Sorg Opera House.

Butler County projects seek nearly $23M in state funds for big moves

Six local governments, three organizations, MetroParks of Butler County and an Oxford group led by the city of Oxford and Miami University are proposing $38.8 million in local projects as they ask for state assistance. Those entities requested funds for 19 projects.

The state capital budget is a multi-billion dollar biennial bill for big-ticket projects, but a portion is reserved for smaller community projects. Lawmakers submitted their capital budget requests last week, and discussions are expected to begin this week.

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Most of the money being requested from Butler County — $10 million — is for the joint Oxford-Miami project to renovate an existing facility into a technology and business incubator and resource center for the training and development of entrepreneurs. The project, called the Northwest Butler County College@Elm Technology, Entrepreneurship, Creativity Hub Corridor, is set to cost $12.5 million. Project partners include the Oxford Community Improvement Corporation and Oxford Community Arts Center.

“The project will provide the state and the greater Cincinnati region a competitive advantage in today’s knowledge-based economy by advancing their efforts to recruit, develop, and retain talent,” according to the group’s capital budget request.

MetroParks of Butler County and Middletown’s Sorg Opera House Revitalization Group both requested more than $3 million each for projects.

MetroParks is requesting funding for five improvement projects at four park properties, the largest being a $995,000 request for a $1.19 million project to construct a 1.7-mile multi-use trail that would connect the Great Miami River Trail from Middletown to Monroe.

Trails will also be part of the Davidson Woods $910,000 enhancement project that would also include roadway access, a parking area and trailhead, a picnic shelter, restrooms, and a playground. They’re seeking $790,000 for that project.

The park system is also asking for $990,000 for a $1.13 million Forest Run MetroPark Timberman Ridge Area enhancement project in Ross Twp. and another $915,000 to fund a pair of Voice of America park projects. The state funds would be nearly 90 percent of the total $1 million cost.

The Sorg Opera Revitalization Group is requesting $3.2 million for its continuing renovations at the historic Middletown opera house. The group is planning to spend nearly $9.4 million in renovations at its commercial building and theater.

“Improvements within the theater and its capacity are mission-critical to the building becoming as self-sufficient as possible,” according to its request.

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Liberty Twp. has four requests. Nearly $618,000 would be invested in a multi-use trail that would improve safety to allow people to travel from Yankee Road to Liberty Way, separating pedestrians and cyclists from vehicle traffic.

The township is also seeking $337,000 for a $2.51 million development of Wilhelmina Park, a 56-acre property off Yankee Road; $17,000 for a $25,000 purchase of a drone for the fire department; and $45,000 for a $70,000 traffic signal project to improve several intersections, including on Cincinnati-Dayton and Butler-Warren roads.

Other state capital budget funding requests include:

• $737,000 for two Harbin Park improvements in Fairfield totaling $1.84 million.

• $1.26 million for improvements at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Twp. totaling $1.52 million

• $1.5 million for phases two and three of the Hamilton Beltline Recreational Trail totaling $3.39 million.

• $80,000 for improvements at the Monroe Community Park Activity Center totaling $180,000.

• $218,000 for the Veterans Memorial Park Project in Fairfield Twp. totaling $325,000.

• $565,450 for capital needs of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton totaling $1 million

• $635,000 for Trenton Community Park improvements totaling in $842,382.

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