Monday, August 31, 2009

Fort Thomas Housing Market Update


While the graphic above may look abysmal there is some rays of light in the Fort Thomas housing market. July housing stats show a huge turnaround locally with 25 sales in July and another 21 in August at an average sale price of nearly $230,000 and $215,000 respectively. This is an amazing rebound for only 28 sales in the entire second quarter. Median prices have also held up well in the $175,000 range which seems to indicate that our area has managed to avoid many of the REO fire sales that has depressed prices in other neighboring communities.

Census & Fort Thomas

There has been a lot of stories in the past few years about the census and its impact on funding at both the federal and state level. A high profile example has come from across the river as Mayor Mallory has successfully challenged census estimates in the past. A recent article in Soapbox indicates that the city of Cincinnati is taking that challenge even further this coming year as a full census count is approaching.

This brings up an important question for Fort Thomas that I have actually heard a lot - even during my unsuccessful run for City Council - 'How is the population of Fort Thomas shrinking?' This question comes from seeing new condos, Fisher Homes neighborhoods, apartments, and multitude of flag lots sprouting across the city over the past 10 years - yet the population has steadily declined. On top of housing our elementary, middle, and high schools are more crowded than ever.

To illustrate this paradox see the following chart:


While I doubt a concerted effort around an effective count would yield quite the results that a concerted effort had in Cincinnati - perhaps it is time to put a bit more emphasis on a correct count. While it may not yield a lot of additional funding it could have an impact on decisions by retailers or others on locating their business in our great community.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kroger Marketplace at Newport Pavilion Opening First Week in October

8/24 UPDATE: Just heard from the Kroger's Consumer Affairs group and it is now confirmed - opening in the first week in October.

The latest word on the new Kroger at Newport Pavilion is an opening date some time in September but an official grand opening date has not been scheduled. Some additional details about the new Kroger location includes:

1. A new concept for Kroger called a chippery. The chippery is a station where customers can have potato chips made, fresh and before their eyes, while they wait.

2. The grocery department will include a dine-in bistro with an on-staff chef and a custom sandwich bar, a meat and seafood section with a grilling station and dry-aged beef, and a self-serve bread slicer in the bakery.

3. The deli will include an olive bar and cheese shop, hot soup and sushi.

4. A spirit shop selling goods from the local schools.

I am particularly excited about the last item as I have always been interested in purchasing Highlands gear but do not have a child in school yet. Hopefully it brings in some additional revenue for Highlands and surrounding schools.

It appears that with all the recent headlines related to Bear Creek Capital over the weekend (front page articles in both the Enquirer and Business Courier) it hasn't affected the Kroger opening but one has to wonder if Target's delays and recent poor sales will have an effect on the rest of the development.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Historic Marker for Evergreen Cemetery - Your Help Needed

There is a group of people working to establish a new historic marker at the Evergreen Cemetery. The group has currently raised $1,000 but needs your help to raise an additional $1,400 to make the marker happen. The group has also received approval from the KY Historic Marker Commission (yes this is apparently a real group that approves historic markers) and they just need your help.

Check should be written to John Hayden Atty Trust Account--with Evergreen Marker in the memo space. (any amount appreciated!). Contributions should be mailed to Paul Whalen at PO Box 22; Fort Thomas, KY 41075.

The marker will have the following text:

Congressmen Buried At Evergreen
Four US Congressmen from Newport are buried here.
John Woolston Tibbatts represented NKY as a Democrat in Congress from 1843-1847. He sponsored the legislation to annex Texas. After voting to declare war on Mexico, he enlisted as Colonel and fought in Mexico.

Thomas Lauren Jones practiced law in Newport and served in Congress from 1867-1871 and 1875-77. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for KY Governor in 1883.


Albert S. Berry, “The Tall Sycamore of the Licking" was Mayor of Newport prior to election to Congress. He served from 1893-1901. After leaving Congress, he served as Circuit Judge.


Brent Spence
was a lawyer and banker prior to representing the area in Congress from 1931 to 1963 . He chaired the House Banking and Currency Committee for 15 of 20 years from 1943-1963.


A member of the Confederate Congress is buried at Evergreen; George Baird Hodge elected to represent the area in the Confederate Congress in 1862. He simultaneously served as a colonel in the Confederate Army. After the war, he served in the KY legislature 1873-1877.