Deerfield Twp. residents, trustees at odds over development

2:00 p.m Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017 Warren County
Robert Calzada

As work started last week on extending Innovation Way through the former Kingswood golf course to connect to Duke Boulevard in Deerfield Twp., there are residents who are upset about losing a park.

While residents are conceding that the road project is a done deal, they are raising concerns about the future development of the 110 acres that are adjacent to Interstate 71, one of the last large plots of land in that section of the township.

The township purchased the former golf course in 2006 to prevent an annexation attempt, according to Trustees President Chris Romano.

Romano said a high-end, mixed use development is something that has been envisioned for a number of years.

“We’re looking for something that acknowledges the value of the property,” he said. “We want it to be a positive influence on Deerfield … something that will bring a net positive and social return and enhance our brand value and property values.”

Resident Lelle Lutts has been involved with trying to get the trustees not to go forward with the road project.

Lutts feels like the township is not listening to residents, adding that there are not many places in Ohio with open greenspace such as Kingswood. She said other places, such as Anderson Twp. in Hamilton County, put a green levy on their ballot to preserve greenspace.

“He (Romano) is undervaluing what the community thinks about greenspace,” she said. “There’s always time to do the right thing.”

Lutts and other residents who make up the Friends of Kingswood Park group are opposing future development of the former golf course.

“We concede the road is going through, but what’s going happen with ‘Parcel A’ and ‘Parcel B’? How’s it going to connect?” she asked. “We’re really angry about this and we’re not going away.”

She has been on social media encouraging residents in opposing the development which will become more difficult because of the wetlands that have been created on the property.

David Meyer, another resident who opposes the project, agreed the road project is a done deal but said they want to maintain greenspace in a park setting.

Meyer said, “the ‘pocket parks’ in the township are a joke because they are part of drainage ditches next to busy intersections. These are traffic barriers and not parks where you would take your family.”

“The trustees would rather pave over paradise than give residents greenspace in an actual park instead of a street corner,” he said.

Meyer said there could be a compromise if trustees would leave the portion north of the Innovation Drive extension as a park and wetlands and develop the portion south of the road with small businesses that would cater to people using the park.

“There is plenty of room between Irwin Simpson and Socialville Foster roads to do this,” Meyer said.