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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Deer Control - How Big of a Problem is it?

In honor of the official start to the deer hunting season that began today I wanted to focus a little more on the proposed solution by the city of Fort Thomas to control the deer population.

Here is a link to the city's site regarding deer control tips. The article indicates that Fort Thomas has averaged 9.2 deer collisions in the past 3 years. How does that compare to other areas? I know that I see a lot of deer carcasses along I-75 but never really see anything close to that in Fort Thomas.

According to the Kentucky State Police website there were 134 accidents in Boone County on average, 91 in Campbell. Obviously this is much larger area but the site also published a detailed map of every reported incident of deer collisions and at least 4 other areas in Northern Kentucky had many more incidences of collisions than in Fort Thomas including Hebron Burlington (centered on Camp Ernst Rd), Erlanger (mostly along Turkeyfoot), Alexandria (both US27 and the AA Highway were big hot spots for deer collisions), and finally in Independence along KY 17.

Now I don't want to down play the real threat that deer collisions can pose or the fact that they can cause deaths. However, generally deaths and damage for that matter occur generally only at higher speeds. In Fort Thomas the only road that has a higher speed limit than 35 is along Memorial Pkwy which has been cited as the single biggest place for deer collisions. I also don't want to down play the cost of fixing a damaged car - according to the Kentucky state police site they indicate that a deer collision can cause $2,000 in damage on average.

While I do think that much of the criticism to the population control plan has been blown out of proportion I do think this is a very dumb idea. We have to look at the true cost / benefit of such a plan. I think the slight risk of a stray bullet outweighs the benefits of any reduction in accidents. Even if we are able to reduce the deer population with this plan there is no guarantee we will reduce the number of collisions that occur. While a reduction is likely other factors are at play including the number of people using Memorial Parkway and the loss of deer habitat from surrounding developments along Memorial Pkwy, in Newport, Woodlawn, and Bellevue.

So is this a real problem for Fort Thomas and what are other reasonable solutions? While I think the problem has been a little overblown it can become a real problem down the road and doing nothing now can become a much bigger problem later. The ordinance to fine those who are feeding deer is a great first step and I believe will help - kudos to the city for this one. I also believe that there has to be a way to control the population through birth control. This approach is being studied across the country (here is an example of consideration being given to this plan in Wisconsin) and may be a short year or two away from approval and widespread acceptance. I advocate the new city ordinance against feeding deer and waiting until other more viable options present themselves.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nevada Building Update

The Nevada building did not sale this morning at auction. There were many people there but the owner that was being foreclosed on filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection and the sale was canceled. We will provide more information later in terms of what this means for the building and the area.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Open Spaces in Midway District

Some great properties are now available on the MLS in the Midway district. These 3 wonderful properties provide a tremendous opportunity for those interested in being on the ground floor of a district in transition. I am providing links to each below:

The Midway district has held so much promise for the past couple of decades but has failed to live up to its promise. Its proximity to Tower Park (across the street), its location in town at the point of transition from North and South Fort Thomas, and its old town look and feel are all great assets that have never been fully exploited.

In the past year or two there have been many Renaissance Board grants that have been awarded to individual store owners to improve the facade on their buildings. Additionally, the city has filed for a historic designation. I have attached a link to an article from regarding this application. Being awarded this designation could mean more money for building improvements by individual owners.

Many of you may know that there is also a plan for a re-development of the public infrastructure that is making its way through city council. I have not seen the details but have heard that it includes some repositioning of the intersection in front of Fort Thomas pizza, more parking and street scape improvements. I have not seen these plans but will pass them along to you if I can get them in digital form.

All of this adds up to a great opportunity for the area. With that being said not everything is roses for this area. I contend that the biggest thing that is lacking for a better district - not just Midway but the Central Business District and Inverness is a vision for the areas. The city should work with building owners in the area to identify the types of business that are desired for the area - possibly around a common theme - and then work to attract those types of businesses.

A perfect example comes from a recent article in the Cincinnati Enquirer regarding a new store in Milford - A&N Outfitters. This article really underscores the work that the city of Milford has done in re-vitalizing an older downtown that was in decline but has made a comeback in a big way. One quote really stands out to me as the owner talks about the advantages of moving to the location in Milford: "His store is a perfect fit with the neighbors, who cross-promote one another's businesses: Nature Outfitters, which sells outdoor gear, and Rustic Comforts, a cabin-home store, are just down the street. And the river is just out the back door."

For Fort Thomas to really re-vitalize the three business districts in Fort Thomas it takes this type of planning and vision to attract complimentary businesses that can not be found in a strip mall in Kenwood or Crestview Hills. Maybe this is capitalizing on the bike trails in and around Tower Park or perhaps it is creating a distinctive entertainment area for a more affluent laid back clientale. Regardless a vision must be created. Along with the vision must be cooperation among building owners and supportive zoning.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Nevada Building To Be Auctioned November 20th

For those of you who are not familiar with the Nevada Building it is a landmark in Fort Thomas that sits right in the middle of the Midway district next to Fort Thomas Pub.

Here is a link from about the building if you need more info. I had a first-hand experience with the building while with a group that rented a portion of the building for a year. It is in a great location and a great location to capitalize on the re-vitalization of the Midway district. The buyer will definitely need to invest some money into improvements on the building but the spaces available in the building are unbeatable.

Info on the Sale:

Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 10:00 is the Master Commissioner sale of the Nevada building (1045 S. Fort Thomas Avenue).

The sale will be held at the Newport Courthouse, just inside the doors.

To purchase the building, you will need cash or a check for $500 and a letter of credit from your bank indicating you have the amount of your bid available to use for the purchase. The balance will be due two weeks after the sale.

If you choose to use another bidder instead of showing up personally, that person will also need the $500 plus your letter.

The bid will begin at about $116,666.