I-71 Ramps, Dana Avenue Improvements are Underway
On and off ramp improvements at I-71 are underway, and streetscaping projects along Dana Avenue to Victory Parkway in Evanston begin this fall, paid for by Ohio Job Ready Sites (JRS) grants.
The $1.4 million JRS grant provides for ramp improvements and a new entrance for Neyer Properties’ Keystone Parke at Dana Avenue. Utilities, waterway changes, and fresh paving are in progress, with completion slated for August, 2010.
Additional grant money goes toward a streetscape along Dana Avenue extending from I-71 to Victory Parkway. The streetscape project includes new sidewalks, crosswalk lights and tree plantings to make the area more pedestrian-friendly.
Construction on the Dana Avenue streetscape is expected to begin this fall, with the majority of work completed in spring, 2011. Trend Construction, a Small Business Enterprise (SBE), is general contractor for both projects.
The improvements are possible through a state grant awarded to the city of Cincinnati for Neyer Properties’ Keystone Parke, the region’s first green office campus. The Ohio Department of Development’s JRS award was slated for Keystone Parke in November, 2008. It was the only Cincinnati-area project site to win one of the grants.
The Job Ready Sites program was created in 2005 to bolster Ohio’s portfolio of commercial and industrial developable sites. Properties in this program are strategically chosen for their ability to provide optimal infrastructure capabilities and attract economy-shifting investment, according to the JRS program description. JRS program funds help offset costs traditionally incurred in speculative commercial and industrial development to accelerate investment decisions and to maximize the development potential of each property.
Sheena Metzger, administrator for the JRS program in Columbus, said the Keystone Parke project was the highest-scoring project in this rounding of funding. “Positive attributes are that it leverages a small amount of state funds to create a smart office complex of over 460,000 square feet, has excellent visibility from the interstate, and all of the buildings on site are going to be LEED-certified at least to the Silver level,” she said.
Keystone Parke was the catalyst for all these improvements, said Jeff Chamot, senior development project manager at Neyer Properties. “Keystone pushed the idea forward, but these improvements were really needed by the whole community.”
A middle turn lane will be added on Dana Avenue where needed, said Chamot. Grassy, landscaped boulevards will be included where turn lanes are unnecessary. Light poles that use LED bulbs along the sidewalks will match those currently in use at Keystone Parke.
“The light poles are not the only thing about this project that is green,” said Chamot. “Like the light poles, all signage is lit with LED and fluorescent bulbs. The landscaping is native and drought- tolerant. Low-flow drip irrigation in the planting beds will be tied into a moisture sensor to ensure unnecessary water usage is minimized.”
Neyer Properties has contributed more than $1.7 million to the Dana Avenue Streetscape Program and I-71 Dana Avenue exit improvements over the past six years.