Spending is steadily increasing on landscaping for the Austin interchange, the gateway from Interstate 75 to Miamisburg, Miami Twp. and Springboro.
Therefore, Signs identifying Austin Center — an about 2,000-acre district surrounding the junction — have been installed at each corner of the interchange west of Austin Landing. And the board overseeing the area has budgeted $300,000 next year for maintaining and improving the grounds.
And records show next year’s allotted funds are about 30 percent more than the estimated spending on the district’s landscaping this year and nearly twice as much as was spent in 2014, more than two years after it opened.
That’s a reflection of the image Miamisburg, Miami Twp. and Springboro officials want to project, as well as the amount of tax revenue — $800,000 is estimated for 2016 — the district is generating, said Steve Stanley, chairman of the Austin Center Joint Economic Development District board, a panel the three communities created to oversee the area.
“I think we’ll spend some money on further enhancements,” he said. “I don’t know how much that will be.”
At that, a desire to “bolster aesthetic improvements” is a key reason for the hike in landscape spending, said Springboro City Manager Chris Thompson, a JEDD board member.
The JEDD board has contracted The Kleingers Group, a landscape architect, for providing options for improvements, Stanley said.
“I think where everybody wants to go with this is to really be prudent about it,” he said. “We want to make sure the investment that’s already there is well maintained and that there’s clearly a desire among the three communities to do some further enhancement.”
“But we want to be cautious about that because you’re always going to weigh off the costs of maintaining the improvement that you make,” Stanley added. “If you want it to look good, you’re going to have to spend some money going forward. So you have to be careful about looking at what you install in order to not overburden the long-term maintenance. And everybody’s being pretty cautious about that.”
Interchange enhancements that Miamisburg Mayor Dick Church Jr. said he would like to see are signs directing traffic to the three communities.
“At most interchanges, there are directional signs,” he said.
Installing the signs “makes sense,” Stanley said. He speculated that the process may take several months.