Why do we believe that development is coming to Ross?
What makes your Board of Trustees believe that new development will change the face of Ross Township? Why should you believe that change is imminent? Here’s why.
It starts with Hamilton’s Spooky Nook project.
In March of 2019, after reading a prospectus for the City of Hamilton’s Spooky Nook development, former Trustee Tom Willsey and then Administrator Bob Bass took a Hamilton Chamber of Commerce sponsored bus trip to Spooky Nook-Pennsylvania to see what the Hamilton’s excitement was about. What they saw there was exactly what the prospectus said it was; a hugely successful and impressive operation which has changed the business landscape in that region of Pennsylvania for many, many miles.
Arriving on a Monday afternoon, they met the business’s owner for a guided walk through the athletic complex. The facility which was being broken down from the previous weekend’s national volleyball tournament (86 volleyball courts) into an untold number of soccer fields, basketball courts, indoor baseball, running courses, etc. They learned that the volleyball tourney had attracted 36,000 visitors over the weekend. The next day, they toured Lancaster, PA a scant 8 miles from Spooky Nook-Pennsylvania (the exact distance Ross will be from Spooky Nook-Hamilton) where they spoke with local business owners and learned that Spooky Nook-Pennsylvania has completely renewed existing local business while also creating an untold number of new business startups.
On the final day of the tour, they talked with the Spooky Nook management team and other local businesses. They learned of collaboration and sponsor relationships between Spook Nook and local businesses which have transformed the way business is being conducted around the fortunes of Nook Sports. These relationships have led to some wildly successful business outcomes. It was obvious to the two Township officials that Spook Nook would have various effects on Ross Township. Through what was learned on that trip, it is logical to believe that new businesses will spring up to aid in the ancillary business that exist because of Spooky Nook-Hamilton and traffic through the community will undoubtedly increase, especially along S.R. 128.
How does the Township handle the ODOT dilemma?
Upon their return to Ross, a navigational search was performed from Midwestern cities like Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, Indianapolis, etc. to the Spooky Nook-Hamilton location and found that the route takes incoming athletes and their families along I-74 to New Haven Road in Harrison to State Route 128, then directly through Ross Township which then becomes B Street in Hamilton. It was clear that Hamilton’s big project would have a significant increase on traffic in our community. Upon reporting what they learned in Pennsylvania to the full Board of Trustees, it was determined that the Board needed to find ways to assist the Ohio Department of Transportation in solving future traffic issues caused by the increased traffic volume. Because of the high volume of needed projects across the state, ODOT requires local community aid in local project funding for engineering and construction. Without local funding, ODOT projects to fix traffic problems are unlikely. The Board needed to find a way to fund these projects with the least amount of intrusion into our citizen’s wallets.
What did the Board of Trustees do next
After reviewing all available options, the Board made two very important decisions. First, it entered into contracts with Bradley Payne Advisors and the law firm of Frost Brown Todd. Bradley Payne Advisors is a firm that specializes in municipal tax consulting. They help the Board in analyzing various types of taxing mechanisms available to the Township while Frost Brown Todd advises the Board on all legal aspects relating to the various taxing strategies. Through the advice of the two firms, the Board, determined to utilize three distinctive types of taxing strategies, where appropriate, for future development (click here for “Development Taxation Strategies” details).
Secondly, the Board decided to partner with the City of Hamilton to form a joint economic development district (JEDD) agreement to have the ability to tax future development that likely will occur in Ross resulting from Hamilton’s Spooky Nook development. Also resulting from that partnership, the City gave Ross Township one of its three membership seats on the Butler County Transportation Incentive District (TID) Board. The TID serves a group of local governments collaborating to achieve common transportation goals. As the name implies, a TID is a "district", a geographic area organized for the purpose of improving the existing local road system. The TID does not represent a single city, nor is it a large government agency. In fostering cooperation among local governments, the TID increases the impact and effectiveness of local transportation planning and funding. The cooperative structure of the TID allows Butler County communities to accomplish more together than they would if they acted alone.
What is the result of these actions?
Lastly, it is virtually impossible to stop development completely. The best any developing community can accomplish is to manage control over how increased governmental service costs are funded resulting from that development; that’s just fact. As farms and other large tracts of land are privately sold, Ross becomes a more lucrative market for development. The Board will use its member presence on the TID Board in combination with the intended use of strategic development taxation to ease the burden created by future developments in Ross. The Board has proactively adopted a stance that ensures that future developments pay for the cost increases in needed governmental services that those developments create. That not only includes fire, police, road maintenance, zoning and administrative services; it also includes the costs associated with educating the children and young adults within the community. The Board’s vision will go a long way in keeping the burden of those future costs off the backs of the current residents of our great community and makes development pay those associated cost increases. (Click here for Tax Rate Comparison.)