefit Olde W. Chester


Special district could fund improvements

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Trustees plan to declare all six miles of Cincinnati-Dayton Road in the township a special district that could fund improvements in Olde West Chester.

The district would not include nearby property where Butler County commissioners have plans for a similar improvement district at Interstate 75.

Cincinnati-Dayton from Hamilton-Mason Road to Crescentville Road could be designated as a tax-increment financing area, a government tool to use property taxes generated by a development to pay for infrastructure improvements.

The corridor would exclude Neyer Properties' 70 acres at the northeast corner of I-75 and Cincinnati-Dayton, where the county is negotiating a similar district for a new Wal-Mart Supercenter.

"The county's interest (in the area) invigorated our thinking process on this," said Trustee Jose Alvarez.

Neyer officials began negotiating a tax-break package with the county last July after the township rejected its overtures.

A $2.8 million deal to build a service road and install water and sewer lines for Wal-Mart is expected to be approved by commissioners next month, said Tim Williams, Butler County purchasing manager.

Trustees said the special taxing district is a good way to finance improvements in the Olde West Chester business district. Cincinnati-Dayton Road is two lanes in that area, then widens to five lanes north of I-75.

"This is a big plus," said Trustees President Catherine Stoker.

Deborah Reddich, manager of Flowers by Nyla in Olde West Chester, said business operators would agree with the plan. "I think this is a wonderful idea," she said.

Township Administrator Dave Gully pointed out that the county would benefit from the improvement district, because Cincinnati-Dayton Road is maintained by the Butler County Engineer's Office.

Funds from the district also could pay for rebuilding the Cincinnati-Dayton Road interchange with I-75.

"The interchange and various parts of the road will need improvements over the next 20 years. When that road work is needed, we would have the funds," Stoker said.

Traffic will increase at the interchange after Wal-Mart opens a 203,000-square-foot Supercenter in 2005

The new Wal-Mart, which will replace a Tylersville Road store, will result in 300 jobs and generate about $600,000 a year in sales tax revenue for the county, said Tom Wilson, Neyer development manager.

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E-mail jkiesewetter@enquirer.com




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