Elimination of Northbound 71 Ridge Ave. Exit Getting Pushback from Columbia Township Businesses
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently informed Columbia Township, who has a contract with the HCDC Economic Development Office, of its “Northbound I-71 Improvement Project” designed to “improve safety, capacity, and transportation efficiency in the I-71 corridor between the Norwood Lateral (SR 562) and the Red Bank Expressway.” The current configuration of through lanes and merge/weave conditions at the interchanges have resulted in heavy congestion and high crash rates, according to ODOT, which has led to the organization’s decision to implement a restructuring project.
The restructuring will involve the permanent closing of the Ridge Avenue North exit, which currently directs traffic onto Ridge right in the middle of the Business District. The traffic that would normally take this exit will be re-routed to Kennedy Avenue, requiring traffic to backtrack to get to Ridge. Businesses along Ridge Avenue were disconcerted about how this might affect traffic flow to their businesses, and requested that ODOT perform due diligence by meeting with area businesses to answer their questions.
A meeting was held August 8, 2016, at the Columbia Township administration building, where ODOT gave a presentation to business representatives about the prospective project and took note of questions/concerns.
ODOT representatives emailed a response to the list of meeting attendees on September 15th with answers to the questions. Project designs will be finalized by Fall 2016, but additional parts to the project include:
- Widen Ridge Avenue to provide two northbound lanes from the existing signal at the end of the I-71 northbound exit to Ridge
- Convert existing I-71 exit to Ridge South to provide enhanced access to north and southbound Ridge Avenue
- Create northbound I-71 exit to Kennedy Avenue
- Existing entrance ramp from Kennedy Avenue to I-71 northbound will remain
- Rehabilitate I-71 infrastructure including pavement, bridges, signing, striping, and potential noise wall
For more information on the Northbound I-71 Improvement Project, please contact HCDC senior development specialist Barry Strum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woodlawn Expands Community Reinvestment Area
The Village of Woodlawn, which has a community contract with the HCDC Economic Development Office, has been looking at ways to improve all current residential buildings and encourage construction of new residential structures. The Village currently has a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) along Springfield Pike, which provides a tax incentive to properties that experience significant new investment. Woodlawn administration recently requested and received approval for the expansion of the CRA to include all one-family residential areas in the Village.
A CRA is a tax abatement program allowed by Ohio State law. Woodlawn’s Village Manager is named as the Housing Officer and administers the program. Residents interested in taking advantage of the program are encouraged to contact the Village Manager before starting their improvement project to find out if they qualify and to get an estimate of the benefit. Non-residential projects must get formal project approval from Village Council before making investments. Residential remodeling will receive 10-year abatements and new construction will receive 15 years. Retail and office project incentives are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Tax abatements will be reviewed annually by the Tax Incentive Review Council. Council may instruct the Housing Officer to no longer accept new applications for incentives after 5 years (end of 2021).
Approval of this ordinance by Woodlawn Council allows a petition to be sent to the Ohio Development Services Agency for area certification. For more information on the Woodlawn CRA agreement, please contact HCDC senior development specialist Dan Ferguson at email@example.com.
The Case for Small Business Assistance as an Economic Development Strategy
HCDC defines economic development as “building businesses and job creation.” While the U.S. Small Business Administration defines a “small business” as having as many as 500 employees, a definition that includes 99.7% of all U.S. businesses with employees. HCDC’s business coaching focuses on “micro-companies,” or those with fewer than 20 employees. Business coaching helps the owners of these small enterprises think strategically about their companies and provides a wide range of support that includes business planning, professional referrals, profitability improvement, start-up assistance, and exit strategy formation.
Here are some statistics on micro-companies:
-Nearly 1 in 5 private sector jobs (18.4%) are provided by firms with fewer than 20 employees
-19.5 million individuals (12% of the working population) are self-employed with no employees
-20% of gross job creation is generated by start-up businesses
Strong micro-businesses contribute to more vibrant community business districts in Hamilton County, and vibrant business districts support a higher quality of life for community residents. By helping local micro-businesses through community contracts, HCDC helps strengthen local business districts, and in turn, helps make local communities more dynamic, attractive places to live. For information on HCDC’s business coaching, please contact Bob Pickford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HCDC Economic Development Office in the News
Pickford gives small business owners a look at the bigger picture
[Cincinnati Business Courier]