A West Carrollton leader is set to step down after spending more than a third of his 41-year public service career on the city’s revitalization efforts.
Brad Townsend, who has served as city manager since 2007, will retire at the end of 2023, city officials said Friday.
Townsend said “probably the most significant” of his accomplishments was helping make a reality the Exit 47 reconfiguration in fall 2012 because it was it was not a fully- functioning interchange for more than 50 years ever since they built Interstate 75.
“Getting that fixed correctly was really the key piece that really changed the landscape and the direction of the community,” he said. “That was probably the start of the key piece in the redevelopment effort for the community that is now coming to fruition after 16 years. It’s been a long journey, but it’s finally happening.”
Townsend also cited the importance of the clean up of the Fraser Paper location at the corner of Elm and Central streets, priming the downtown corner for redevelopment, which started with the opening of Miami Valley Sand.
“The Fraser Paper site when I came to town here had just been sold to a bunch of guys who just went in and tore the heck out of it, and it was just a major eyesore in the middle of our downtown area,” he said. “etting control of that and cleaning it up over a period of years has definitely changed the look and the landscape of the downtown area.”
The remaining property is used for city-sponsored community events, such as a Summer Concert Series and an annual Sandmazing event.
Also among Townsend’s top accomplishments was helping facilitate the acquisition of nearly 14 acres along East Dixie Drive and the subsequent demolition of the Carrollton Plaza Shopping Center, once home to Roberds Furniture and other retailers, plus an additional 12 acres along the Great Miami River.
That property is part of a 26-acre area that will be developed into a new River District, including a Whitewater Park on the river.
“Those were all things that council tasked me with when I came in,” Townsend said. “They wanted they want to change the direction in the community and raise its profile, make it a destination location.”
Mayor Jeff Sanner said Townsend has brought “very effective fiscal management, a robust economic development vision and a solid, sustainable plan for the future growth of West Carrollton.”
“As a council, the working relationship with the city manager is a critical piece of the ability to progress toward the goals and the vision set out by your elected officials,” Sanner said in a release. “We appreciate and respect the relationship and the effort that Brad Townsend has given this city and this council for the past 16 years. He certainly has earned his retirement. We are proud of his community stewardship efforts and wish him the best.”
West Carrollton City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution Tuesday to enter into a contract with Management Advisory Group LLC, which will search for a new city manager.
Townsend said any accomplishments during his 16 years with West Carrollton are “those of the staff and the community,” and not solely his own.
“All these things, it couldn’t be accomplished with just one person,” he said. “It was a team effort.”
Townsend launched his career in his hometown of Mt. Zion, Illinois at 19 years old, going from director of Parks and Recreation (1982-1985) to administrative assistant (1985-1987) and village administrator (1987-1990). He served as Springboro’s assistant city manager from 1990 to 1996 and Carlisle’s city manager from 1996 to 2007.
Townsend lives in West Carrollton with his wife and son. He has three children and four grandchildren and said he plans to spend more time with them once he retires.
“This job’s pretty demanding, so I’m kind of looking forward to that,” Townsend said. “I’ve got some new grandkids that I want to get to know.”