Letter to the Editor: What happened to the village of Batavia?

What has happened to our village?

I’m a transplant—born & raised in central Indiana, but have lived in Clermont County for over 25 years, and in BataviaTownship for 20 years. All 3 of my kids graduated from Batavia High School. I live just outside town, but am there nearly every day.

Batavia is an old, sleepy little place—celebrated our bicentennial a few years back. Full of historic buildings and features an attractive, wide, main street about ½ mile long. U.S. Grant & Harriet Beecher Stowe spent time here.

The Underground Railroad was active here.

Heard someone describe our town as “a place where nothing much ever happens.” And I can appreciate that. I’ve never felt “unsafe” in town at any time day or night.

The first time I visited Batavia, there was a Krogers at the west end of town. There was an old “Five & Dime” store, maybe 5 restaurants, and a friendly little library tucked a couple blocks back from Main St., by the elementary school my youngest daughter attended. There were parades, festivals and an occasional rally. You could get breakfast, lunch and even a sit-down dinner.

And now? Krogers is 30 years gone, the “Five and Dime” probably 20 years gone. Moonlight Chili, Hardees, Batavia Station, a sub shop, a Mexican restaurant, and a coffee shop also long gone. Just last year, a little diner had to close. We loved that place! Great food & friendly owners who greeted you by name.

The elementary school was torn down. And it looks like even our library will either merge with Owensville or simply close.

My family looked forward to “A Taste of Clermont” every summer, and the last couple of years to “Art in August.” Both festivals have been discontinued.

It suddenly looks like all that we have left are courts, criminals and bail bondsmen. Gramma’s Pizza and UDF still standing … so far. The streets look nice with the new trees, flowers and all. But no reason to stop, unless you need gas, or make a court appearance.

Beautiful Sycamore Park is nearby (maintained by the county, not the village) and the Little Miami flows right thru town. Lots of Victorian houses, lots of friendly, patriotic people.

The Clermont County Convention & Visitors Bureau is located right downtown. That almost seems like a bad joke. Go to their website and you are told to go somewhere else to see something new or do something fun (Milford, Coney Island, Williamsburg, Cincinnati …).

What can our town leaders do to turn this around? Does anyone want things to change?

Friends of mine have told me that the village did not support the festivals or make it easy for a restaurant to remain in business.

How about an annual festival? A decent, sit-down restaurant? A grocery store! You would think the county seat could at least keep the library open.

Sometimes, it makes me think that the best option is to move to Glen Este or Milford.

But it could be so much better.

Steve Featherston