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Developing area attracts new company

An $8.2 million road project brings changes to Red Lion.

Another company is moving into this crossroads town in the midst of changes prompted by an $8.2 million road relocation.

Ohio Valley Excavating, a small business previously run out of the owner’s home, is now based near the relocated intersection of Ohio 122 and Ohio 123, east of the center of Red Lion.

“It’s just convenient for everyone,” said Lori Hallows, majority owner and CEO of Ohio Valley Excavating.

The road relocation and improvements, completed in 2012 by the Ohio Department of Transportation, also spurred United Dairy Farmers to build a new gas station and convenience store at the center of Red Lion.

UDF also opened a new fuel terminal about a mile east on Ohio 122 in Clearcreek Twp.

But Red Lion’s transformation is just starting.

RG Properties and Stolle Properties haven’t moved forward with plans to develop about 500 acres they control around town that were opened up by the road project.

Not everyone is on board, although the shift is reflected in the township’s long-range land-use plan for Red Lion, an unincorporated town, between Springboro and Lebanon and about two miles east of Interstate 75.

The township’s Planning Commission has recommended denial of a property owner’s request to rezone from residential to business 1.5 acres at the intersection that takes Ohio 123 north from Red Lion to I-75.

“I suppose you may recall that this property — until I purchased it six years ago — was zoned and used commercially for more than a decade,” property owner Sherry Wills said in a letter to the township.

Still the planning board found the B-2 designation “too intensive for the location,” according to Jeff Palmer, director of planning and zoning for Clearcreek Twp.

The rezoning would permit a brewpub, drive-in restaurant, auto repair or veterinarian clinic, as well as other small businesses.

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Clearcreek Twp. trustees are to hold a public hearing on the rezoning.

Close to jobs between Cincinnati and Dayton

For Ohio Valley Excavating, the Red Lion location has already paid off, bringing in walk-ins eager to apply for about 10 jobs the company plans to create this year.

“That wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t the traffic,” said Hallows.

Before the road project, Red Lion was best known as the home of Mom’s Restaurant, which was relocated near I-75 due to the project.

But Ohio Valley Excavating was drawn to the town’s centrality to job sites around the region, including the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the Dayton Metro Library and the University of Dayton’s Innovation Center West Campus, as well as other projects in Northern Cincinnati.

The company, which has also worked in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia and Kentucky, is also currently on big construction jobs at the new Lebanon Junior High School, renovation of Shideler Hall at Miami University, and the $350 million Liberty Center, a retail, residential and office development under way in Butler County.

The company specializes in installation of underground utilities such as cable and telephone.

“We’re doing almost every building out at Liberty,” Hallows said.

Last week, renovations were still being made to the new headquarters at 2316 W.Ohio 122, which formerly housed Don Gingerich’s Car World, an antique car museum.

A temporary sign advertised the new location and job openings.

The company employs about 30 with anticipated gross revenues of $5 million to $8 million this year, Hallows said.

Previously, Ohio Valley Excavating, a woman business enterprise with an EDGE certification, worked from the Hallows’ home outside Waynesville.

Using the company enables contractors to bid on projects encouraging the certifications designed to encourage the hiring of diverse companies for public projects.

Jason Schafer of Dayton-based Active Electric recalled first working with Eldon Hallows, the company’s president and the majority owners’ husband, on construction of the Bellbrook Middle School about a decade ago.

“We’ve had a good relationship ever since,” he said, while expressing surprise at the company’s new headquarters.

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