Column: Mr. Jones, you are wrong about GSCM

DanTellerColumbia Township and The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori have offered a gift to township residents and school children. Sadly, Carl Jones (May 25, “Columbia Township park issues”) refuses to accept it.

GSCM sits on 13 peaceful acres of hills, fields and woods at the edge of densely populated Madison Place. Naturally, the neighbors are attracted to our campus. When school is not in session, residents walk their dogs on our hills, play hoops on our playground, swing on our playset and chat under our trees.

So when planning to develop an old patch of blacktop into a natural playscape, the school approached the township to explore extending this “de facto” shared use relationship with our neighbors. The result has been a delightful “Community Natural Playscape,” which township administrator Mike Lemon has called a “unique public-private collaboration.”

Funding for the playscape has come from a wide range of sources: private foundations and donors, the Cincinnati Rotary Club, the Mariemont Moms Group, Columbia Township, the state of Ohio, and of course the school’s own parents and PTO.

Labor for the playscape has been equally diverse: school parents laid the drain tile, installed the playset and planted trees. Students planted perennials and spread mulch. Five different Boy Scouts did their Eagle projects on features of the playscape. During one of our six volunteer work days, a neighborhood resident who had brought his children to play in the park stayed for two hours and joined us planting shrubs. What a wonderful expression of community this process has been!

Most significantly, the school has made its private property available for use as a private-public park, sparing the township the cost-prohibitive task of purchasing property, razing houses, and developing a park infrastructure: an exponentially more costly proposition than the $18,500 the township has provided. As a result, an inviting space is within walking distance of Madison Place residents, where previously the nearest township park was over two miles away.

Mr. Jones decries the limitations that school hours place on public access to the park. Actually, there are just 175 school days per year, leaving 190 days of total free access for township residents. In addition, the mellow weekday evenings of spring and fall are times when I have often enjoyed the sight of neighborhood families using our campus and playscape.

Perhaps the most telling symbol of the different lenses with which to view this project is the fence. Mr. Jones views the recent installation of a low split rail fence as a barrier. This is far from the truth. The fence is not to keep people out, but to keep children safe within. It is open at both ends. The gate has no lock. Instead, a sign will soon be installed that invites people to “Play! Enjoy! Explore!” Mr. Jones, I invite you to enter this gate and join me for a summer cup of coffee under our shady oak tree. I hope that you will leave our time together as a friend, not a critic.

Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Extension

 

What are they thinking?

Duke Energy is planning to build a huge gas transmission line right through our neighborhoods.  This is not like the distribution lines under our streets, or the lines that bring power to our homes.  This is an enormous high pressure, high capacity pipeline that would be built next to schools, daycare centers, places of worship, and even through people’s yards.

No one would even consider running a high speed expressway right down the middle of a residential street or right next to a school playground, and then allowing tanker trucks trucks carrying full loads of hazardous chemicals to drive up and down the street, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  That would be unthinkable.  Have you seen how fast truckers go on the expressway?  What if the driver lost control of his vehicle, or what if someone cut him off while switching lanes and he couldn’t stop?  Your kids could be out in the yard playing!  Can you imagine?

Well, for many us in the Cincinnati area, this has become a very real possibility.  Duke Energy is not building an expressway for trucks next to our schools and houses.  Duke Energy is building an expressway for natural gas.  This pipeline contains 720 psi’s in a single inch cube.  Multiply that by the area of the pipe and you get a 507,000 psi catastrophic accident waiting to happen.

Want to learn more about Duke’s Central Corridor Pipeline Extension project in Cincinnati, and what you can do to stop it? Here’s everything you need to know.

Concerned Neighbors – This is a quickly evolving situation, so please forgive us if information is incomplete.  We are madly scrambling to keep you informed.  Check back often and LIKE us on Facebook to stay connected.

Announcement Regarding Ridgewood Subdivision

Ridgewood and Cliffridge Water Main Replacement and Repaving
Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) advised Columbia Township officials it plans to begin its Ardmore Water Main Project #WW002742 construction on replacing water mains beginning June 13, 2016. The project includes new water mains for Ridgewood and Cliffridge Avenues. The work schedule given is as follows, dependent upon weather:

  • Start layout of the water main               June 13, 2016
  • Start saw-cutting for the water main   June 14, 2016
  • Start laying of the water main               June 20, 2016
  • Start installing fire hydrants                 August 17, 2016
  • Start to test new water main                 August 30, 2016
  • Start tie-ins and services                        August 30, 2016
  • Start the final tie-ins                               November 16, 2016
  • Start final restoration                             Fall 2016

Since the water main construction will require half of Ridgewood and half of Cliffridge to be repaved, the Township tagged onto the project to have the balance of the streets repaved which will save a significant amount of money, increase the lifespan of the streets and improve the look of the streets.

Ridgewood Avenue work will include a new water main and curb-to-curb resurfacing while Cliffridge will include a new water main, curbs, driveway aprons and resurfacing.

The project will begin on Cliffridge. Once GCWW is finished with its water main work, the roadwork will begin and be completed in the fall.

As one might expect, there will be occasional delays, noise and inconveniences. Efforts will be made to keep these to a minimum during the four 10-hour day schedule planned for the job.

Columbia Township trustees weigh fire levy

The possibility that Columbia Township residents who live in the Ridge Fire District may be asked to approve a fire levy this fall is growing closer to a probability.

The township’s Board of Trustees has voted to ask the Hamilton County Auditor to certify how much a 3.4-mill levy would cost homeowners in the Ridge Road-Highland Avenue area annually and how much it would generate for Columbia Township annually.

“After receiving the certification, the trustees will determine whether to pass a resolution to proceed to place a levy on the ballot, which would only affect the Ridge Fire District,” Columbia Township Administrator Michael Lemon said.

Township trustees David Kubicki, board president; Susan Hughes, board vice president, and Christos Kritikos were not immediately available for comment on whether they are leaning toward asking voters to approve a fire levy.

Lemon has said projections show a shortfall in the Ridge Fire District of more than $120,000 per year over the next five years without an increase in revenue.

Columbia Township has a three-year contract in which it will pay the Golf Manor Fire Department $355,000 this year, $360,000 next year and $370,000 the last year for fire and emergency-medical services in the township’s Ridge Fire District.

Other areas of Columbia Township are served by other fire departments and would not be affected by the possible levy under discussion.

The current fire levy millage in the Ridge Fire District is 6.77.

Want to know more about what is happening in Columbia Township? Follow me on Twitter @jeannehouck.

Who is affected?

The Ridge Fire District includes the Ridge Road and Highland Avenue business district, the Ridgewood subdivision and township streets off Kennedy Avenue.

Streets involved are Blueridge Avenue, Brackenridge Avenue, Charloe Street, Cliffridge Avenue, Crestridge Circle, Dogwood Lane, Donald Drive, Highland Avenue, Hill and Dale Drive, Kennedy Avenue, Kenoak Lane, Losantiridge Avenue, Lucille Drive, Monardi Circle, Ridge Circle, Ridge Road, Ridgewood Avenue and Viewpoint Drive.

This Greater Cincinnati Remke Store is Closing

Remke Markets is closing one of its Greater Cincinnati stores.Remke Markets won’t renew its lease at its Pleasant Ridge store location in order to focus its efforts on remodeling and upgrading more viable store locations, it announced Monday.

The Erlanger-based independent grocer won’t renew its lease at its Pleasant Ridge store location in order to focus its efforts on remodeling and upgrading more viable store locations, it announced Monday.

The store at 3240 Highland Ave. is expected to close on Saturday, June 25, following the liquidation of its inventory. That process is expected to begin on May 31.

“It’s always a difficult decision to close a store, as we are committed to our customers and associates across all of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky,” Remke president Matthew Remke said in a statement. “We will continue delivering on our promise of a local, neighborhood grocery with exceptional service in a convenient location. There is definitely customer demand for Remke’s neighborhood shopping experience in this very competitive grocery market. I’m genuinely excited about the good things on the horizon as we remain steadfast in our focus on our loyal customers and valued associates.”

The Pleasant Ridge store employs 54 associates. They will have the opportunity to explore available positions at other Remke Markets locations, and eligible employees who don’t take those positions will receive outplacement support and severance benefits.

Remke closed one of its stores on the West Side last summer while downsizing the other.

Remke, a family company that launched in 1897, still operates 10 markets in Greater Cincinnati and is investing $500,000 to $750,000 on enhancements at its Skytop and Taylor Mill locations while also investing in new e-commerce opportunities.

Columbia Township fire levy may be on fall ballot

Columbia Township fire levy may be on fall ballotColumbia Township residents who live in the Ridge Fire District may be asked to approve a fire levy this fall.

The township’s Board of Trustees will vote Tuesday, May 10, on whether to ask the Hamilton County Auditor to certify how much a 3.4-mill levy would cost homeowners in the Ridge Road-Highland Avenue area annually and how much it would generate for Columbia Township annually.

“This is the first step toward a possible levy in November,” Columbia Township Administrator Michael Lemon said.

“After certification by the auditor, the trustees must decide whether to proceed to place the levy on the ballot and pass a resolution to do so.

“All this must be accomplished 90 days prior to the election,” Lemon said.

Lemon said projections show a shortfall in the Ridge Fire District of more than $120,000 per year over the next five years without an increase in revenue.

“With costs exceeding revenue generated by our current levy, the township is likely to seek a levy to bring costs and revenue into balance,” Lemon said.

Last year Columbia Township had a fire protection contract with the Golf Manor Fire Department for the Ridge Fire District that was due to expire Dec. 31.

“Golf Manor sought a substantial increase and the township sought an alternative provider at a lower cost,” Lemon said.

“Residents of the Ridge Fire District clearly let it be known they wanted to retain the services of the Golf Manor Fire Department despite the fact its costs were higher than an alternative provider.”

The Golf Manor Fire Department has provided fire services to Columbia Township’s Ridge Fire District for more than 60 years.

Columbia Township subsequently approved a three-year contract in which it will pay the Golf Manor Fire Department $355,000 the first year, $360,000 the second year and $370,000 the third year for fire and emergency-medical services in the township’s Ridge Fire District.

The Ridge Fire District includes the Ridge Road and Highland Avenue business district, the Ridgewood subdivision and township streets off Kennedy Avenue.

Other areas of Columbia Township are served by other fire departments and would not be affected by the possible levy under discussion.

The current fire levy millage in the Ridge Fire District is 6.77.

 

***NEWS RELEASE***WALTON CREEK ROAD CLOSURE

hamilton county enginee sealHamilton County Engineer
223 West Galbraith Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45215
Traffic Department

April 8, 2016

***NEWS RELEASE***WALTON CREEK ROAD CLOSURE

**** Between Muchmore Rd. & Varner Rd.****IN COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP / INDIAN HILL

Theodore B. Hubbard, the Hamilton County Engineer, would like to announce the full closure of Walton Creek Road, between Muchmore and Varner Roads in Columbia Township / Indian Hill, beginning Monday, April 25, 2016.

Work being performed by W.E. Smith on the Pier Wall for Road Stabilization and is anticipated to last until June 24, 2016 (weather permitting).

Any problems/questions should be directed to either Gene Smith with W.E. Smith at (513) 508-2157 or to Ted Willman with the Hamilton County Engineer’s at: (513) 946-8442. Please do not respond to this email.

W.E. Smith’s detour will be routed over Muchmore Road to Miami Road to Indian Hill Road to Drake Road to Varner Road and vice versa.

For information on other projects, please visit our web site at: www.hamilton-co.org/engineer

CBT Co. Announces Acquisition of FDL Automation & Supply Company

Acquisition to strengthen CBT’s position in the automation and MRO services in west central, Ohio

SIDNEY, OHIO – April 1, 2016 –CBT Co. (formerly Cincinnati Belting & Transmission) announced that it has acquired FDL Automation & Supply Company, a locally owned electrical distributor based in Sidney, Ohio. FDL provides electrical products and solutions to the contractor, original equipment manufacturer, and the industrial market. This acquisition will expand CBT’s Rockwell Automation/ Allen Bradley distributor territory to include all of the counties surrounding Sidney, Ohio, including Shelby, Clark, Auglaize, Logan, Champaign and Hardin. CBT and FDL have a similar offering in automation and electrical supplies, and CBT will add their additional power transmission, belting, and pneumatic products and services to the Sidney location with the acquisition.

JEDZ performs well for Columbia Township

finding your wayA new economic-development tool in Columbia Township is performing well.

Township officials had projected a new business tax connected to its joint economic-development zone with Fairfax would produce about $706,000 annually for economic-development efforts, and it produced $760,000 in 2015.

“The JEDZ performance is critical to the delivery of services and economic development aid and assistance provided to current and new businesses considering Columbia Township,” township Administrator Michael Lemon said.

“It is generating new opportunities that will help assure the viability and sustainability of our community for the future.

“It played a significant role in bringing the new CBT headquarters to the township last year and we hope to use it to bring additional businesses through creative partnerships as we move forward,” Lemon said.

The CBT Co. is moving its headquarters from downtown Cincinnati to the former Kmart site at 5500 Ridge Ave. in Columbia Township – and bringing 120 employees with it.

Columbia Township agreed to issue up to $2.85 million in revenue bonds to help CBT build a 95,000-square-foot facility with 55,000 square feet of warehouse space and 40,000 square feet of office space.

CBT, which supplies automation, power transmission, electrical, belting and pneumatic products and services, will pay the township back over the next 30 years in lieu of paying property taxes.

Columbia Township expects to receive about $50,000 for each of the first 10 years from CBT and $100,000 a year after that, but the sums are dependent upon the number of jobs created and their salaries.

CBT President James Stahl Jr. has said the company was disappointed that Cincinnati didn’t do anything to help keep it in that city.

With the approval of Columbia Township voters in November 2013, the township and Fairfax forged one of the last joint economic-development zone partnerships before the state outlawed the zones.

In April 2014 the partners began assessing a 1 percent income tax on people who work and businesses that operate in Columbia Township commercial areas on Wooster Pike, on Plainville Road and at Ridge and Highland avenues.

Fairfax, which is a village, gets a cut of the proceeds for collecting the income tax, which Ohio law says townships cannot do.

Meanwhile, the Columbia Township Board of Trustees has given 3 percent raises to its five full-time employees and one part-time employee.

“The increase was based upon cost-of-living and a wage survey of Center for Local Government members for similar positions and merit,” Lemon said.

Finding your way to Columbia Township businesses

finding your wayA Columbia Township business district could have the best hardware store, grocery and nail salon in the world, but if people can’t find them it’s all for naught.

So township officials are inviting businesses in the Ridge Road and Highland Avenue area to help implement a wayfinding system to steer people to the businesses.

“We are undertaking this project as a result of concerns expressed by several businesses that their customers do not know how to get to their location from the exit off Interstate 71 south,” Columbia Township Administrator Michael Lemon said.

Also, “An assessment revealed little if any directional signage or indicators anywhere in the business district to help get people to various parts of the business district or to specific establishments,” Lemon said.

Lemon said Columbia Township doesn’t want to erect large or numerous signs.

“We are attempting to get people to their destination through the use of symbols and minimal signage,” Lemon said.

“We are gathering a number of stakeholders to attend several meetings to help us determine which techniques will work best in the Ridge and Highland business area.”

The public will be invited to join the conversation later, Lemon said.