Afternoon catchup: 5 Butler County stories you need to know today

Here’s a look at five big Butler County stories today to catch up on the news:

Victim’s family protests at courthouse before woman pleads guilty to Hamilton fatal shooting

Family and friends of a teen shot and killed in December at a Hamilton home were protesting what they viewed as a lenient punishment outside the Government Services building today before the court appearance of the woman who pleaded guilty to killing him.

Aerial Katelynn Brazzell, 21, was accused of killing Bennie Shaun Boggs Jr., 16, on Dec. 17. Boggs was shot at 1:20 a.m. at her residence in the 200 block of Cereal Avenue. She was indicted for reckless homicide with a gun specification in February by a Butler County grand jury.

Brazzell pleaded guilty in Butler County Common Pleas Court today to the third-degree felony, and the gun specification, which adds more time to a sentence, was dismissed. Judge Jennifer McElfresh set sentencing for July 29.


$133 million development including apartments, retail, restaurants proposed in Butler County

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

A new Costco store and 434 “renter-by-choice” apartments could be coming to Liberty Twp. if officials approve a zoning change. The mixed use development, Freedom Pointe, would be located at Cox Road and Liberty Way.

Freedom Pointe is a proposed $133 million mixed use development that envisions the big box store, apartments that will cater to empty-nesters and millennial professionals, office, medical, retail, restaurants and a hotel on the 88-acre site. The developer needs a zone change because Liberty Twp. development plans don’t currently allow big box stores or apartments in that area.

Liberty Twp. Economic Development Director Caroline McKinney said that the development, if approved, would be a boon for Liberty Twp.


$1.8 million decision: Hamilton City Council votes to save at least part of historic CSX station

Hamilton City Council voted 5-2 Wednesday to save at least part of the historic CSX station once visited by presidents Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman.

With the vote, the elected officials also committed to restoring at least the single-story part of the station, which will add about $1.5 million to the project’s cost.

But after an emotional conversation, council did not decide whether to save both parts of the 164-year-old station. That decision was delayed until the June 23 meeting.


Hamilton changing name to ‘Ham-Ale!-ton’ for Municipal Brew Works anniversary this weekend

The Butler County seat has created another name for itself, for this weekend only.

From Friday through Sunday, it officially will be Ham-Ale!-ton to celebrate the five-year anniversary of Municipal Brew Works.

The micro-brewery opened five years ago on June 8 in the former Hamilton municipal building at 20 High St., in the back part of the building that had served as a fire station. It was the city’s first brewery in 80 years.


West Chester paying $2.7 million for work around I-75 interchange

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

West Chester Twp. cut the ribbon on the unique diverging diamond interchange on Union Centre Boulevard and Interstate 75 a year ago and this week the trustees added the finishing touch approving $2.7 million for landscaping.

The low bid was for $2.3 million from West Chester-based Benchmark Land Management but the township added 15% for contingencies. The total cost also includes $39,675 to hire Kleingers & Associates, Inc. to manage the project.

The township received only two bids and they were $70,907 apart.

“They were tight together and long story short, we budgeted $4 million for this project,” Township Administrator Larry Burks said. “For it to come in that far under budget means there was a competitive bidding process.”


AND, for an extra sixth story of the day ...

Outdoor concert series returns to Hamilton for second summer: What to know

Fitton Center for Creative Arts is partnering with Pyramid Hill for the second straight year on an outdoor performance series called Fitton on the Hill, which will bring three outdoor shows to the community this summer.

“This is a great opportunity to engage in the arts in so many ways, from the entertainment value and quality of the performances to the beautiful setting and outdoor sculptures at Pyramid Hill,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center.

The events will be held inside Pyramid Hill’s covered, outdoor pavilion, which will offer guests a sheltered viewing area in the event of inclement weather.