The Savannah Center, West Chester’s first upscale reception and event center, welcomed the public to its grounds for the first time in an official unveiling. Construction began late last year on the 42,000-square-foot facility, which sits on 12 acres and includes a 4-acre lake. It is expected to open this November at 8812 Becket Road off the Union Centre Boulevard Exit.

Several investors recognized the need for such a facility in West Chester, particularly because of its location between Cincinnati and Dayton, says Savannah Center Director Pam Shrout. Hotels in the area are already investing in shuttles specifically for the facility, which is ideal for events such as business meetings and weddings.
The layout for the center, which has a Southern Coastal theme, has been modified since the center was first announced; two landscaped lawn areas overlooking the lake have been expanded, and the original basic rectangular design has changed. “It’s got such a personality now,” says Shrout.

Features include a grand staircase at one entrance, a glass solarium that accommodates 175 people, and a Plantation Ballroom with a 1,200-guest capacity. The lake features three fountains and a gazebo on its shore. Savannah’s services will also include an in-house award-winning chef and butlers. “Once we’re up and running we will be doing catering as well,” Shrout says.
 

Caroline McKinney, a Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber staff member, has been named Liberty Township’s first economic development director. The fast-growing township is largely residential, so McKinney’s job is to attract businesses to targeted development areas within its 28-square-mile boundaries. McKinney, a Miami University graduate, is a Liberty Township resident, so, “It was the perfect match for me,’’ she says.

Frank Birkenhauer, Colerain Township’s director of Economic Development, received an Individual Contributor Award under the category  of  “Public Administrator of the Year Awards,” from the Seasongood Foundation and the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. Colerain Township Administrator David Foglesong received a Career Achievement Award. Two notable retail redevelopment projects in Colerain Township will invest more than $100 million ($50 million each): a new “lifestyle center” called Stone Creek Towne Center, and the Northgate Mall renovation and expansion, managed by Feldman Mall Properties.
 
The West Chester Chamber Alliance will offer its 2nd Annual Executive Edge program beginning in September. The accelerated leadership program, sponsored by U.S. Bank, is aimed at newly relocated CEOs and senior level managers, as well as their partners or spouses, who want to get acclimated to the West Chester and Liberty Townships area. Participants are introduced to community decision-makers, elected officials and VIPs. The program includes networking opportunities, high-level speakers, panel discussions, and facility tours. Free childcare available. Contact Kathy Rambo at (513) 777-3600 or ktrambo@westchesterchamberalliance.com.
 
David Shuey, GIS manager for the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, won the agency’s Outstanding Employee Award for 2006. He was recognized for his leadership, customer service and can-do attitude, OKI officials said. Shuey manages the websites and technology-related functions for the agency, a regional  planning and economic development body that represents governmental, social and civic groups across eight counties.
 
CMC Properties, home to more than 1,000 small office users in Greater Cincinnati, announced a strategic alliance with the Cincinnati Business Incubator (CBI), which provides business counseling to small minority and women-owned client companies. The partnership will allow tenants at all seven Greater Cincinnati CMC office centers to use CBI’s discounted rates and expand CBI’s reach from downtown into the suburban Cincinnati market and beyond. CMC will donate conference room space to CBI for expansion of their learning programs, offer facilities at a discounted rate, and co-host CBI’s monthly  “Lunch n’ Learn” seminars.