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News & Press Releases

October 27, 2021

New ‘HAWK’ pedestrian crossing system to be activated on Hamilton’s Eaton Avenue

A higher-safety crossing for pedestrians, featuring blinking lights, will be activated Thursday morning on Eaton Avenue near the Flub’s Dariette ice cream shop where the Beltline biking/walking path eventually will cross.

Once people get used to it, the HAWK (High intensity Activated crossWalK) system is expected to make crossing the heavily traveled roadway safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Invented in Tucson, Arizona, HAWK systems are pedestrian-friendly, but at the same time are better for flow of vehicles than regular traffic signals would be.

Here’s how they work:

The crossings have poles that extend above the street with lights similar to ordinary traffic signals. But unlike regular signals, they only operate when a bicyclist or pedestrian activates them.

Once a walker or bike-rider sets off the signal, the same way people do to cross a street at a traffic light, they see a don’t walk hand. Once the signal is activated, they know it’s safe to cross the intersection, after making sure traffic stops.

The lights facing drivers at the crossing are dark until a pedestrian activates them. After that, the lights flash, before eventually glowing solid red. Two red signals overhead toggle back and forth in red, telling motorists that once the bikers or walkers have left the intersection, they are free to drive through. Drivers behind the first vehicle should check the intersection to make sure nobody has entered it before passing through themselves.

The signals cost about $67,000, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources agreed to pay 75% of that cost, because other costs of installing the first part of the beltline, from Cleveland Avenue to Eaton, was lower than expected. Costs also were lowered because the city was able to reuse poles and city employees helped with installation.

“We plan to go to construction next year with Phase 2, from Cleveland to North B Street, said Allen Messer, senior civil engineer for the city. That will link the beltline to the Great Miami River near the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill indoor sports complex and convention center.

Preliminary plans also have been developed for Phase 3, along the Spooky Nook complex, along the top of the concrete flood levee, from Black Street to Main Street. Those should be submitted this week to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The path ultimately is to be a 2.96-mile asphalt strip that will extend in a large curve from the former Champion Paper mill and the Great Miami River to near Millville Avenue.

Plans for a Phase 4, in the areas west of Eaton Avenue, have yet to be determined. By far, the largest expense of that project will be crossing Two Mile Creek just west of Eaton Avenue.

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October 13, 2021

Operation Pumpkin drew its largest crowd ever to Hamilton, and businesses saw a bump

The unseasonably warm weather, peoples’ desire to be outdoors and the “buzz” in the city attracted record crowds last weekend to the 10th annual Operation Pumpkin in downtown Hamilton.

After the event was scaled back last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Operation Pumpkin returned to its usual format this year, said Paige Hufford, co-chair of the event with Jason Snyder.

She estimated Saturday’s crowd at 20,000 and close to 40,000 for the three-day event that concluded Sunday night.

Hufford said the pumpkin festival provides an opportunity to highlight the locally-owned downtown businesses.

“That’s our mission,” said Hufford, who thanked her 16-person committee.

Sara Vallandingham, owner of Sara’s House, a specialty boutique downtown, said sales in her store during the pumpkin event set records, even more than Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

“It was like that for a lot of the business owners I talked to,” Vallandingham said. “There is a certain buzz downtown and I think people wanted to come see for themselves.”

Hufford said the event saw its largest pumpkin in its history, weighing more than 2,000 pounds. Besides the pumpkin patch that featured giant and carved pumpkins, other activities included a pet parade, arts and crafts, live bands, food and beverage booths, and a kid zone along High Street.

She called Operation Pumpkin “a real staple event” in Hamilton.

“We’re at a point where people look forward to our event,” said Hufford, who said the 11th annual Operation Pumpkin will be the second weekend next October. “It just seems to get bigger and draw more people throughout the region.”

Everyone on the committee takes notes throughout the event and suggests ways to improve it every year, Hufford said. The committee also surveys vendors and downtown businesses to see if they have any suggestions, she said.

“It’s all about growing the event and making it better for the community,” she said.

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October 13, 2021

Hamilton companies, Miami University to launch partnership for solving problems

Miami University and several highly technical Hamilton companies will have 10,000 square feet of space at Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill’s convention hall area to seek solutions for issues the businesses face.

The facility, to be called the Ideation Green Lab, will harness the mind power of Miami University faculty, students and alumni, as well as Cincinnati-based Centrifuse, to help some of Hamilton’s most innovative companies.

Miami’s “entrepreneurial program is rated No. 7 in the country,” Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith said in an interview after his State of the City speech last week. Also working with the program will be Cincinnati-based organization Centrifuse, whose stated mission is to make Greater Cincinnati “the #1 tech startup hub in the Midwest.

One participant will be Hamilton-based iMFLUX Inc., which Smith said several years ago adopted the goal of reducing plastics in packaging for Procter & Gamble by 90 percent in a decade.

Another will be thyssenkrupp Bilstein, which makes highly adjustable shock absorbers for Tesla, BMW and Mercedes Benz. Yet another will be Saica, a Spain-based manufacturer of recycled cardboard boxes, building its first North American facility, costing more than $70 million, in Hamilton’s Enterprise Park industrial park.

Across the street from Saica is another participant, 80 Acres Farms, which grows crops entirely indoors, all year round, across the street from the Saica facility.

“The collaborators, if they have a problem, they can bring it to the ideation center, give it to the students, give it to the Centrifuse mentors, and they will come up with possible solutions to the problems.”

The center will be located at the southern tip of the former Champion Paper’s “Mill 2,” the building located between B Street and the Great Miami River.

Randi Thomas, Miami’s vice president of ASPIRE (Advancing Strategies, Partnerships, Institutional Relations and Economy), who works at all the university’s campuses, said city government also will add its expertise.

“From our perspective, we want to provide high-quality, tangible, real-world, experiential learning opportunities for our students, where they can learn and grow, and at the same time, contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Hamilton, Oxford, Southwest Ohio,” Thomas said.

Another approach the center will take is to approach companies and organizations such as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base that own patents “that are just sitting there because they weren’t successful,” Thomas said. “So we say, ‘Why don’t you loan us he patent?’ And we may look at it, we may put it with another patent, we’ll take it through commercialization and then once it reaches a dollar amount that’s profitable for you, you come back in and buy us out, and take it back.”

The organization will focus on industry sectors that REDI Cincinnati focuses aims to grow as the region’s main economic-development agency.

Pete Blackshaw, CEO of Cintrifuse, said the goal is to have from successful companies such as rapidly growing 80 Acres Farms who are “experienced founders, who have done it before, who do it again.”

Blackshaw called the ideation lab “a hugely promising idea because the best ideas on green are coming from youth, and I believe this could be a national model.”

“Miami has a fantastic track record in green (technologies), have for many, many years,” Blackshaw said. Also, Centrifuse has made one of its top priorities the improvement of sustainability, he said.

Among local board members of Centrifuse are Smith; 80 Acres founder and CEO Mike Zelkind; and Miami President Greg Crawford.

Miami also is creating an incubator program for startup businesses in Oxford, Thomas said. That and the Ideation Green Lab will complement each other, he said.

“Last year alone, students started 35 companies on their own,” at Miami, Thomas said.

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October 8, 2021

Press Release
Hamilton's 2021 State of the City Address

Hamilton's 2021 State of the City Address

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September 28, 2021

Hamilton agrees to economic development district with Ross Twp.: What it will mean

The Ross Township trustees and Hamilton City Council have approved creation of a new economic-development area in Ross that will help the township be able to afford infrastructure improvements. Those improvements will be needed because of development that will happen because of Hamilton’s gigantic indoor sports complex expected to open early next year in Hamilton.

In creating “Ross-Hamilton Joint Economic Development District I,” the township and city agreed that if any hotels are created on the several properties included in the district, those hotels will be required to add a tax to rooms that will help finance parking areas for the $165 million Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill facility.

Those who work or live on the properties in the JEDD Ross-Hamilton JEDD will have to pay 2 percent income taxes, the same amount collected by in Hamilton. That will be the funding source for infrastructure improvements, such as new streets, sewers or utilities. Companies on those properties will pay net profits taxes.

Of the income taxes, 95 percent will go to the township, with 5 percent going to the city, mostly to pay costs of administering JEDD programs, such as tax collections.

The hotel tax will go to Spooky Nook parking, with the idea the sports complex is creating demand for the hotels. As part of their pact, the township agreed to do all it can to incorporate the JEDD areas under jurisdiction of the Hamilton Community Authority, created to raise funding for Spooky Nook parking and other amenities, such as transportation in the area.

Spooky Nook has booked every weekend from April through August of next year, the complex’s owner, Sam Beiler, recently said, and each day is expected to attract 8,000 to 10,000 athletes and their families.

“We’re beginning some development that’s related to the amount of traffic that will be coming through, heading to and from Spooky Nook,” said Ross Township Administrator Laurie Kile.

The agreement for the JEDD automatically extends for successive 10-year renewal terms.

At a meeting in August, Mayor Pat Moeller pointed out, to dispel some rumors in Ross Township, that Hamilton will be granted absolutely no jurisdiction over zoning in the township.

Under their contract, the city and township agreed:

  • The will work together on street improvements if necessary.
  • The township intends, but is not required, to work toward expanding and upgrading Ohio 128 and related infrastructure, such as sidewalks, to improve traffic in the area.
  • Police and fire service will be provided to the properties in the same ways as the rest of the township.
  • Except for income taxes, the township will keep all other taxes generated there, such as real estate and personal property.
  • A five-person JEDD board of directors will be created, including one appointed by the township; one appointed by the city; another appointed by the township who represents business owners within the district; one appointed by the city representing people employed in the district; and one member chosen by the other four.
  • The township will continue to be able to grant incentives, such as tax exemptions.
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September 14, 2021

SAICA plant construction/jobs update

Construction is flying along at the Saica US plant in Enterprise Park, and the building is big! When open, the Hamilton Saica plant will occupy a newly-built 300,000 square-foot facility and will include manufacturing, converting and production areas, along with a warehouse and office space.

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March 25, 2021

Spooky Nook progress in Hamilton: Hotel area work continues, showers being installed in sports complex

Construction is moving forward at the gigantic indoor sports complex that will be Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, and the company is pleased with the progress, a spokeswoman said.

“Things are going well,” said Mackenzie Bender. “With any construction project, you kind of cross your fingers during the cold weather of the winter, especially with the state of things in 2020, the supply chain, making sure you can get things on time.”

“But we continue to stay in touch with our construction team and the boots on the ground there, and keep moving every single day. We’re still getting those daily project updates, and we’re happy with the way things are progressing.”

Showers began being installed in the hotel area two weeks ago, and the company is hopeful that by late April or early May, “we’ll be able to showcase a hotel room, and give people a sneak-peak of what it will look like,” Bender said.

The $144 million facility, which at 1.3 million square feet is to be the largest indoor sports complex in North America, is scheduled for completion around the end of this year.

“It’s crazy to see showers being installed,” Bender said. “It’s starting to look like a real building now.”

City Manager Joshua Smith in December said it was good to see the hotel taking shape, “with all the Matandy Steel (of Hamilton) studs everywhere.”

He said the construction team was using many local suppliers and contractors, and “They’re using a lot of local suppliers and contractors. Even their out-of-town construction workers more often than not are staying at the downtown Marriott, which provides assistance to them during very difficult hotel times.”

Visits by athletes and their families to the original Spooky Nook complex near Lancaster, Pa., is good, Bender said.

“With the regulations for out-of-state travel being lifted a few weeks back, that really helped us out, because we pull from a couple of the neighboring states for a lot of our bigger tournaments,” she said. “That was a big announcement for us, but we still have the temperature-checking devices at the front door, still doing the masks and social distancing, so it definitely looks a little different this year, but we’ve been very fortunate to keep a full book of business here.”

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Moody's assigns A3 to City of Hamilton (OH) Electric System Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2018; outlook stable 14 Mar 2018

Moody's Investors Service has assigned an A3 to the City of Hamilton's (OH) approximately $12.7 million Electric System Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2018. The rating outlook is stable.

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