Tipp City weighs I-75 interchange beautification vs. city projects

The Exit 68 interchange on I-75 in Tipp City Ohio. Credit: Google

Combined ShapeCaption
The Exit 68 interchange on I-75 in Tipp City Ohio. Credit: Google

City Council has long debated whether to invest $1 million in the highway area

TIPP CITY — As a new Tipp City Council revisits earlier discussions on Interstate 75 interchange beautification possibilities, a former council member suggested it might want to look at spending that $1 million-plus to improve other areas of the city instead.

The seven-person council, seated in January with five new members, earlier this month discussed what it might do about improving the appearance of Exit 68 at Main Street. Complaints in the past have included weeds, littler and an overall unattractive look.

The interchange has been a topic of council discussion for a number of years.

In February 2020, council heard a presentation from KZF Design of Cincinnati on possibilities for improvements. Input also was sought during a public meeting, and via the display of concept plans at the Government Center.

Council at the time requested options that would allow for low maintenance. The proposals included a lighted sign with the city logo along with a variety of low maintenance plantings.

Since then, the Ohio Department of Transportation has said those signs are distracting to motorists and won’t be allowed.

Designs also were sought using concrete and pavers along with plantings requiring low maintenance and no watering.

Last fall, the council again discussed possible options but was unable to reach a consensus on a direction for a project. The council left more than $1.25 million in funding for design and construction in the five-year capital improvements budget, said city Finance Director John Green.

Council President Kathryn Huffman asked council if it wanted to leave the project tabled or take another look at possibilities.

City Manager Tim Eggleston said the staff and council could work with the concepts already in hand or start over.

The last council had discussed the interchanges in some other communities, including Troy where the Ohio 41 interchange is maintained voluntarily by a group of lawn care/landscaping businesses, and Fairborn, where the concrete, pavers and other design measures caught the eye of some previous council members.

Huffman asked if staff could obtain more information on the Fairborn interchange, including the price of that project and whether a similar layout would work in Tipp City.

Several council members said earlier this month they would like the city to move forward with some form of improvements.

Following the council discussion, former councilman John Kessler asked council to spend money set aside for the interchange elsewhere in the community.

“If you have a great front door and your yard is trashy, people are going to forget your front door,” Kessler said, referring to recurring council discussions on property maintenance and care of public property. “Can that money be better spent to make the community look good? I think so.”

Kessler said the money could be used on crack sealing and other maintenance work for streets.

“Drive through some of our upscale neighborhoods and see the weeds growing up around the curb,” he said, noting weed issues have intensified with bans on use of certain chemicals.

“Driving around the community would make more of an impression than an interchange and flowers,” Kessler said. “Once you see an interchange, it is behind you.”

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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