Monday, April 20, 2015

The Cincinnati-Dayton Metroplex!

Cincinnati and Dayton may merge communities and form a metroplex. This is Interstate 71/75 through Covington, Kentucky. Coming down the "Cut In the Hill" you see the skyline of Cincinnati.

With the rise in population around Butler, Warren and Greene Counties, the Dayton metro area will eventually be a "suburb" of Cincinnati.

Cincinnati, the city that sits on the banks of the Ohio River, population 287,000 is the hub of Southwestern Ohio. Dayton, the city that sits in west central Ohio, population 137,000 is the hub of the Miami Valley.

Both cities are control access cities with Interstate 70 and Interstate 75 being the nation's most frequently traveled highways. Interstate 71 and Interstate 74 both serve regional hubs such as Indianapolis, Louisville, Columbus and Cleveland.

Cincinnati is a global leader in innovation and manufacturing. Dayton while struggling to survive is the hub of health care, military research and aviation history.

Wright Patterson Air Force base is the nation's most active military installation.

Cincinnati's metro area includes Southwestern Ohio, Southeastern Indiana and Northern Kentucky.

Dayton's metro area includes Troy, Xenia, and Eaton. Dayton suffered a setback. Springfield, Ohio and Richmond, Indiana are no longer part of the Dayton MSA.

Springfield's micropolitan area includes Yellow Springs, Urbana and New Carlisle.

The talk around town is Dayton and Cincinnati may eventually form a metroplex.

Interstate 75 traveling through Dayton Ohio.
The Mill Creek Expressway project is an ongoing issue. Interstate 75 travels through Cincinnati and heads northward towards Dayton. The  Mill Creek Expressway project will create a full access interchange at Hopple Street, an easier access to Interstate 74/US 52, elimination of left hand exits at Harrison Avenue, and improve access to Mitchell Avenue and The Norwood Lateral (SR 562).

The highway is going through some major improvements between the two cities and through Northwestern Ohio and Toledo.

Interstate 71 is also in the works. The Ohio Department of Transportation is trying to make a full interchange exit to serve the University of Cincinnati. The exit ramp for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive is underway. The exit will eliminate the Taft Road exit and make it easier to access UC, the Zoo and Xavier University.

The highway is being worked on through Warren County through Jeremiah Morrow Bridge and into Columbus, Ohio.

With that said, the Cincinnati and Dayton leaders are seeking solutions to ease up constant traffic congestion. The talk of a full service toll road and 3-digit highway comes into play.

Also there's focus on areas north of Cincinnati and south of Dayton.

Dayton is about 85% complete on its revitalization project. The project calls for the elimination of the left handed exits that used to serve downtown. It will be one single wide lane exit that serves to segments of Dayton's central business district.

The region grew with the addition of Austin Landing, The Premium Outlets of Cincinnati, Miami Valley Gaming, and the future Liberty Center shopping center.

Some areas are being worked on and the communities that the Interstate serves will be affected.

The Dayton Daily News notes that a key criteria for merging two metropolitan areas is if 25 percent of residents living in central counties of one metro — such as Greene, Miami and Montgomery counties of the Dayton area — commute to work in central counties of a neighboring metro — such as Butler, Warren, Clermont or Hamilton counties, or parts of Northern Kentucky, as part of the larger Cincinnati MSA — according to U.S. Office of Budget and Management standards. The counties must also be contiguous.

While the U.S. Census Bureau tracks population patterns, it’s up to the federal Budget and Management department to make the call on a metro merger, research by this newspaper found. The federal budget office did not respond to interview or information requests by deadline.

“When we work with employers considering coming to the region, they don’t consider geographical boundaries,” said Adam Jones, administrator of the Workforce Investment Board of Butler, Clermont and Warren Counties, a workforce development agency.

Metroplex, macro region or mega region — all ways to describe the growing Interstate-75 corridor — aren't formal government terms.

Rather, government officials will consider population patterns and common economic development and social relationships for changing the borders of a metropolitan area, according to information provided by the Census Bureau.

“It highlights and confirms … we ought to be doing what we’re doing today and work together,” said Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann, as a panelist at last Thursday’s Think Regional conference.

Think Regional brought together business, government and nonprofit leaders from throughout Cincinnati and Dayton at an all-day event held April 16 in West Chester Twp. to promote regional collaboration.
The Cincinnati MSA and Dayton MSA.
“We don’t really have a choice if we want to compete as a region,” said Mann, referring to the need for the urban cores and surrounding communities to work together.

The city of Dayton thinks about Cincinnati every day, but Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley would be happy if Cincinnati thought of Dayton at least twice a week, she joked as a speaker Thursday on the same panel with Mann.

“I have a real interest in Cincinnati thinking north,” Whaley said. “In describing where Dayton is… we are an hour north of Cincinnati.”

“When we’re selling Dayton, we’re selling Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio,” Whaley said.

As of the most recent rankings of America’s largest metropolitans, the Cincinnati Tristate falls 28th on the list with a population of 2,149,449, according to the Census Bureau. Those estimates are as of July 1, 2014. The Dayton area ranks 71st on the list with a population of 800,836.

A combined Cincinnati-Dayton metropolitan with 2,950,285 people would rank the region as the 18th largest in the U.S. behind San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., and ahead of Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.

A government designation of the area as one instead of two separate metropolitans would make a big difference in marketing the area to outside businesses, said Johnna Reeder, president and chief executive officer of REDI Cincinnati, the nonprofit economic development agency in charge of attracting businesses to Greater Cincinnati.

“The positives are when you’re bigger, you’re seen as having more assets and that’s a good thing when you’re trying to compete on big projects,” Reeder said.

Continued growth and trade along the corridor between Cincinnati and Dayton will drive the need for more talks between Cincinnati- and Dayton-area leaders, said Phil Parker, president and chief executive officer of Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“You start to see more people and more businesses living along that corridor, it starts to add up to the point when there will be a time when people say we need to meet with and speak with our counterparts along that corridor to see what we can do to come up with the advantages… of that one large metropolis,” Parker said.

“I think the jury’s still out on it because one of the things people don’t want to happen is they certainly don’t want Dayton to be the red-headed step child of an area when right now we have our own governmental bodies, zip codes, etc.,” he said.

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