Reopened Exit 47 brings West Carrollton upgrades

West Carrollton continues to invest in the corridor leading into the city from the newly reopened Exit 47, the latest in more than $27 million in public spending around the interchange.

Last week, West Carrollton City Council voted to replace the lift station handling storm run-off and other sanitary sewage in the area west of the interchange. The city will borrow $185,000, half of the $371,445 project cost, through the Ohio Public Works Commission, to pay for the new Cedar Street lift station.

The rest of the project will be funded through grants, officials said.

“This is going to help with the Exit 47 project, anything that would develop in that area,” Mayor Jeff Sanner said during the Aug. 14 council meeting.

The council also decided to spend $50,000 from savings on other capital improvement projects on 70 on-street parking spaces and “bump-outs” designed to slow traffic along Central Avenue and Dixie Drive, just east of the $26.4 million interchange, which opened last month after about 10 months of construction.

Already planned along the corridor are $567,656 in planting areas, signs and stone walls. The city expects to spend $257,962 from its capital improvement fund and $309,694 in federal funding through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.

Plans for the $70 million Miami Bend entertainment district are on hold.

The city put plans for the arena-event center on hold because officials were uncertain whether state lawmakers would exempt property taxes. State lawmakers are expected to take up the exemption issue again in November.

“We needed to replace the Cedar Street lift station now anyway,” City Manager Brad Townsend said before the meeting. Despite of uncertainty of the entertainment district plan, the council also decided to go ahead with part of a plan to create a walkable district including the two main roads into the city.

On-street parking will be added in front of the El Meson restaurant and Ele bakery, as well a new Taco Bell and other businesses already operating in the proposed district. The speed will be lowered from 35 mph to 25 mph.

“We think it’s appropriate to get it done,” Townsend said. “This would be the bare minimum.”

Ultimately, West Carrollton estimated public investment in the Miami Bend district at about $22 million in a proposal for establishment of a community entertainment district through the Ohio Department of Liquor Control. The district has been approved, although no liquor permits have yet been sought, spokesman Matt Mullins said.

In addition to an arena-event center, hotels, bars and restaurants, West Carrollton hopes to develop a park with a whitewater run and multi-use trail on the Great Miami River.
Last month, West Carrollton officials joined a meeting called by Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley to develop a regional strategy for developing about 80 miles along the Great Miami corridor, from Sidney in Auglaize county to Fairfield in Butler County.

“What were all finding is there’s very limited funding available,” Townsend said. The riverfront park could be funded with proceeds from a tax incremental financing district already established, if development, such as an arena-event center, ever gets off  the drawing board.

East of Exit 47,  Moraine contributed $250,000 and in-kind services to the regional effort funding the interchange and improvements to the adjoining road network. The work is expected to  fuel interest in commercial redevelopment here, including former auto plants, Mike Davis, economic development director in Moraine, said in an email.

“It will be a key asset to the redevelopment of the former GM and Delphi properties that are very close to the interchange,” Davis said.

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