- Ed Richter Staff Writer
In 2017, Monroe lived up to its motto of being “firmly grounded, proudly growing” as Butler County’s fastest growing city celebrated its bicentennial year by announcing it will be the location for a new Amazon distribution center.
As the city continues to grow, 2017 saw several other accomplishments, such as starting a community para-medicine program, establishing a safety town program for young children, taking ownership of the former Americana amusement park site and passage of the 0.50-percent earnings tax increase for safety services, parks and infrastructure.
Monroe’s year was filled with significant stories. Here is a sampling:
Amazon announces new distribution hub
In mid-September, Amazon confirmed plans to open a fourth Ohio fulfillment center that will create more than 1,000 jobs in Monroe. The one-million-square-foot facility near Interstate 75 will house employees who will pick, pack and ship larger customer orders.
The fulfillment center will be developed by IDI Gazeley, which currently has five available properties for development in Ohio, all at Park North in Monroe. The park is located on Gateway Boulevard.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 1.39 percent, 10-year tax credit for the Amazon facility that is expected to create $26.7 million in new payroll and be a $30 million fixed-asset investment. The tax credit starts in January. As part of the tax credit agreement, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority says Amazon will have to maintain operations at the Monroe location for at least 13 years.
Monroe takes ownership of Americana site
City officials took ownership of 51 acres of land that was once the former Americana amusement park on Nov. 7 after closing on a land swap with Jerry Couch.
Monroe officials said they planning to use the former amusement park, also known as LeSourdsville Lake, as a park and for other city uses as well as for a portion of the Great Miami River Recreation Trail bike path. Butler Tech purchased 36 acres from Couch that is located along Ohio 4, south of the Ohio 63 interchange for $2.75 million as part of a new adult education campus.
The property name was changed to Monroe Bicentennial Commons.
Passage of earnings tax increase for safety, parks, and infrastructure
Monroe voters approved a 0.50-percent income/earnings tax increase that will be earmarked for public safety and capital improvements. The proposal also includes a provision for a 0.50-percent tax credit for property owners who reside in the city.
The income tax increase would benefit Monroe safety services, parks and infrastructure as well as put more of the burden on non-residents who use city services, according to the city.
Monroe site receives medical marijuana growing license
While a number of area communities have enacted medical marijuana moratoriums, Monroe did not and a company received a license to operate a Level II growing space for up to 3,000 square-feet there.
Hemma LLC was awarded one of the 12 licenses for small growers for its facility at 100 Edison Dr. City officials said they received inquiries from three business interests for a medical marijuana growing facility.
Monroe celebrates its 200th anniversary
There was plenty of fun, music and fireworks as Monroe celebrated its bicentennial in late September, and thousands of people participated in the event.
The two-day event had big-name entertainment and had a large crowd. One organizer said the city threw “one heck of a party.”