Anderson Township seems to have all the answers.

What other township has its own amusement park (Coney Island), concert arena (RiverBend), horse racetrack (River Downs), a national scenic river (the Little Miami), abundant green space, a first-rate school system as well as popular parochial schools, a major hospital with a modern "healthplex" (Mercy Hospital Anderson), and an extensive and growing park system? Add the new Anderson Towne Center for retail and restaurants, and a master plan to construct an adjacent lake surrounded by five dozen condominiums, a 14-screen movie theater and a 325-seat outdoor amphitheater, and this community is in a league of its own.

Adjoining Cincinnati's east side, Anderson has the advantage of offering secluded, wooded properties, many with spectacular views of the Ohio River"”choice properties that are home to many business owners and executives.

"Anderson is a fabulous, fabulous township," says Bobbi Hart, who has been selling real estate in Anderson for years. "It certainly is a gem here in Cincinnati."

Anderson Township, which dates back to the 1790s when a fort was established to defend settlers from attack, is home to 45,000 people. To those who know it best, its appeal indisputably lies in its array of amenities.

"Every single convenience you'd ever wanted is located there," says Judy Pogue, Anderson resident and president of Real Living Relocation Services. "The architectural style is attractive, the schools are excellent, the amenities are abundant, and it's close to downtown. Everything you'd ever need is in Anderson."

In addition to the wide array of amenities in Anderson Township, there is also a large assortment of housing in every price range according to local real estate agents.

"Anderson seems to have so much for so many people," Hart says. "They have housing in many price points."

One point in that range is the $1-million to $2-million houses on Sunny Acres Drive"”which are characterized by square footage starting at 3,500, river views, lush trees and proximity to fabulous golf courses. Another point in the Anderson real estate market are traditional and two-story and ranch houses starting in the $200,000 range.

Henry Dolive, Anderson Township's administrator, notes plans are in place to develop more contemporary housing to meet new demand.
"We have an Anderson (Township) Plan that puts a stress on promoting housing that is either apartments or condos," he says. Dolive notes there is a growing need for quality housing for "empty-nesters""”those Anderson residents who need less space now that the kids have moved out.

One of those developments is the $40.5 million residential and retail project at Anderson Towne Center"”at Beechmont Avenue and Five Mile Road"”featuring up to 60 luxury condominiums in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. Ground clearing is now under way for the project.
Dolive notes "this is the first recognition by the township that we have been a little too successful" in pushing single-family houses, as opposed to condos and apartments.

The project calls for a two-story, 14-screen cinema by American Screen Works, a two-level restaurant with a jazz bar and outdoor dining, and two- to three-bedroom condos. An outdoor amphitheater seating 350 will be used for outdoor movies and community drama groups. A $4.5-million parking garage will be built underneath to accommodate shoppers and theatergoers, as well as the impressive number of Anderson residents who use the Metro park-and-ride center based there.

Steve Sievers, director of development services for Anderson and an Anderson resident, explains that the jump in recent residential growth has led to the redevelopment of the town center.

"The investment that's gone into the town center and the office development has had a ripple effect on Beechmont Avenue and the community in general."

Sievers says he has seen a spike in residential development over the last few years.

"Since 2003 there have been about 10 new subdivisions," he says. "I've been here since 2000, and over the last three or four years we've really seen it start to spike back up."

One of those developments is Coldstream, which Hart says is considered to be "one of the best in Cincinnati," located next to the coveted Coldstream golf course.

Also built primarily on a golf course, Ivy Trails was the site of the 2004 Homearama New Lifestyles Edition. It features 154 custom luxury home sites with a scenic lake, creeks, community green, miles of wooded walking trails, and social memberships to Ivy Hills and Royal Oak Country Clubs for its residents.

Ivy Trails also boasts Zicka Walker homes, according to Hart.

"He's been building for at least 50 years," she says. "Ivy Trails is a huge subdivision, with homes ranging from $500,000 to $1 million plus, from 3000 to 5500 square feet, and surrounded by hillsides with great walkouts to protected woodlands."

Other upscale Anderson communities include Williams Estate and Eagle's Watch.

In addition to booming residential growth and an assortment of housing opportunities, Anderson Township boasts an excellent school system.

Longtime Anderson resident Sharon Ochsenhirt moved to the area upon relocating from Chicago with her husband. Ochsenhirt, whose three children all graduated from Forest Hills schools, says the quality of public education was the main appeal of Anderson. 

"Schools were a priority for us," she recalls, "and Forest Hills had and still has an outstanding reputation."

From elementary through high school, each of the Forest Hills schools is focused on "developing the whole person, producing students that excel in the classroom as well as their extracurricular activities," the school district boasts. Forest Hills is one of only a half-dozen districts in Greater Cincinnati to win the highest rating of "Excellent" from the Ohio Department of Education.

The percentage of dollars spent directly on instructional programs ranks among the highest in the county, while the percentage of dollars spent on general administration at Forest Hills is the lowest in Hamilton County.

Ochsenhirt also praised the "outstanding" nature preserve system in Anderson, an initiative dubbed the Green Space Program.
Sievers says Anderson is the first township in Ohio to pass a tax-validated issue in 1990 to generate funds to preserve properties for green space. Since then, Anderson Township has acquired nearly 600 acres.

Add to this a superb public park and soccer field system (Anderson is one of the few communities in the area with its own system, the Anderson Park District). And the presence of three county and City of Cincinnati parks.

"It really gives a postcard image of the community," Sievers observes. "Our logo has a tree in the middle, and we pride ourselves on that."
According to Sievers, the green space"”coupled with the parks and golf courses"”account for about 20 percent of Anderson's park and recreational land use. "For a community of our size, that's a fairly large number," he says.

A newer initiative called the Anderson Trails Program was developed by the Board of Trustees to construct trails connecting neighborhoods to churches, retail and parks. Sievers notes they've built more than seven miles of trails since 2000, with three miles currently under construction.

"The program is building rapidly," he says, "providing options for families to walk to the corner and get ice cream." Ochsenhirt asserts Anderson caters to families, providing events such as the Taste of Anderson/Fourth of July parade, Greater Anderson Days, outdoor movies in the summer months and Coney Island festivals. Anderson is also home to the recently expanded Anderson Branch Library, which continues to be No. 1 in circulation in the 41-branch Public Library of Hamilton County system.

Location and accessibility is yet another asset that sets Anderson apart. Many residents can reach downtown Cincinnati or the Greater Cincinnati International Airport within 20 minutes. Lunken Airport, home to a growing fleet of private and charter planes for business travel, is right next door.

"If you want to live in Ohio and live close to downtown and to the airport, it's a great place for that," Sievers says.

Not only do Anderson residents have a short drive to downtown, they don't have to rely on one major highway.

"My husband works downtown and he can take three different routes to get to work," says Ochsenhirt. "There's easy access to everywhere from Anderson."

For shoppers and diners, both Eastgate Mall and Rookwood Commons are easy drives from Anderson. Anderson's main artery, Beechmont Avenue, is seen as a blessing and a curse: abundant with options, but congested at peak hours. The long commercial strip extends from Skytop Pavilion near Lunken through the Mount Washington business district, resumes near the growing Anderson Towne Center, continues east past miles of strip retail, restaurant and office buildings as it becomes Ohio Pike, then reaches beyond I-275. The township is working on street landscaping and other modifications to make the corridor more attractive and functional.

Anderson's access to other communities may improve greatly with the proposed $1.4 billion Eastern Corridor Project, which would serve 17 Hamilton and Clermont County communities. It envisions a light-rail line that would run on existing tracks from downtown Cincinnati to Milford, along with a complete overhaul of the Ohio 32-Interstate 275 interchange in Eastgate. But the project component with the most impact could be the western extension of state Route 32, bypassing Newtown to the north, crossing the Little Miami and connecting with the Red Bank Expressway, providing easier access to I-71 for Anderson area residents.

In addition to its locale and interstate access, Anderson boasts high quality services for road maintenance, especially during the winter months, according to Ochsenhirt.

"I can't imagine living anywhere else," she says.

Sievers says there's a lot of pride in Anderson, and with good reason.

"We've got an excellent school district, great community organizations, and a lot of history and tradition here in Anderson."