Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Please Complete a Survey for Vision 2015

Vision 2015 has published a survey on their website to gather feedback on communities in Northern Kentucky. It doesn't take long to complete and can be valuable input into regional planning. Please make your voice heard and be counted - spend a few minutes to complete.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Devou - Not the First Urban Mountain Bike Trails in Cincinnati

I enjoy reading the weekly alternative media outlet in Cincinnati - Soapbox Media. It is a great weekly news source dedicated to providing positive coverage of development and business related news.

With that being said, I have to disagree with their headline from today's issue - "First urban mountain bike trails coming to Devou - March 28th". Has no one outside of Fort Thomas and devoted mountain bikers ever heard of Tower Park and the great world class trails that exist there? I am not sure what the definition of urban is but I believe Fort Thomas would qualify and is about the same distance from downtown as Devou.

Now this would seem like a petty argument to have but this article comes on the heels of another article from Soapbox last week regarding the Riverfront Commons development. For those of you not familiar with the vision of Riverfront Commons - it is a multi-use trail linking Northern Kentucky's river cities and offering connections to Cincinnati via the Purple People Bridge, to the proposed Licking River Greenway, and to the Boone County park system. This article focuses on Southbank's efforts to secure stimulus funding to complete the vision.

What I found astounding is that despite the fact that Fort Thomas is represented on the Southbank board (both with Mary Brown's representation as well as Roger Peterman's participation as head of the Riverfront Common's subcommittee) it is not represented in the plan. Fort Thomas is definitely a river city and outside of Devou has one of the crown jewel parks of any of the cities represented in the group. Yet somehow there is no plan to link Tower Park or Fort Thomas to the larger vision. Can anyone shed some light on how this is possible?

Friday, March 6, 2009

How is Fort Thomas Faring in the Current Recession?

It has been a long winter in the country as we have seen the credit markets seize, bailouts, and massive layoffs and it is always good to take a pulse in the community. I know a few Ft Thomas residents personally who have felt the pinch but I thought I would offer a few data points.

1. The first is the job market. We have all seen the headlines of soaring unemployment rates and a slug of downsizings. The Enquirer published a special report with unemployment filings by county / zip code. In addition to showing that this downturn is widespread and hits all socioeconomic groups it shows its impact on Fort Thomas. The report indicates that there were 265 new claims in Fort Thomas in 2008. While this data partially reflects the true impact a big part of the job losses have occurred in January and February which the report does not count.

2. The second data point is the housing market. Sandi West at Your Town Realtors has added a new feature to her website that has some detailed housing statistics on the housing market in Fort Thomas. According to the stats on the site there have been 24 home sales in the past 3 months, and 9 in the past month. These are not exactly indicators of a hot market but given the size of the market and depth of the current credit crisis I would say not all that bad. Looking at the data definitely shows the impact of REO properties as there are a few properties both sold and listed in the 50K - 60K range that are dragging down the average sales price.

These data points taken by themselves do not provide a great picture of where Ft Thomas stands but when compared to previous periods it indicates some tougher times than what we have seen recently. The unemployment numbers are up 62% for Ft Thomas over the previous December. Additionally, as a comparison of the housing data and according to city-data.com this is far below the historical sales data of past quarters. The data shown on this site indicates that it was this low in Q2 2003 as the country was coming out of the post 9-11 recession.