By Anna DeWine Bolton
GREENE COUNTY — The county saw growth and development in 2016, and even reached a few milestones. This year also gave us these top five stories.
5. Hamvention coming to town. Hamvention, the world’s largest amateur radio gathering, announced this past summer its relocation from Dayton to the county fairgrounds. The news came after the announcement that Hara Arena would be closing.
Hamvention, hosting 25,000 radio operators and their families, has been held in Dayton since its inception in 1952 and at Hara Arena in Trotwood since 1964. And with Hamvention’s move comes money. According to officials, Dayton Hamvention has brought an estimated $15-17 million into the regional economy via hotel stays, restaurants, gas stations and local merchants. The entire 38-acre fairgrounds complex will be used in 2017. Hamvention will bring its own crew of 600 volunteers to stage the annual event, making it no real cost to the county. Hamvention will be held May 19-21, 2017.
4. New building for Public Health. Greene County Public Health broke ground in August on a new Health Services building. To be located at 360 Wilson Dr. in Xenia, the new 25,000-square-foot building will replace the current building that was built just after the 1974 Xenia tornado. Serving families for more than 42 years, the existing facility has outlived its life expectancy, showing signs of deterioration.
The new building will be located next to the current building’s location, making it convenient for customers and clients to be close to other healthcare facilities and transportation routes. The estimated construction cost is approximately $4.7 million and is being paid for with funds used for public health in the county. The new facility will allow for the continuation of dental care and medical services for children, pregnant mothers, and families, as well as the response to diseases and other crises. Greene County Public Health has served the county for nearly 100 years. The project is estimated to be completed by Oct. 31, 2017.
3. Superstreet moving forward. The US Route 35 superstreet project in Beavercreek Township received a $5 million commitment in state funding and a go-ahead to move forward with plans this year. Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) originally proposed the project in order to reduce the number of accidents and decrease traffic and congestion problems along a dangerous stretch of Route 35, particularly at Factory Road and Orchard Lane intersections where accident numbers are high.
ODOT’s plan includes the elimination of left turns and straight-across driving at the Factory Road and Orchard Lane intersections. Drivers who would normally make a left turn onto the main highway would instead make a right turn followed by a signal-controlled U-turn onto the main road. Factory Road and Orchard Lane intersection traffic lights would also be timed to be green for longer amounts of time.
The project, which is estimated to cost a total of $15.8 million, is on track to receive another $5 million from ODOT and is receiving an additional $3 million from Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. As part of the agreement with the township, the commissioners have decided to allocate the entire $1.5 million to finance the local share, while the township will pay $250,000 as their share annually for ten years. The superstreet project is just an interim solution, though, to a much bigger plan that may last ten years. Plans for a full raised highway project, which would stretch nine miles from North Fairfield Road to the Xenia Bypass, are being developed. The full long-term project is expected to cost $120 million.
2. Cornerstone finally agreed. The decade-long discussion between the City of Centerville and Sugarcreek Township surrounding the Cornerstone development, located along I-675 and Feedwire Road, came to an end this fall. Cornerstone houses Costco, Cabela’s, Kroger, and many restaurants and retail. Township trustees ended up approving court settlements and a fire/EMS agreement with the city.
The disagreement centered on how much Centerville would pay Sugarcreek Township to provide fire/EMS to the city-annexed properties in the township at and near the Cornerstone development. Centerville does not have its own fire department. After various negotiations and agreements, attempts at creating a new fire district and changes to the ballot, the city and the township went through a court-ordered mediation and reached an agreement.
Under agreement, the city will pay the township 54 percent of tax money collected from Cornerstone’s commercial development. This adds up to approximately $4.4 million over 30 years. The township agreed to take no action in reducing or eliminating fire/EMS services in the city and township, also rescinding all resolutions creating a new fire district. In addition, Oberer companies, Cornerstone’s developer, agreed to release all legal claims against the township. Centerville will pay the township $160,000 for the construction of Clyo Road, and also agreed to not annex 13 acres of Dille Laboratories-owned land along I-675 and Sweet Arrow Park.
1. Twenty years for Archives. Greene County Records & Archives celebrated its 20th anniversary in October, opening its doors to the public for activities and displays and cake. Exhibits throughout the archives during its open house showcased historical records including an antique suitcase full of family photos and a former archivist’s passport, an 1853 map of Greene County and surveyor records, case records from Greene County Probate Court, and the 1901 Time Capsule.
Before the records were stored at 535 Ledbetter Road, they lived at 140 E. Main St. Before that, they were stored in department basements and the courthouse clock tower. Greene County Archives — and its archivist — didn’t exist until 1996. Once the county commissioners decided to create the position, Archivist Gillian Hill and her assistant began recovering old documents from basements and the courthouse. The current archivist is Robin Heise. Hill and Heise were recently awarded the 2016 National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators Program Excellence Award.
Reach Anna DeWine at 937-502-4498.