Massive Indoor Adventure Attraction in the Works

Tom Demeropolis |Cincinnati Business Courier

A company is working to redevelop a former Bigg’s grocery store into an indoor skydiving and adventure attraction.

Frayer Enterprises LLC, a national franchisee of Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Parks, received approval from the Hamilton County Rural Zoning Commission for an adjustment to a previously approved planned unit development at Ridgewater Plaza in Columbia Township. The company plans to open an Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park, an indoor skydiving facility that would also include indoor trampolines, laser tag, mini golf and other family-friendly activities.

This is a trampoline area in the Sugar Land, Texas Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park. The Cincinnati location will have similar attractions.Michael Browning, CEO and co-founder of Dallas/Fort Worth-based Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park, said this will be one of the largest locations to open yet. The attraction, which would be located at 3240 Highland Ave., will fill the entire former grocery store, which is about 65,000 square feet. It is scheduled to open in July or August.

“This is going to be significantly larger based on sheer size and attractions,” Browning told me.
The Cincinnati location will have an indoor skydiving tunnel that will allow customers to fly up to 21 feet in the air. Other attractions will include a two-story, electric go-kart track with cars that can reach speeds of up to 50 mph, wall-to-wall trampoline arenas, dodgeball courts and other activities.
The total investment is expected to be between $5 million and $6 million.
The architect for the project is Nove out of Dallas. Orijin 3 Design Studio is the owner’s representative for the height variance.

Frayer Enterprises needs to build a vertical addition to make room for the indoor skydiving attraction as part of the conversion of the vacant grocery store into a new Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park. The addition would be more than 59 feet tall.

Frayer Enterprises purchased the property, located at 5371-5385 Ridge Ave., at the beginning of 2016 for more than $9.9 million, according to property records.

Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park is a national indoor trampoline and adventure park franchise company. There are more than 50 Urban Air Trampoline Park locations in the U.S., according to the company’s website. The average cost to open a location is $1.5 million.

A Cincinnati location is one of dozens listed as soon to be opened.

A typical Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park, which usually measures about 25,000 square feet, draws about 180,000 guests per year. Since the Cincinnati location will be nearly three times larger, Browning expects it will draw quite a bit more.

“With these attractions, people will drive from hours away,” Browning said told me. “It’s hard to say what we anticipate, but we would love to see more than 180,000.”

The entertainment center also is expected to include a full-service restaurant that would serve beer and wine.

Browning said Cincinnati met the company’s criteria after going through an extensive real estate and demographic analysis. The company looks for a large population of children as well as tweens and teens. The typical Urban Air hosts about 2,600 birthday parties per year.

Browning expects to hire about 65 total employees for the Cincinnati Urban Air location.

Televised Board of Trustees Monthly Meeting Survey

Do you ever watch meetings of the Columbia Township Trustees online through cable access television or via the Internet?
Columbia Township is currently assessing resident use of its ICRC (Intercommunity Regulatory Commission of Southwest Ohio) contracted services.
The township pays ICRC to film and post township trustee meetings on public access cable television, ICRC’s website and the township’s website at a cost of approximately $24,000 a year ($2,000 per meeting)
Viewership of the meetings has ranged from a high of 35 views to a low of one person per meeting.

Columbia Twp. may put police levy on May ballot

 Columbia Township may put a 3.4-mill police levy on the May ballot. In the following Q&A, township Administrator Michael Lemon sheds light on the issue.

Did the Columbia Township Board of Trustees vote to put a police levy on the ballot?

 No, they voted to have the (Hamilton County) auditor certify the amount of revenue a 3.4-mill levy would generate, as required by the Ohio Revised Code.

What would a 3.4-mill levy cost homeowners annually and how much money would it produce annually for Columbia Township to provide police services?

The auditor’s certification will tell us both of these (figures).

Columbia Township currently contracts with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to police the township 24 hours a day, seven days a week. About how long has the sheriff’s office been policing Columbia Township?

As far as I know, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has been policing Columbia Township forever.

What kind of police presence does the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office provide?

The number of deputies varies per shift and day.

The number can range from one to five per shift, depending on scheduling by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

What does the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office annually charge Columbia Township for this service?

The cost of the officers has averaged $860,991 per year over the past three years while total police service costs, which includes dispatch fees and equipment purchases, have averaged $935,886.

How does Columbia Township pay for these services now?

While costs increased and revenue declined as a result of state tax cuts, we managed to provide ongoing service without a (new) levy.

Costs are paid from the police fund (annual revenue and reserves from earlier levies) and the General Fund (if there are shortfalls, which has occurred the last two years).

In addition to the shortfalls, why is Columbia Township considering a police levy now?

We have not had a levy on the ballot for police services in 13 years.

We explored policing by other communities to reduce costs but found this alternative would cost more and reduce resources.

Ridge Fire District residents to vote on levy Nov. 8

Jeanne Houck, 11:04 a.m. EDT September 30, 2016

Residents who live in Columbia Township’s Ridge Fire District will vote Tuesday, Nov. 8, on whether to increase the 6.77-mill property-tax levy they pay for fire and emergency-medical services by 3.4 mills.

If approved, the hike will cost homeowners in the Ridge Road-Highland Avenue area an additional $119 per $100,000 of the assessed value of their homes annually, according to the Hamilton County auditor’s office.

The auditor’s office also says the levy – if approved – will generate just over $149,000 a year to pay the Golf Manor Fire Department, with which Columbia Township contracts for fire services in the Ridge Fire District.

Other areas of the township are served by other fire departments and are not be affected by the levy on the ballot.

Columbia Township Administrator Michael Lemon says the fire levy needs to be approved because revenue generated by the current levy in the Ridge Fire District has been less than the cost of the township’s fire-protection contract with Golf Manor for several years.

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.

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.


What’s fueling Ridge Road exit closure

, jhouck@communitypress.com1:28 p.m. EDT August 12, 2016

An Ohio Department of Transportation official says the state is closing the Ridge Road north exit ramp off Interstate 71 to make traveling safer and to ease traffic congestion.

State transportation officials will replace the exit that leads to Columbia Township’s Ridge Road/Highland Avenue business district with a new one that leads directly to Kennedy Avenue, said Brian Cunningham, communications manager with the Ohio Department of Transportation’s district office in Lebanon.

“This was primarily closed to eliminate weaving and merging movements from northbound 71 to Ridge and also from Kennedy to I-71 northbound,” Cunningham said.

“The decision to remove the Ridge Road ramp also was based on…ease of access from I-71 northbound to Ridge Road via state Route 562 – where one can go either left or right onto Ridge – and we will be making Ridge Road two lanes from state Route 562 north where it currently is only one lane.”

Columbia Township Administrator Mike Lemon said recently he was surprised to learn the state planned to close the Ridge Road north exit when he attended a public meeting in July hosted by the Ohio Department of Transportation that he thought was about state plans to add a lane to northbound I-71 and to add sound-barrier walls.

Lemon subsequently arranged a meeting to allow representatives of Columbia Township, Pleasant Ridge and businesses to ask state transportation officials why they plan to close the Ridge Road north exit and why they did not tell local people earlier that they were considering the move.

“ODOT apologized publicly several times for not involving the township earlier,” Lemon said.

“Three representatives were in attendance and were informative and helpful in explaining the project detail and how it will affect traffic flow.

“I think the meeting and sharing details of the project diminished the anxiety of some attendees, caused by lack of information,” Lemon said.

Bill Brinkmann, general manager of Mark Sweeney Buick GMC at 3365 Highland Ave., said he and Mark Sweeney attended the meeting and found it informative.

“We are in favor of the project and believe that it will help to support the revitalization of the Pleasant Ridge business district,” Brinkmann said.

Cunningham agreed that, “It is my understanding the meeting went well. We were asked to provide additional information such as traffic counts and analyze a few possible changes such as signing options.”

But Cunningham said the Ohio Department of Transportation is committed to the project; construction is to begin in spring 2018 and take a year.

“We are continuing to move along with the project,” Cunningham said.

Lemon said state transportation officials at the meeting he arranged agreed to review his proposal to reopen the link from Duck Creek Road to the north lanes of Ridge Road, which now dead ends.

“The ODOT officials listened to the concerns and recommendations of the participants and said they would include them in its environmental review in the process which will be completed in late fall,” Lemon said.

“I requested audience members to detail their concerns in a letter or email and send it to ODOT for inclusion in the public record as the project process proceeds.

“Several of the concerns mentioned were traffic impact on business district streets, Duck Creek reopening to Ridge Road, ability of large semi-trucks to navigate the exit ramp lanes, exit and wayfinding signage and more,” Lemon said.

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

What the Ohio Department of Transportation plans to do:

Widen northbound Interstate 71 to three continuous through lanes between the Norwood Lateral and Red Bank Expressway interchanges by eliminating the existing loop exit ramp to northbound Ridge Road. The proposed additional lane will continue north from the Ridge Road overpass to the exit ramp at Red Bank Expressway.

Construct a new straight exit ramp from northbound I-71 to Kennedy Avenue.

Modify the existing entrance ramp from Kennedy Avenue to northbound I-71 to allow it to pass between the pier and abutment of the Kennedy Avenue overpass.

Provide a new traffic signal on Kennedy Avenue for the new exit ramp and modified entrance ramp.

Modify Ridge Road between Duck Creek Road and the I-71 overpass to provide two northbound lanes.

Why the Ohio Department of Transportation plans to do it:

Safety: This section of northbound Interstate 71 is ranked ninth out of 77 Hamilton County segments that have a higher than predicted frequency of crashes for this road type, state transportation officials say.

A study concluded that 45 percent of all crashes in the area occurred on northbound I-71. Seventy percent of the northbound crashes occurred during the evening and likely were related to congestion created as two lanes drop at the state Route 562 and Ridge Road north interchange.

Traffic congestion – This section of northbound I-71 is among the top 25 (out of 179) most congested state and interstate highway segments in Ohio, state transportation officials say.

Currently, 67,540 to 71,810 vehicles travel this section daily. By 2036, that range is expected to increase to 70,880 to 76,310 vehicles a day.

I-71 exit to Columbia Twp. business district to close

Lemon was at a public meeting hosted by the Ohio Department of Transportation to provide input on its plans to add a lane to northbound I-71 and add sound-barrier walls when he found out that the state also plans to close the Ridge Road north exit ramp off I-71 and build a new exit directly to Kennedy Avenue.

Lemon fired off an email to Ohio Department of Transportation officials saying that he told a state transportation official at the meeting that, “I did not see how this project could be considered an economic-development project for Columbia Township when the proposal was eliminating the very exit that led traffic into the heart of the Columbia Township business district and redirected it away from the business district to a traffic light on Kennedy Avenue where any economic-development opportunity is limited.”

“In fact, I expressed concern that it could retard economic development,” Lemon wrote.

“I believe businesses impacted by this change should have been consulted long ago, along with township officials.”

Ohio Department of Transportation officials were not immediately available for comment.

Lemon said state transportation officials say they are changing the exits for safety reasons, have the funding and are moving ahead with the project, although construction is not scheduled to begin until 2018.

But Ohio Department of Transportation officials have agreed to discuss the issue with Columbia Township officials and businesses in the Ridge Road and Highland Avenue area at a meeting  Aug. 8.

Lemon intends to lobby the state at the meeting to reopen the link from Duck Creek Road to the north lanes of Ridge Road. It now dead ends.

“If you take the new Kennedy Avenue exit and you want to get back to, say, Burlington Coat Factory, or Jack in the Box or Wendy’s, you have to turn left onto Kennedy, and then left onto Highland and then left onto Ridge,” Lemon said.

“Having driven that many times, I think you know that’s a rather arduous way to get there.

“If they were to reopen Duck Creek, then you could turn right on Kennedy, go down to Duck Creek and turn right to Ridge and then right on up (to the business district),” Lemon said.


View The Crime Map – Raids Online

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Reduce crime and improve public safety. BAIR Analytics’s public crime map, RAIDS Online, connects law enforcement with the community to reduce crime and improve public safety. Crime mapping helps the public get a better idea of the crime activity in their area so they can make more informed decisions about how to stay safe.

RAIDS Online goes beyond crime mapping by automatically alerting the public about recent crime activity and by improving communication between the public and law enforcement through anonymous tips. RAIDS Online empowers the public to make better decisions about crime by putting the same technology used by law enforcement to analyze and interpret crime activity into the hands of the public.

Sources of information

RAIDS Online compiles crime data and other information from law enforcement agencies to make it easier for the public to stay informed about crime. Data in RAIDS Online is provided directly from each law enforcement agency. Because RAIDS Online is just the public side of a much more robust crime data sharing and analysis system for law enforcement, we take every step to ensure that the data is of the highest quality and accuracy. To uphold these quality standards, BAIR works with each agency to set up an automated feed of the data from their crime database into the RAIDS database. Receiving the data directly from each law enforcement agency ensures that the data is always up to date, accurate and complete.

You can see the source of the crime data for any incident by clicking on the incident on the map. The information window lists the “Agency” that provided the information. The Metadata tab also lists the source and links to each source’s web page for the incidents that are currently in view.

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Law enforcement agencies keep detailed records about each incident that occurs in their jurisdiction. When an incident happens, the officer that responded to the incident writes a detailed report with information about the event including the location, people involved, related vehicles and other useful information. This information is stored in large, secure databases within each law enforcement agency. Between departments, these databases can vary in structure and complexity, and even the data itself can follow different standards to describe the event. This can make it difficult for two neighboring cities to share crime data and benefit from being able to analyze events and offenders that cross city boundaries. BAIR’s regional data sharing products help centralize and standardize this information into a national database of crime to improve regional data sharing and analysis. RAIDS Online takes this data, cleans it to protect victim privacy, and displays it to the public so citizens can be aware of the events that occur in their area and take action to stay safe.

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Don’t see crime data in your city?

Contact the Public Information Officer in your city to request that they start sharing crime information with you through RAIDS Online. It’s absolutely free for your city to participate, so there’s no reason for them not to join RAIDS Online.

These Greater Cincinnati communities rank among best places to live

A new study ranks 18 Greater Cincinnati neighborhoods among the 25 best places to live in their respective states.

The new rankings are from the national website Niche, which collects data based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities and local amenities. Data comes from the U.S. Census, FBI and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among other sources.

Eleven Southwest Ohio communities rank in the top 25 places to live in the Buckeye State:

No. 3: Deerfield Township

No. 4: Wyoming

No. 8: Mariemont

No. 12: Blue Ash

No. 14: Mason

No. 18: Symmes Township

No. 19: Madeira

No. 21: Anderson Township

No. 22: Columbia Township

No. 23: Montgomery

No. 24: Landen

Seven Northern Kentucky communities rank among the top 25 in the Bluegrass State:

No. 3: Fort Mitchell

No. 11: Fort Thomas

No. 13: Southgate

No. 14: Oakbrook (Boone County)

No. 18: Park Hills

No. 20: Florence

No. 25: Union

Two Franklin County communities, Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights, were rated the top places to live in Ohio. Los Alamos, N.M., was rated the best place to live in the U.S. Devon, Pa., was rated the nation’s best place to raise a family.


Notice is hereby given that on July 7, 2016 at 4:00 pm, a public hearing will be held on the 2017 Budget prepared by the Board of Trustees of Columbia Township, Hamilton County, Ohio, for the next succeeding year ending December 31, 2017.The hearing will be held at Columbia Township Maintenance & Administration Building, 5686 Kenwood Road Cincinnati, Ohio 45227

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