Springboro redeveloping central intersection

Road work and land buys to cost more than $14 million

The plan expected to transform Springboro’s central intersection and cost more than $14 million is moving ahead.

The Springboro City Council has approved an amended purchase agreement with the owners of a former Springboro IGA Plaza on 6.8 acres on the northwest corner of the intersection of Ohio 73, Central Avenue in Springboro, and Ohio 741, named Main Street within city limits.

On Friday, the Warren County Transportation Improvement District is scheduled to take another step toward making $10.6 million in improvements to the intersection, including $4 million to acquire property.

“It all starts there,” Springboro Mayor John Agenbroad said Friday. “We’re all anteing up a lot of collateral on this project.”

The project is expected to take an auto repair shop that continues to operate on the northeast corner, across from the former IGA plaza.

A Speedway fuel and convenience store on the southwest corner and a vacant gas station on the northwest corner, next to the shopping plaza, are also to be acquired in the overall plan to improve and make safer the traffic flow, as well as redevelop the intersection as “mixed use with a residential component established on upper floors of multi-story buildings,” according to the city’s long-range plan.

Agenbroad and the city council on Thursday approved an amendment to the agreement with the Preston family, long-time owners of the IGA and adjoining shopping plaza, setting aside $300,000 to cover the costs of environmental cleanup during demolition.

Earlier this year, the city and Prestons agreed on a contract calling for the city to pay the family $3.4 million for the land.

Last December, the family closed the store it had operated since 1958. Most of the businesses in the plaza are gone now too.

Now the family is to be paid $3.1 million, along with whatever remains of $300,000 in escrow funds after the cleanup. The city would cover cleanup in excess of $300,000.

“We’ve been assured it will not exceed $300,000,” Agenbroad said.

The change was necessary to keep the city’s cost at $3.4 million, the appraised value, according to Agenbroad.

Next City Manager Christine Thompson said staff would be asking the city council to approve a contract for the cleanup. The city has talked with several potential developers, according to Agenbroad.

Meanwhile, engineers are completing designs for the roadway improvements.

Already more than $3 million in federal highway funding has been set aside by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission for the intersection reconstruction expected to alleviate traffic congestion and improve air quality.

“It will clean up the corner, making my building more visible,” said lawyer Kevin Hughes, whose office sits just off the southeast corner.

“It will make access to the downtown historical district easier,” he added.

Springboro officials have indicated a willingness to pick up the remaining costs, unless other state or federal funding can be secured for the project.

Traffic counts say as many as 26,000 cars a day travel through the intersection. The bottleneck is worsened because a-two-lane stretch of Ohio 741 leading through the city’s historic district begins on the south side of the intersection.

The project is expected to be on the agenda for Friday’s meeting of the county transportation improvement district. Details were unavailable last week.

Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2017.

“Obviously it’s millions of dollars and time away,” Agenbroad said.