West Chester officials say $2.7 million for landscaping UCB interchange will be worth it

“That sounds like a lot, but most of it is a one-time price and that’s done,” Welch said. “And this is our gateway to West Chester, so we want to improve this so that it is of the same nature as the DDI itself. This is an extraordinary job that the Township and the Butler County Engineers have done, it really is a work of art and we want to make sure that the landscape complies with the DDI. “

The $ 20 million DDI project was completed last August and is designed to alleviate traffic bottlenecks that drive more than 50,000 cars every day. It is one of only three DDIs in the state and allows for flowing traffic by eliminating left turns and traffic lights.

ExploreNew connection at the Union Center celebrated as an important traffic update

The community paid $ 6 million in TIF cash and funded the remainder through TIF-backed bonds. The initial estimate for the project was $ 14 million, but County Engineer Greg Wilkens had to revise the forecast several times due to the volatile construction market.

“If people want to say why my tax dollars are being used, they really aren’t,” Welch said. “This is paid for out of the TIF and that was taxpayers’ money from the various companies that are in the TIF district.”

TIF districts are an economic development tool that many municipalities, cities, and counties use to encourage new investment in an area. A district typically surrounds a parcel or group of parcels and allows taxpayers within it to make payments into a special fund equal to their property tax liability for the life of the TIF.

These payments, rather than taxes, are used by local governments to pay off debts incurred for the infrastructure improvements – such as roads, water and sewer systems – needed to support current and future developments in the TIF area.

The Union Center TIF has a balance of $ 33 million, generates approximately $ 8 million per year, and expires in 2035. The parish has eight active TIF districts, but the Capstone TIF does not yet have any participating companies Public Information and Engagement, according to Barb Wilson, director of.

Tim Franke, head of community services for the community, said the hardscapes will be completed first, the trees and shrubs will be planted in the fall, and flowers will be planted next spring. The community typically builds a 10% contingency into projects, but given the length of the time involved, they wanted an extra cushion

Burks said people shouldn’t expect the beautification project to be stunning right away.

“With landscaping in general, you don’t get the full effect until it matures after five, six, seven years and you can really see what it’s supposed to look like,” said Burks. “It takes a long time to get what the vision is. It may look a bit sparse at first, but have confidence that it will grow in itself.”

Since 1997, when the UCB exchange was built, more than $ 2.4 billion has been invested in real estate and personal wealth; more than 22 million square feet of retail, corporate offices, entertainment, and industrial development creating more than 25,000 jobs in the Union Center area, according to the community’s website.

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