By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MASON - Nearly 34 acres of state-owned land is being given to the city and a county agency for open space, flood control and a playground accessible for handicapped and special-needs children and adults.
Gov. Bob Taft signed a bill this week conveying the land, off U.S. 42 near the post office, to the city of Mason. Part of the land will be transferred to the Warren County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities for future use.
About a third of the property is in the floodplain.
Before the state owned the land, it was county property and earmarked for the board, according to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Tom Raga, R-Mason. The property cannot be used for residential or commercial development.
The land deal comes at a time when this fast-growing city has been pushing for more green space. A long-term Mason park master plan is under way, but this property isn't part of that plan..
The playground will be on the city's parcel of the land, but likely will not be developed for several years. It could include lowered monkey bars, wider pathways and other apparatus easily accessible for physically and mentally handicapped users.
Plans are already in the works for a regional storm water retention basin that will take up about 12 acres, City Manager Scot Lahrmer said. Construction is expected to start this summer.
Once complete, the basin should help relieve flooding in subdivisions in the southwest area of the city,Lahrmer said.
The bill will go into effect 90 days after it is signed and filed with the Ohio secretary of state.
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