West Carrollton is hiring a Columbus-based consultant to help make the Miami Bend entertainment district a reality and remake the city’s image.
Strategic Public Partners will be paid $6,000 a month over the next six months through a contract approved Tuesday to help the city clear hurdles holding back plans for a $300 million entertainment district off Interstate 75’s Exit 47. Strategic Public Partners, which also would be reimbursed for some expenses, is the latest consultant hired since the city moved ahead with plans tied to reopening of the interchange after $26.4 million in renovations.
The upgrade to the interchange prompted the city — beset by closings, relocations and downsizing of traditional businesses — to push ahead with the entertainment district. Yaskawa Motoman moved to Austin Boulevard. Appleton Papers has down-sized its West Carrollton facility.
“The interchange has been complete for a year now,” Mayor Jeff Sanner said. “We’re trying not to leave any stone unturned.”
With the Strategic Public Partners’ contract, the city will exceed $100,000 in spending on consultants for the Miami Bend project.
In addition to seeing through this process, Strategic Public Partners is to help convince prospective developers, businesses and home buyers that West Carrollton is a destination to move or visit.
As part of the economic development work, the city also has developed on-street parking, reduced the speed limit and acquired 13 riverfront acres. West Carrollton also is part of a regional effort to fund a study for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would tie together developments along 100 miles of the Great Miami from Sidney to Dayton to Hamilton.
An arena-event center plan stalled most recently when Ohio lawmakers declined to include an exemption for property taxes otherwise owed by the city if it assisted in funding the facility’s construction, in the biennial budget.
Plans now call for a whitewater kayak run cut into a bank of the Great Miami River and a hydroelectric generator powering the district, as well as a 4,000 seat arena-event center.
Officials say they are close to an agreement with an unnamed developer “that has already developed several event center-retail complexes.”
“We’re pretty far down the rabbit hole,”said West Carrollton Economic Development Director Tom Ross.
Officials envision the middle-class, bedroom community, home to industrial employers, becoming a destination desirable to more affluent, young professionals looking for entertainment on the bike path, river or in bars, restaurants and other businesses along a riverfront boardwalk and promenade.
“You’ve got to recreate yourself,” Ross said. “We’re becoming a modern city, where people want to go, want to live, want to talk about.”
Miami Bend consultants
AECOM $59,500 event center study
Strategic Public Partners $36,000 lobbying, image marketing
Coldwater Consulting $7,000 whitewater study