News Column

New deal signed for cancer treatment center

June 13, 2014

By Nick Blizzard, Dayton Daily News, Ohio



June 13--A new agreement between Miami Twp. and a company for a multi-million dollar proton therapy cancer treatment center includes deadlines officials said were not addressed in the previous deal.

The wording of the original contract, signed in 2009, has cost taxpayers money and has helped keep the township's land undeveloped, said one township official. Meanwhile, a similar proton therapy center has been proposed in the region.

The one-year pact reached this week with Clivus Development LLC includes "benchmarks" for financing and construction permits by June 30, 2015, for the proposed complex at the intersection of Miamisburg-Springboro Pike and Wood Road, said twp. Finance Director Harry Steger.

The development is projected to bring hundreds of jobs and be worth in excess of $100 million to the area, according to the township. It would be part of the Austin Center area off Interstate 75 and be located across the highway from Austin Landing.

"It would be a good service to the community to have a project like this," said twp. Planning and Zoning Director Chris Snyder. "It certainly would bring high-paying jobs the area and ancillary jobs that it would bring to the area."

Snyder said the development would encompass between 25 and 30 acres. Clivus officials did not return phone calls Thursday seeking comment.

Trustee President Andrew Papanek said he is satisfied with the agreement.

"It looks like a win-win for both sides," he said. "I firmly believe it will go forward."

Proton therapy is a type of radiation treatment that delivers more precise doses of radiation than conventional X-ray radiation treatments. Supporters view key benefits of proton to be that it administers radiation with less damage to healthy tissues. It is used to treat cancers of the brain, head, neck, eyes, prostate, lungs, early breast cancer and pediatric cancers.

Since the first agreement by Miami Twp. was signed in 2009 and extended by previous trustees, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has announced plans to build a $118 million proton therapy center near the Ohio 129-I-75 interchange in Liberty Twp.

Kettering Health Network, meanwhile, is monitoring and evaluating proton therapy, but has no plans for a center, said Elizabeth Long, manager of media and government relations for KHN.

Yet the Miami Twp. project has been stagnant, and local officials said they want to see movement. The township has been paying taxes on the property and has spent funds on engineering work, said trustee Vice President Robert Matthews.

The previous agreement committed the township to reimburse Clivus for up to $400,000 in market and feasibility studies. Last year, then-trustees Charles Lewis, Michael Nolan and Deborah Preston voted unanimously to spend $40,000 to retain Ross Sinclaire & Associates LLC to handle a bond sale for development of the proposed proton center.

"We wanted the township to get its money's worth," Matthews said. "We can't keep throwing money around."

The new agreement does not include an option for the company to buy the site and an additional parcel "for the sum of $100," which the previous pact permitted. That issue will be discussed later, Steger said.

Additionally, the new contract does not include a parcel of land north of Wright Brothers Airport on Austin Boulevard, an item also in the original agreement, officials said.

Despite the project's lack of progress in recent years, Snyder said that, based on his conversations, Clivus "still feels it's a viable project."

Staff Writers Randy Tucker, Will Garbe and Lawrence Budd contributed to this report.

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(c)2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)


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