The main entrance to the Otterbein retirement campus is moving, as plans continue toward the start of construction on a new urbanist town center across Ohio 741.
However Otterbein Senior Lifestyles officials said that - rather than in anticipation of the beginning of development of Union Village, an intergenerational community to be built in coming decades on 1,200 acres around the retirement campus - the new entrance is part of a plan to upgrade health-care facilities on the retirement center campus on the west side of Ohio 741.
“We are working on plans to dramatically upgrade our assisted-living residences, both in number and design by renovating all floors of the campus center. The first step – the new entrance, will provide easy access to our campus, while allowing construction to commence on what will ultimately become a state-of-the-art healthcare park,” Gary Horning, Otterbein’s vice presidents of marketing and communications, said in an email response.
Over the past five years, Otterbein has invested $45 million in the retirement campus, including a new apartment building, life enrichment center and campus center, and now the entrance, according to Horning.
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Next year, the existing entrance at Circle Drive will be closed off.
The new entrance is to be built, just north of Circle Drive and the campus center, where King Street intersects Ohio 741.
Another interior street in the campus, Cogan Street, will also be modified to relocate parking.
The parking lots adjacent to the campus center will also be reconfigured. And a new covered entrance will be extended from the campus center.
Next to come is redevelopment of the campus-center building, where residents live in independent, assisted-living and nursing-care rooms.
Otterbein is developing these plans, while design continues on the first phase of Union Village.
Last month, the Warren County Board of Commissioners approved a 1-percent lodgings tax hike for the Warren County Sports Park at Union Village.
This $15 million complex is envisioned as the anchor for the 1,400-acre Union Village on land owned by Otterbein along Ohio 741, Ohio 63 and Greentree Road. The land was all previously part of Union Village, a Shaker community sold to the churches that formed Otterbein.
According to Horning, the first phase of the new Union Village, projected to cost about $8 million, is to include 12 lots for commercial and residential uses, 88 single family homes and 11 town homes, and a town center, directly across Ohio 741 from Marble Hall, the oldest building on the retirement center campus.
This is to begin in the middle of next year.
Before the building begins, roads and other infrastructure are to be constructed and maintenance buildings on the east side of Ohio 741 razed to make way for the first phase what is to become a 4,500-home community with more than 12,000 residents.
“It’s going to be the second largest village in the county,” said Dan Cunningham, who lives off Ohio 63, west of Lebanon, near one edge of the Union Village development. “I think it’s one of the biggest deals in the county.”
Cunningham was part of a citizen advisory committee for the Turtlecreek Crossing Plan, which proposes the future use of more than 6,500 acres, including Union Village and about 2,000 acres of state land that is to be sold.
In addition to proposed uses for the state land, should it become subject to sale and private development, the plan maps out a future for the entire area, including land owned by the Cincinnati Zoo, and a proposed bypass road around the retirement campus, starting north of the new entrance and angling down to Ohio 63, across from two state prisons east of the Interstate 75 interchange.
The plan also proposes roundabouts and other road alterations slowing traffic along the section of Ohio 741 that runs between the retirement campus and the Union Village town center.
Someday planners envision senior citizens in the retirement campus and families living in Union Village walking and riding back and forth across Ohio 741 “if they can make it work,” Cunningham said.
The Turtlecreek Crossing Plan has yet to be presented to the Warren County Board of Commissioners for approval.