Hamilton apartment complex being razed to improve driving to huge Spooky Nook project

An apartment building on B Street, not far north of Hamilton’s High-Main Bridge, was torn down this weekend when traffic going past the structure was lighter.

It’s a step toward improving traffic flow between Hamilton’s High-Main corridor and the gigantic convention center and indoor sports complex called Spooky Nook at Champion Mill, being built in the former Champion Paper complex further up North B St.

“It’s being demolished for the dedicated right-turn lane onto North B St.,” City Engineer Rich Engle said.

The new roadway, expected to make a significant improvement in traffic flow toward the complex from the High-Main Bridge, “will go through a portion of the property — that’s why we purchased it,” he said.

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When people are coming from the bridge, “there’ll be an additional lane created that will allow them to take a right turn to go north on B Street,” Engle said. “Right now there’s two lanes. Both can go straight and continue onto Park (Avenue). One can continue left onto southbound B, and the other can turn right onto northbound B, but there’s only two lanes. This will give a dedicated turn lane to go north only.”

“(The) 100 N. B St. (site) was purchased for that purpose, but not 108 (N. B St.),” Engle said.

This past week, a house next door that was at 108 N. B St. also was demolished, a bittersweet event for Nancy Simkow, who has fond memories of a fun childhood there.

“My grandfather built that house I think it was in 1898,” she said. “That was our house. I grew up there.”

She knew the building would be torn down, but didn’t realize it already happened.

“That makes me want to cry,” Simkow said. “I lived there ‘til I was 21 years old.”

She then moved to Cleveland and worked at a university before meeting her husband. They later opened Family Discount Drugs on Millville Avenue. Her husband died in 1983.

“I have very fond, happy memories,” she said. “Our house was like the summer resort.”

Many family members gathered at the home during summers, she said.

“We played in the yard, and we all went to LeSourdsville (Lake Amusement Park),” she said. “And when one group left, there was another group that came. We had good times.”

On the other hand, she said she is pleased about Spooky Nook coming to Hamilton. The complex got its name from the road in Manheim, Pa., where the original Spooky Nook indoor sports complex is located.

“I think it’s wonderful — absolutely the greatest thing that ever happened to Hamilton,” Simkow said. “I love Hamilton. I wouldn’t live anyplace else.”

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The existing Spooky Nook complex in Pennsylvania is the largest in North America. It attracts thousands of athletes on many weekends from several hours’ drive to participate in sports tournaments. For local people, it has training for teams, as well as memberships for individuals and families, with fitness areas and classes.

It also has adult recreational leagues for ultimate Fisbee, softball, volleyball, field hockey, dodgeball and flag football. There also are indoor adult slow-pitch softball tournaments during the winter.

The convention center also will be the second largest in Greater Cincinnati, behind only the Duke Energy Convention Center.

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