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Warren County tourism generates record visitors

Published: Friday, March 10, 2017 @ 11:10 AM

            Hundreds waited in line and gathered for an announcement just after 10 p.m. that turned out to be the Mystic Timbers wooden roller coaster Thursday night, July 29, 2016, at Kings Island Amusement Park in Mason. The coaster will be completed in spring of 2017. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Hundreds waited in line and gathered for an announcement just after 10 p.m. that turned out to be the Mystic Timbers wooden roller coaster Thursday night, July 29, 2016, at Kings Island Amusement Park in Mason. The coaster will be completed in spring of 2017. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Warren County attracted a record number of tourism-related visitors in 2016, the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau announced at its Annual Partner Meeting today.

According to attendance figures compiled by the WCCVB, the county’s numerous entertainment, shopping and dining attractions accounted for nearly 12 million visitors in 2016, surpassing a previous record of 11.8 million visitors set in 2015.


Phillip S. Smith, president & CEO of the WCCVB, credits the influx in visitation to the county’s budding reputation as both a convenient and affordable travel destination.

RELATED: Warren County tourism generates $1.1 billion

“No matter your age or interests, you’re bound to find an event, attraction or accommodation that appeals to you in Warren County,” Smith said. “Couple our wide array of affordable entertainment, dining and lodging offerings with the fact that we’re also just a short drive away for most, and it’s easy to see why we’ve become such a popular option for travelers.”

RELATED: Kings Island filling 4K jobs for 2017

Among the county’s most visited attractions in 2016 were Caesar Creek State Park, Kings Island, Miami Valley Gaming, the Western & Southern Open, and the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival.

According to the latest economic study conducted by the state of Ohio, tourism is the county’s number one industry, accounting for one in every nine jobs, or 11 percent of the workforce.

Power restored to thousands, hundreds remain without following severe storms

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 6:45 AM


UPDATE @ 8:27 a.m.

Power has been restored to all but 5 homes in Preble County while over 700 remain without electricity in Montgomery County, according to a DP&L outage map. 

A series of strong storms that moved through the West Alexandria area in Preble County are responsible for the outages, according to DP&L Director of Operations Kevin Hall.

Downed trees and wind damage have caused similar outages in Miami, Greene and Clark Counties. 

“We have crews continuing to clean up from storms since yesterday,” Hall said. “We’ve been in storms operation mode attempting to restore power.”

Ohio Edison reports 751 homes are without power in Clark County as a result of storm damage.

Hall did not advise when crews would have all power restored.

A downed tree can be seen in the 2900 block of Brewster Court in Springfield Saturday morning. (Angie Hess/Contributed)

UPDATE @ 7:24 a.m.

Another 120 homes in Clark County are without power, according to an Ohio Edison outage map. 

Downed tree limbs and wind damage have been reported in Springfield near Providence Road. 

Additional power outages have been reported in Montgomery County with DP&L reporting 561 outages. 

1,600 homes remain in the dark in Preble County. 

We are working to learn what power crews are doing to restore service following Saturday morning's severe weather.

A mangled shed can be seen in the front yard of this Springfield home near Providence Road. (Robert Yontz/Contributed)


Nearly 1,600 Preble County homes are without power following severe weather Saturday morning, according to a DP&L outage map. 

A DP&L representative could not be reached for comment, but multiple downed trees have been reported in the county. 

Another 570 outages are reported in Clark County, according to Ohio Edison. 

141 DP&L customers living in Montgomery County are without power, while another 208 are without in Miami County. 

RELATED: Stormy start to weekend 

We are continuing to monitor power outages and damage reports as severe weather makes its way through the Miami Valley Saturday morning.

Over 500 cars checked, no arrests made during OVI checkpoint in Sidney

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 6:25 AM


No arrests were made during a Friday night OVI checkpoint in Sidney, according to the Piqua post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

506 cars were stopped and checked during the 3 hour checkpoint on Wapakoneta Avenue near Pinehurst Street. 

Sidney officers assisted troopers with the traffic stops and arrested a person with an active warrant during saturation patrols. 

“At the end of the evening, our ultimate goal is just to educate motorists to do the right thing and make other arrangements if they are going to consume alcohol”, Lieutenant Joseph Gebhart said. 

“There is no place for impaired driving on our roadways and the public supports the efforts of these men and women out here tonight making their community safer."

DP&L outages, after earlier severe storms, drop to just a few hundred

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 7:54 AM
Updated: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 10:18 PM

The Miami Valley is now dealing with heavy rain

Reported outages across the Miami Valley continue into late Friday afternoon after severe weather moved through the region this morning. 

PHOTOS: Damage reported after severe storms in the Miami Valley

RELATED: Downed trees, power outages after Friday’s severe weather

RELATED: Track the latest conditions on live WHIO Interactive 

Latest outages at 10 p.m., according to DP&L: 

247 in Montgomery

  46 in Preble

  38 in Greene

  35 in Champaign

Austin Landing South development could spur $350 million in investment

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 9:39 AM
Updated: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 1:18 PM

            So far, Austin Landing South is undeveloped land at the southeast corner of Austin Boulevard and Interstate 75. This view comes from the south side of the property in one of Springboro’s industrial parks. Staff photo by Lawrence Budd
            Lawrence Budd
So far, Austin Landing South is undeveloped land at the southeast corner of Austin Boulevard and Interstate 75. This view comes from the south side of the property in one of Springboro’s industrial parks. Staff photo by Lawrence Budd(Lawrence Budd)

As much as $350 million could be invested in development of Austin Landing South, the project proposed in Springboro across Austin Boulevard from the existing mixed-use development, according to Springboro City Manager Christine Thompson.

RELATED: Development to move across Austin Boulevard into Springboro

That would be 10 times $35 million of potential public investment in roads and other infrastructure Springboro could provide to support the project to be constructed on about 60 acres, just east of Interstate 75, on the southwest corner of Austin Boulevard and Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro.

On Friday, local officials and developer Larry Dillin said the 10 percent public share was necessary to make the project a reality.

“To develop a special project of this magnitude requires a public/private investment partnership to accomplish creation of space that is both special and lasting. That’s my commitment to Springboro and theirs to me,” Dillin said in a statement.

Thompson said the city government was considering the financial commitment to the project - on some of the last undeveloped acres within Springboro’s city limits - in hopes of securing “the best thing for the Springboro region.”

“This is an unusual opportunity. There are a broad spectrum of opportunities and development possibilities,” Thompson said. “So we need to be open to examine all of them.”

The Warren County Port Authority is preparing to finance as much as $35 million for Springboro to use in “acquiring, constructing, and equipping certain public improvements in connection with the Austin Landing South project”.

Earlier this month, the authority board approved a resolution in preparation for the financing, as well as a cooperative agreement with the city to help with the project, located in Montgomery County.

On Thursday night, Thompson and Assistant City Manager Chris Pozzuto said they were unaware of the port authority financing resolution and indicated the amount to be borrowed and repaid through diversion of property taxes on the improvements was yet to be determined.


“We don’t have all of the numbers yet,” Thompson said after contacting port authority officicials about the resolution, approved on July 10 by the port board.

There has been no public presentation on Austin Landing South. Few details have been provided.

Dillin recently described his vision as “a mixed-use development that can readily adapt to the changing retail industry.”

RELATED: What’s next at Austin Landing?

How much of the development winds up residential, commercial or retail has yet to be determined.

Thompson has expressed hope Austin Landing South is developed as Levis Commons was by Dillin in the Toledo area.

In emails obtained by the newspaper, Dillin indicated Austin Landing South would be “pedestrian oriented and created at a quality level comparable to Levis Commons- complete with clock tower and fountains.”

RELATED: Springboro council traveled to Toledo area to tour example of developer’s work

Earlier this year, the entire city council and staff spent the night at the Hilton Inn at Levis Commons. During the trip, the Springboro group was to tour the development, hear a presentation from Dillin and meet with local officials involved in the Levis Commons development in the Perrysburg area.

On July 10, the Warren County Port Authority approved an agreement, mirroring one already approved by the Springboro council, establishing a partnership in developing Austin Landing South - although the land is in the Montgomery County portion of Springboro.

Austin Landing South “is expected to enhance, foster, aid, provide, and promote economic development within the City and the State by creating and preserving jobs and employment opportunities and enhancing the availability of adequate housing in the City and improving the economic and general well-being of the people of the State of Ohio,” according to the resolution.

“The Authority is possessed of broad powers relating to economic development and the creation and preservation of jobs and employment opportunities,” according to the cooperative agreement.

The other resolution indicates the financing would be used by the port authority to “reimburse” the city or developer for infrastructure, such as roads and utilities.

It indicates Springboro is expected to use money from a tax incremental financing fund set up for the Austin Development District - land in the four quadrants around the interchange in Miamisburg, Miami Twp . and Springboro. Property taxes from building improvements typically comprise tax incremental financing funds.

But no development agreement has been reached between the port authority, Dillin, acting on behalf of Springboro Landing Associates, and the city.

The resolution including the $35 million figure fulfills “an IRS requirement allowing future tax revenue to be used for developer public improvements. We were given that number as an estimate, but the plans are not ready to the best of my knowledge. We are waiting for their and the city’s lead,” Martin Russell, deputy administrator in Warren County, said in an email.

The newspaper has been covering development around the Austin Boulevard interchange for more than a decade. We will continue to bring you the latest information on this regional economic development, including the unfolding of plans for Austin Landing South, the 60 acres of the development district in Springboro.