Cincy.com declares West Chester as “spacious, modern and prosperous.” It is known as “an attractive location to raise a family and a center for thriving commerce.” Until the year 2000, West Chester was known as Union Township. It’s been around for quite some time, just under another name.
As a matter of fact, “on June 2, 1823, the County Commissioners met and petitioned for the division of Liberty Township, and that this new township be called Union Township. So far, no reason has been discovered as to why the name “Union” was chosen. Union Township ended up with 35 sections of land. Transportation was quickly becoming a problem … There were no roads…only trails. Eventually, the Miami Erie Canal and the railroads came through the community making travel much easier and resulting in the development of smaller communities within Union Township. Rialto, Port Union, Tylersville and West Chester were all stops on the railroad and small businesses would sprout up in those areas.”
West Chester is one of 13 townships in Butler County. The township takes up 35.5 square miles of land and one sure way to tell you are in West Chester is when you see the gigantic IKEA store on the side of Interstate 75 as you drive north of downtown Cincinnati.
West Chester is located between Sharonville and Liberty Township and is “included in the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area”. Located just off of I-75, you will be in West Chester when you get off the interstate at exits 19, 21 and 22. West Chester provides easy access to the Interstate, allowing you to be in either downtown Cincinnati or Dayton, Ohio, in only 25-30 minutes, since it is right in the center of both Ohio cities.
West Chester Schools
West Chester is home to the Lakota School District and several private schools. “Lakota is made up of 22 total school buildings, including:
- Two high schools with two freshman campuses
- Four junior schools
- Ten elementary schools, and
- Four early childhood schools.
Through a partnership with the Butler County Educational Service Center, three of the four early childhood schools offer tuition-based preschool education.” According to schooldigger.com, West Chester schools are ranked 130th out of 627 cities in Ohio. The district serves 16,500 students. According to the school district’s report card, 100% of the students in grade 3-12 passed the state tests at a proficient level or higher. Also according to the report card, 93.8% of students in the district graduate within 4 years of high school.
The International Academy of Cincinnati is a private school located in West Chester. According to their site, “The El-Sewedy International Academy of Cincinnati is a school where students, staff, parents, and community work as a team to ensure excellence in learning within environments emphasizing high moral CHARACTER, INTEGRITY, AND RESPECT, Islamic faith tenets and distinctive characteristics of all who strive to serve the Creator.” The school serves just over 160 students in grades K-8.
The Kinder Garden School of West Chester serves approximately 114 students in grades K-1. This unique private school provides a very structured day for its students. On a typical day, students are greeted by the friendly teaching staff and participate in fun, engaging learning activities throughout the course of the school day.
Lakota Christian School is a small Christian school, serving a small student body at a very affordable tuition. The school serves grades K-12.
West Chester Parks and Recreation
The Upper Mill Creek Conservation Corridor is a nice place to bike, jog, use roller blades or simply walk. It provides a “3-mile paved trail from “State Route 747 to Route 4.” It follows the Mill Creek and the “former Miami Erie Canal.” “The Corridor preserves historical features relating to the canal including an aquaduct, waste weir, the foundation of an ice house, and ice ponds. It is a scenic, natural area and is home to many important plant, animal and bird species. The Corridor also preserves important floodplain property protecting the Mill Creek and allowing it to take a more natural course.”
Keehner Park is a huge green space, offering a cool amphitheater and a creek where you can wade in the water. “Keehner Park features extensive woodland trails following the creek. The creekside trails offer a beautiful scenic hike with a collection of wildflowers specimens and a glimpse at history with an extensive collection of fossils and clay deposits. Visitors are asked to leave all the creek’s treasures as they find them.”
West Chester Special Events
Shakespeare in the Park takes place in Keehner Park’s ampitheatre and is presented by The Arts Council of West Chester and Liberty and ArtsWave.
Be sure to chill each week during the warmer months when you attend After-Hours on the Square. After-Hours on the Square at Union Center is a great way to unwind after a hard day at work. All summer long, enjoy the bands, beer and food at event each week in the summer months.
The Fifth Third West Chester Concert Series takes place at Keehner park all summer long. Be sure to check out their scheduled events and attend some of these family-friendly, no-alcohol-permitted festivities all summer long.
Muhlhauser Barn was a 2012 finalist in Cincy Magazine’s Best of the North for places to have a wedding. “The 1881 Muhlhauser Barn was reconstructed in Beckett Park in 2008 as a community gathering and rental facility. The Barn was once part of the Muhlhauser-Windish Brewing Company and still bears the Muhlhauser name prominently in its slate tile roof. The Muhlhauser Barn previously stood on Route 4 in Fairfield on the grounds of Ohio Casualty. Employees of Ohio Casualty, hoping that the Barn would be saved, contacted West Chester Township and descendants of the Muhlhauser family about saving the structure. Working through The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty, the Muhlhauser family collected the funds needed to dismantle the barn and move it to Beckett Park. West Chester Township then funded the re-construction and restoration of the prominent timberframe structure. One of few true timberframe barns remaining in the state.”
The West Chester Activity Center is located on Cox Rd. The center “offers multigenerational programming and lifestyle services for residents of West Chester and Liberty Township. Available amenities include:
- Fitness equipment room
- Wii games available
- Computers available for members’ use
- Billiards table available
- Family Lounge area with toys and books for children
- Outdoor patio
- Large parking lot
The West Chester YMCA is a great place to stay fit and active. The YMCA offers many amenities and fitness classes for all of your needs. From spinning to water aerobics and from toddlers to the more “mature” audience, you can find something active in which to participate at this local facility providing opportunities to meet your fitness needs.
Things That Make West Chester Special
There are far too many restaurants to name around West Chester. No matter which of the three West Chester exits you take, you’ll find a plethora of places to dine from the fast food chains to highly elegant, fancier choices. You definitely won’t at a loss for choices when it comes to locating some fantastic restaurants in West Chester.
The Station Road Schoolhouse “is a quaint 1900 two-room schoolhouse and 3-acre schoolyard located near the Olde West Chester neighborhood. The current two-room schoolhouse is built on the foundation of a one-room schoolhouse once used by the community. When the one-room schoolhouse burned down, the community rebuilt the current structure in its place.”
The Voice of America Park is a very special part of West Chester. “This 435-acre park, originally a part of the Voice of America-Bethany Relay Station, was conveyed to the community through the Federal Lands-to-Parks Program. The park features a stocked 35-acre lake circled by a 1.4-mile paved multi-purpose path. A 65-foot-high sledding hill, created from the spoils of the lake excavation, draws visitors during winter snowfalls. Much of the park’s acreage remains as grassland, leading to the site’s designation in 2005 as an “Important Birding Area” by Audubon Ohio. The Ronald Reagan Lodge and Boathouse include a reception hall, meeting room, and retail facility. The retail area provides fishing permits, boat rentals, bait, tackle, etc. Park Features: 35-acre lake, banquet facility, reservable gazebo, natural areas, athletic fields, Wiggly Field Dog Park, hiking trails, 1.4-mile paved walking/biking path, fishing by MetroPark permit only, row boat and pedal boat rental, personal kayak launching, sled riding in season, picnic areas.”
IKEA is a massive store that you can spot from quite a distance on I-75. Located in West Chester, off of the Union Centre Boulevard exit, IKEA offers great all-day shopping for all of your household needs. This place is incredible. IKEA even has a cafeteria where you can try out their tasty meatballs. Kids eat free on certain days.
Be sure to visit The Cone throughout the warmer months. You can’t miss it because it’s literally a giant ice cream cone, serving in the Greater Cincinnati area since 1973. Starting in the Lockland-Reading area, the West Chester location opened in 1995. Many say it’s the best soft serve ice cream around.
If you’re interested in being active, check out Skatetown USA. This skating rink is a great place to have birthday parties or other cool group events. Be sure to check out the skating schedule before your visit.