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.



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

April 8, 2016


**** 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:

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.

Ridgewater Plaza Sold for $10.5M

ridgewaterCincinnati Enquirer -February 18, 2016

 A Columbia Township grocery-anchored shopping center has been sold for $10.5 million, according to the commercial real estate services firm that helped broker the sale.

New York-based Garrison Investment Group sold the 43-year-old Ridgewater Plaza at 5371-5385 Ridge Ave. to Frayer Enterprises of Oklahoma, according to information from Marcus & Millichap and the Hamilton County auditor’s office. Officials from Marcus & Millichap said the 175,028-square-foot center is 98 percent occupied.

Built in 1973 and shadow-anchored by Lowe’s, Ridgewater Plaza is anchored by a 64,700-square-foot Remke Markets, Big Lots, Office Depot, and Fallas Discount Stores. Other tenants include Sally Beauty Supply, GameStop, Fast Signs and National Cash Advance. Remke Markets has been a tenant since 1988 and Big Lots has been at the center since 1994.



CBT president: City didn’t do enough to help us

cbt presidentConstruction is continuing on the new headquarters for CBT in Columbia Township as the company plans to move at least 120 jobs from Cincinnati later this year.

And with CBT’s move, questions are emerging about whether the city did enough to convince the company to stay within its borders.

The move is a big deal for Columbia Township, which stands to gain about $100,000 a year in earnings taxes from the jobs, administrator Michael Lemon said. That money equals about 2.4 percent of the township’s annual budget.

“It’s a very well-respected company,” Lemon said. “We’re very excited about them coming. They’ve got extraordinary owners and leaders. They’ve been an absolute delight to work with.”

CBT wants to open the new operation at 5500 Ridge Ave. by July 1, Lemon said. The company, which was founded in 1921, is currently in Queensgate at 737 W. Sixth St.

City Councilman Chris Seelbach said Friday he has asked Mayor John Cranley’s administration to provide details on the circumstances that led to the company’s exit from Cincinnati.

Seelbach said he sent a congratulatory message to the company learning it received an award. In a handwritten reply sent in November, CBT President James Stahl Jr. hinted the city staff members didn’t do enough to help keep it in Cincinnati.

“CBT approached the city of Cincinnati about helping us stay in Queensgate where he have been since 1988,” the letter said. “We were told by several individuals there is nothing the city could do and wished us good luck. Obviously we were shocked and disappointed.”

Stahl couldn’t be reached for further comment Friday. City officials with knowledge about CBT’s plans couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Seelbach said working to get information isn’t designed to be a witch hunt, but to better understand what happened.

Columbia Township roundabout dead

A plan for a $2 million-plus traffic roundabout in Columbia Township some five years in the making is dead at the hands of businesses and residents.

The Columbia Township Board of Trustees had agreed to contribute $446,000 in matching funds to a $1.76 million grant from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments for a roundabout at the intersection of Bramble Avenue and Plainville Road on the township line with the Cincinnati neighborhood of Madisonville.

A roundabout is a circular intersection in which vehicles move continuously in one direction around a central island.

Columbia Township had hoped a landscaped roundabout in the Bramble Avenue-Plainville Road area would make traffic flow more easily and encourage economic-development there.

Then came a recent public meeting.

“The businesses on Plainville Road and Bramble Avenue and the residents in the area of the proposed roundabout no longer support the path included in our comprehensive plan to help improve the business district and want to see something different,” Columbia Township Administrator Mike Lemon said.

“We do not want to force a project on the businesses and people that they do not want.”

Columbia Township will update its comprehensive plan next year, Lemon said.

“The township will seek the community’s thoughts and input regarding the future of the Madison Place/Plainville Road area as well as the rest of the township,” Lemon said.

“It will reflect the changing environment and new direction from the input of residents and businesses.”

OKI awarded Columbia Township the roundabout grant in 2010, when the township hoped to build it where Plainville and Madisonville roads meet Murray Avenue at the border of Columbia Township and Mariemont.

When the township was unable to sell Mariemont on the idea – despite the fact that Mariemont would not have to ante up matching funds – Columbia Township found Cincinnati a willing partner for a roundabout in the Bramble Avenue-Plainville Road area.

The estimated cost of the project was $2.2 million, which included right-of-way acquisition, geotechnical assessments, environmental review, storm drainage, lighting, utility relocation and construction.

Columbia Township had not expected construction to begin before 2017.

“(Scrapping the roundabout) is a win for the residents, saving $500,000 and a small business and maybe another,” said resident Carl Jones, who opposed the roundabout and who recently failed to win a seat on the Columbia Township Board of Trustees.

On Nov. 3, Chris Kritikos bested Jones by a vote of 692 to 543 for a four-year term on the board of trustees beginning in January.

It’s the seat now held by trustee President Stephen Langenkamp, who did not seeking re-election.

Kritikos will join incumbents Vice President Susan Hughes and trustee David Kubicki, whose terms run through 2017, on the Columbia Township Board of Trustees.

Earlier this year, Jones also spoke out against a 5.1-mill waste levy that Columbia Township voters approved by a vote of 857 to 503 on Nov. 3.

Estimates are that it will annually cost township homeowners $178.50 per $100,000 valuation of their homes and generate just above $614,000 a year for Columbia Township.


Roundabout Project Canceled

Our plan for a $2 million-plus traffic roundabout has been canceled.

The Township had been working on a plan for a roundabout in the Bramble Avenue-Plainville Road area, which could make traffic flow more easily and encourage economic-development there. However, residents and businesses were against the plan.

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