I looked at demographic data for Loveland, Mariemount, Milford, Bellevue, and Hudson, OH as compared to Fort Thomas. While most of those surrounding areas are probably very familiar to you I have posted a few pictures to give you a better idea of what these communities look like and to give you a vision of what they have done in case you have never visited there.
Hudson, OH - the first picture shows their newer development and the second is the older part of town. Store fronts are almost exclusively retail and they have a good mix of locally owned and chain. All retail seems to compliment the store front next door. Also notice how the newer development blends well with the older part of town.
Hudson had by far the best demographics for retail. They had a larger land mass and population. Not to mention they had far and away the largest median income. That being said the other demographic numbers were comparable to Fort Thomas.
The next town we looked at was Milford, OH
Milford could not even match the attractiveness for a retail business investor. Granted the data was from the 2000 census and Milford has grown quite a bit since then but Fort Thomas should still be a more attractive retail spot. Across the board from crime to total population to median income and college graduates Fort Thomas should win but take a trip down Main Street in Milford and you would have no clue it was so lopsided.
Next is Loveland.
While Loveland has the advantage of having the little miami bike trail running through its downtown the demographics point to the fact that again - Fort Thomas could be a more attractive place to set up retail. Ask anyone you know in Loveland and the picture above did not happen by accident. It took planning, vision, and a dedication to make the area a destination. My wife and I have stopped for lunch during a fall bike ride and loved the experience.
At the risk of sounding redundant I am going to stop now. I think you get the picture - all beautiful locations with differing assets but the one common thread that has created a great place to eat, play, and live is the vision by planners and leaders in these communities to attract the right types of retail for their communities.
Take one look at the table below (I apologize now for readability concerns since blogger doesn't have a good way to create a table) and see that Fort Thomas too has some great assets but has never had a vision to create the types of retail districts seen in these other photographs.
|City||Population||Median Income||Land Area(sq miles)||Pop Density(per sq mile)||% HS Grads||% Bachelors||% Married||Daytime Pop Change||# Crimes||# Banks|
|US Average||$ 50,185||211.7 index|
|Fort Thomas||16,495||$ 60,658||5.67||2744||89%||37%||57%||-24%||173||7|
|Hudson, OH||22,439||$ 103,000||25.6||902||97%||67%||73%||19%||262||10|
|Milford, OH||6,284||$ 39,000||3.76||1681||78%||24%||50%||10%||328||12|
|Mariemount, OH||3,408||$ 61,800||0.85||3657||94%||64%||60%||49||2|
I would love to hear any ideas from you about how we can jump start this visioning process to allow others in the community to dream of creating a destination retail area for Fort Thomas residents.