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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Restaurant in Fort Thomas - Pergola's

This was the sight earlier today as the old Warner's location was being transformed into the latest restaurant in Fort Thomas. The sign hanging on the outside lists the restaurant name as Pergola's and from the news I am hearing may have a bakery or at least breakfast pastries as well as lunch and dinner. There is remnants of wood on the patio that may be forming an actual pergola over the patio. It will be exciting to have another place to eat at - what would you like to see from the new restaurant?

While on the topic of restaurants - I found Sarelli's on Twitter yesterday. I have added their tweets on the right-hand side of the page near the bottom but feel free to become a follower. They are having specials to their followers that could be worth your while.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sanitation District 1's 20 Year Plan & Fort Thomas

You may have seen recent stories about Sanitation District 1's $450 million 20 year plan. It feels a bit overwhelming when you think of the dollars involved but I thought it could be good to give a brief summary of the plan's impacts in Fort Thomas. Sanitation District 1 has published the plan, all 148 pages, online and I thought I would point out a few items that are of interest to Fort Thomas.

  1. System-wide Green Projects (Section 7.2.2 - page 46) For those interested in implementing some green techniques at your home SD1 provides Rain Barrels or "Raintainers" for $125. They have distributed over 170 of these containers since the program started. Other green options included in the plan are incentives for creating a "Green Roof". The plan is described as
    Based on this evaluation, SD1 will develop an incentive program that will reimburse building owners in the combined system a portion of the cost to construct a vegetated roof based on the amount of storm water removed from the CSS. The subsidy will be based on anticipated benefits to SD1.
    Lastly, SD1 also plans an "Urban Reforestation Program" which is described as
    Based on the estimated benefits that trees provide to SD1 and the community, SD1 is allocating funds annually to promote and enhance tree planting programs throughout the community, with a focus on the combined sewer system. The program will include financial assistance to a variety of programs ranging from sapling give-aways to cost sharing in urban streetscape programs.
    I would like to see Fort Thomas and its organizations take advantage of this, perhaps it could cut down on a small portion of the tax payer dollars required to enhance the Midway street scape.
  2. Licking River Siphon Sewarshed (Section 7.3.5, page 79) - I am no geologist or hydrological engineer but what I can glean from this section is that there can be significant backups of runoff from this area into the Licking. This area encompasses a fairly significant portion of central and south Ft Thomas. I will leave my summary of this section at that and move on to specifics in the following points....
  3. Vernon Lane (Section 7.3.7, page 81) - the report characterizes the area as 'a significant public health risk'. The report goes on to say:
    SD1 therefore conducted detailed public and private smoke and dye testing. The testing revealed a significant number of public and private sources of inflow and infiltration (I/I). The picture below shows properties with area tied to the sanitary sewer in color. The shade of the color correlates to the estimated drainage area tributary to the sanitary sewer. The darker the color the greater amount of area tied into the sanitary sewers. The stars represent locations where indirect cross-connections between the storm and sanitary sewers were identified. Considering the clear objectives laid out by SD1, the most beneficial action in the first five years is to conduct public and private I/I removal activities in the Vernon Lane Priority Area with the goal of eliminating the two public health risk recurring SSOs in a typical year.
  4. Taylor Creek Priority Area (Section 7.4.4, page 101) - this encompasses a major part of Bellevue and North Fort Thomas. Some of the current projects in place that will benefit this plan include: The Donnermeyer sewer improvements (will reduce basement flooding along Covert Run), The Newport Pavilion development, and the Bellevue Relief Sewer (should eliminate basement flooding along Waterworks)
These actions taken together should have a positive impact on Fort Thomas and the ground and water quality of the city's environment.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why I Am Excited About the Future of the Midway

The more I think about the prospects of the Midway the more excited I get. We are just a few short months away from some serious momentum. Lets take a quick inventory of some of the important changes that are imminent in a very short space:
  1. Nevada Building purchase & redevelopment
  2. Tower Homes
  3. Farmer's Market
  4. Street scape
  5. Amphitheater leveling
Suggestions to not only continue the momentum but speed it up include:
  1. Website for the farmers market. We need information and now. How can someone become a vendor? We need ambassadors to spread the word to potential vendors this includes artisans so it becomes a destination and builds off of positive buzz. Serious kudos on the building and location. This has the potential of being a unique location but you have to fill the building with shopping options.
  2. Tower Homes must be sold to serious buyers who can afford to quickly turn the homes around and get residents in them today
  3. Street scape changes should have happened yesterday. The worst thing that can happen is to get some momentum and then have construction drag on and prevent people from shopping at the existing and new places
  4. Finish the amphitheater and get some serious programming before the summer is over. We need weekly family movies, some Shakespeare in the park, and live bands. Again, a website would be helpful for citizens to suggest events. The amphitheater needs a dedicated volunteer management team to ensure programming. This will provide some much needed traffic for the area merchants. Coordinate the timing of these events with the hours of operation of the Farmer's market.
Any other thoughts or ideas? We have a serious shot to change the complexion of our community, lets make the most of it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ft Thomas Real Estate Market Update

I received the latest Robinson Realty email today and they indicate 14 home sales in Fort Thomas in April. This is the most in months as it has been averaging 9/month. These numbers were generally confirmed by Your Town Realty's new data tool. It is difficult to determine whether this is a typical seasonal bump or a real improvement in the market. The average sales price is a little low potentially indicating some distressed sales (I noticed 1 sale at $35,000). Most people I have spoken with lately have seen some encouraging signs with an increase in first time buyers. Zillow is also indicating that prices are holding up well in Fort Thomas.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Updated Location - Farmers Market in the Midway

UPDATED LOCATION - It's in front of the Stables Building--where we had Merchants & Music last year. You can turn in at the parking lot in front of the Pub. The stables building is on your right along River Road. It's brick and has boarded up windows. The city is working on a swap with the Army for the building.

The Fort Thomas Renaissance has announced a new farmer's market in the Midway district in the home of the old ceramics shop between the Midway Cafe and Fort Thomas Pub. Our family is a big fan of Findlay Market on Saturdays and we hope to use this as a mid-week shopping trip if we miss Findlay or need additional items.

Here is the announcement:

Earth Mother Market is a group of certified organic and certified naturally grown farmers who will be selling their products each Wednesday beginning May 20 from 3:00-7:00 p.m.. The Market will be held at the Stables Building at 1038 S. Fort Thomas Avenue, between River Road and the VA Nursing Home in the Historic Midway District. Rain or shine, the Market will be open.

Some of the items for sale at the grand opening will be eggs, salad greens, Swiss chard, vegetable plants, perennial bedding plants, herb plants, asparagus, rhubarb, all natural and goat milk soap. As the season progresses, more selection will be available.

Please come check out the market on May 20 and then visit our other businesses in the Historic Midway District.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Vernon Pool Needs Your Help

Many of you may not be familiar with the Vernon Swim Club. No, it is not the Fort Thomas Swim Club with its waiting list of 500 but a small neighborhood swim club that sits in the backyard of Mayor Mary Brown.

This pool has been around for a few years and has offered not only the residents of Vernon Lanes, but surrounding streets as well, a nice respite from the crowded decks of the Fort Thomas YMCA. The club has only 28 members today. Recent Federal laws requiring newer, updated filtration systems as well as drainage systems mean that in order for the pool to stay open they need to completely dig up the old pool and replace it with a new one. Obviously the club does not have enough capital to make this investment today and are raising funds through a bonding program and adding 2 - that's right 2 - new members.

While 2 new members does not seem like a tall hurdle, due to the need for a larger outlay for the bond some existing members are dropping their membership and the club needs as many as 12 by next month to keep going. The initial plans for the new pool calls for an L-shaped pool with an expanded swimming area and a walk-in on the new portion. This will provide more shallow swimming area for the kids. The plan also includes a wrap around deck for more areas to sun.

If anyone is interested in finding out more or would like to sign-up contact Marc Kirschenbaum at 859-322-4565.