Proposed I-75 interchange, future growth of Liberty Twp. big in trustee race

The recent Liberty Twp. Trustee candidate forum saw much of the discussion focused on the community's future growth, specifically the proposed Millikin Road development at the Interstate 75 interchange. Three candidates - who were joined by West Chester Twp. trustee candidates - are seeking two open seats on the Liberty Twp.'s governing board. (Photo By Michael D. Clark\Journal-News)
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The recent Liberty Twp. Trustee candidate forum saw much of the discussion focused on the community's future growth, specifically the proposed Millikin Road development at the Interstate 75 interchange. Three candidates - who were joined by West Chester Twp. trustee candidates - are seeking two open seats on the Liberty Twp.'s governing board. (Photo By Michael D. Clark\Journal-News)

The governing board of the booming Liberty Twp. community has three candidates vying for two open seats.

The three recently participated in an online forum sponsored by the West Chester and Liberty Chamber Alliance, the Lakota District Parent Council and Miami University with the help of Miami Professor John Forren acting as moderator.

Liberty’s growth – since 2010 it has been the second fastest expanding community in Butler County according to the latest U.S. Census – and how best to handle it was a topic that dominated much of the discussion from the three township trustee candidates.

Among the growth issues discussed were the proposed development of the $72 million Millikin Road and Interstate 75 interchange in such a way as to add to the overall quality of life in the township.

ExploreButler County officials seek feedback on $27.1M Millikin Road, I-75 interchange

Todd Minniear, who is a Proctor & Gamble brand director and was raised in the Lakota School system, said the key to Liberty moving from a largely bedroom community to one with a more balanced business to residential tax base will be the new interchange.

Minniear, said he is not interested in seeing the township double its 44,000-resident population as some projections have forecast and fears uncontrolled retail business growth threatens the quality of life in the community for families.

He said he would work to make Liberty Twp. more like the affluent, bedroom community of Hamilton County’s Indian Hill – one of the richest communities in southwest Ohio – and “less like Colerain Avenue,” which has a decades-long reputation in northern Hamilton County as an example of retail over-development run amok.

And the self-described conservative who supports constitutional freedoms, said “our president (Biden) and governor are very comfortable with stealing our freedoms.”

“They are quickly walking us away from government by the people, for the people to government dependency. Trustees take an oath to support the Constitution and the township. And I will work to stop any unlawful overreach on our freedoms for businesses, parents and citizens,” said Minniear.

“My roots are here in the community. When I talk about maintaining the safe, upscale, rural character of Liberty Township that we all moved here for and we all love, I know what I’m talking about.”

“I’m totally supportive of Millikin (interchange) for business development – the right type of business development. But it can’t be another Liberty Center, which is in trouble.”

Candidate Buck Rumpke, a former Rumpke Waste & Recycling employee who retired after 50 years with company last fall, said “I think Liberty is a wonderful place to live and my objective is to keep things the way they are.”

Rumpke said his experience includes developing commercial property and residential subdivisions and serves on the Butler County Planning Commission.

“Protected and controlled growth” will be focus, he said, while citing the coming Millikin Road and I-75 interchange, which be the second interchange for the township with the major highway.

“The Millikin interchange is going to take a lot of scrutiny and a lot of things to happen the right way. We need good, high-paying jobs in the commercial sector,” he said. “We’re going to go through very much growth and very high expenditures and it’s going to take a level head to look at that and that’s what I’m saying I can do.”

Incumbent Tom Farrell, a business owner, said he has the varied background and trustee experience “that makes me the best candidate.”

“The experience I have in local government – and business – coupled with my passion and vision – and my dedication” makes him the most desirable candidate.

“We need a good mix of business and residential (tax base). Currently we are 87 percent residential. What’s the number one thing that will help the next generation? Millikin (interchange),” he said.

“The (business) development of Millikin exit is the future of Liberty Township. We need Millikin to give us the infrastructure to support the growth.”

“The next four years are crucial for Liberty’s long-term success. Liberty has a bright future, however, the execution of the current strategy and the creation of future strategies will impact this township for generations to come. I believe I am the person you want creating and executing those strategies,” said Farrell.

To watch the full online forum for Liberty and West Chester trustee candidates go to the West Chester and Liberty Chamber Alliance’s website.

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