New life for Batavia Ford plant

By: Corey McConnell - email

Batavia, OH (FOX19) - The University of Cincinnati's Clermont County campus is bursting at the seams so the University has decided to expand and also offer more affordable, more accessible degrees.  Degrees in social work, nursing, allied health sciences, and criminal justice will now be offered in the old Ford plant in Batavia.

The plant was vacated in June 2008 when Ford shut down operations taking 2,000 jobs with it.

"This is a major piece of land the job creation, tax generation, the stimulus this will cause is huge to us," said Matthew Van Sant of the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce.

Van Sant says bringing UC to the Ford plant has been a county and even state wide effort.  UC will occupy 81,000 square feet of office space in the facility.  The entire plant is 2 million square feet.  The Chamber hopes this is the beginning of a complete redevelopment for the plant.

"Amazing, the whole neighborhood flourished.  Everybody's business was good," Vera David recalls the 'good Sol' days'.

David's owned the Gold Star Chili minutes from the Ford Plant for 31 years.  She says since Ford  left town it's been 'awful'.

"We lost money, we lost customers, businesses have closed down it's been hard," she said.

When you mention the new development in the Ford plant, David grins from ear to ear.

"It's a beautiful thing.  It is certainly a blessing for the restaurant for the community, for the neighborhood," she said.

David says when Ford was open, lunchtime would be standing room only.  At noon on Tuesday you could pick any seat in the house.

"There's no money being rotated in the neighborhood, nobody's spending money," said David. "We need something to happen.  Thank God they're coming out.  I'm excited!"

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