West Chester Township had a successful, but challenging year in 2020. The overshadowing of the pandemic put stress and additional cost on our Township, but we prevailed. The Board of Trustees conducted township business throughout 2020 with 24 Regular Meetings, two Special Meetings and two Emergency Meetings.
I’ll share the purpose and outcomes of the four Special and Emergency Meetings before moving to some of our Regular Meeting highlights:
• June 2, 2020 – Emergency Meeting for the purpose of imposing a 30-day temporary curfew in West Chester in the event a protest, demonstration, parade, or other public gathering in West Chester became hazardous to persons or property. The 30-day curfew started on June 2nd and was in effect from 10pm to 5am. It’s important to note that even though the curfew was ‘in-force’ for 30 days, it was ONLY imposed for two out of the thirty days! This happened because EACH DAY, the West Chester Police Department, in conjunction with information available from other law enforcement agencies, evaluated the potential risk of hazard to residents and businesses, and determined if enforcement was necessary. In other words, the default setting was ‘OFF’ and it was only ‘ON’ if there was imminent threat.
• June 10, 2020 – Special Meeting for the purpose of going into Executive Session to discuss matters concerning the West Chester Police Department.
• August 4, 2020 – Emergency Meeting for the purpose of revising the language, updating the format and meeting the August 5th deadline for submission of resolutions for the 2-mill Police levy (Statutory Resolution No. 30-2020) and the 2-mill Fire levy (Statutory Resolution No. 29-2020) that were going on the November ballot.
The Board of Trustees met a total of four times in 2020 to discuss the Police and Fire levies. The first was at the June 23rd meeting where we began the process.
Next at the July 14th the 2-mill tax levies were initially approved with Statutory Resolution No. 20-2020 for fire protection and Statutory Resolution No. 21-2020 for police protection.
Then on Sept 8, 2020 the Trustees approved Resolution No. 33-2020 accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the Butler County Budget Commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the Butler County Auditor.
The Police and Fire levies both passed with an overwhelming majority on the November 3rd ballot. Thank-You West Chester Residents!
November 13, 2020 – Special Meeting for the purpose of approving Statutory Resolution 42-2020 authorizing a sub-grant agreement between Butler County, Ohio and West Chester Township for reimbursement of eligible costs for administration of the Butler County Small Business Relief CARES Grant Program whereby the Township would receive $286,000 to distribute to West Chester businesses adversely affected financially by COVID restrictions and health requirements. Business owners who filled out the on-line form and met requirements could receive as much as $10,000 for related expenses. Businesses can apply for the grant until December 11, 2020 at 4:30pm. Go to www.WestChesterOH.org for more info and to file.
Like many previous years, West Chester Township continued to enjoy development and growth in 2020 with significant projects that added (or will add) to our property tax base and ensure our economic sustainability in the future.
Starting at the January 14th meeting the Trustees approved Resolution 25-2019 giving the go ahead for The Lofts at Union Centre, a 300 unit urban, luxury, multi-story apartment complex just east of The Savoy on Allen Rd. Although delayed by COVID, construction should begin in 2021.
At the February 11th meeting the Trustees unanimously authorize a partnership with The Nature Conservancy of Ohio for 46 acres of wetland mitigation on Township owned property located on Rialto Rd across from the Duke Energy Substation. The 46 acres will be “reclaimed” greenspace and developed into a park with primitive paths for hiking. Once completed, this park will add to the quality-of-life for residents in West Chester.
On March 10th a contract was approved with Graybach LLC for construction of new Fire Station 73 per the specifications advertised not to exceed $3,414,400.00. Work is currently under way with a September 2021 anticipated completion date.
At the June 23rd and July 28th meetings Zoning Map Amendments were approved for additional buildings to be constructed at the West Chester Trade Center and then just north for Republic Wire to begin the process of purchasing Bratt Farm to construct a new 400,000 s. f. Distribution Facility.
The new Union Centre DDI Interchange opened on July 27th after more than a year of construction and improvements
Closing out the year, at the October 27th meeting the Trustees approved a Development Agreement with The
Residences at Clocktower, LLC (“Hills”), in the amount of $1,219,754 from TIF funding, to provide traffic control and streetscape infrastructure to compliment the area surrounding the new residential development near Towne Centre. Construction has already begun to build the $30M urban, multi-story complex with 300+ apartments for Millennials and Empty Nesters. Also, at the meeting the Trustees approved spending just over $4M from CARES ACT for coronavirus related township expenses which included Police, Fire and EMS services.
For a complete listing of all new 2020 businesses and developments in West Chester, visit https://www.westchesterdevelopment.com/growth-and-projects/2020/.
On a wonderful, last high note, the Lakota West Boys Cross Country Team won the 2020 Division I State Championship! Congratulation guys! Having run cross country in high school myself, I know how tough it is to train, pace yourself during the race and have enough energy left for the last 200 yard “kick”!