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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Renassaince District Making a Push Beyond Streetscape Improvements


I wanted to provide a quick update on efforts by the Renaissance Board in Fort Thomas to get some momentum for the Midway district beyond streetscape efforts that have been under construction for some months now.

2010 Renaissance goals focused on the Midway District include:
  • filling the district with thriving businesses 
  • creating more walking customers 
  • maintaining the businesses we already have.  
Each of the four committees (Design, Promotion, Organization, and Economic Restructuring) will be working on some facet of creating a vibrant business district.  The group has reached out to the Small Business Management program head at NKU for some additional support.  Debbie Buckley, the Renaissance Manager, would also love to hear from you the reader if you have any good ideas - feel free to let her know in the comments section below.


Among the specific development activities that are in process include:
  • A Midway Business District color brochure is being prepared to entice perspective owners with the goal to fill each and every available storefront in 2010.  
  • An application has been submitted for nearly $20,000 in grants through the Main Street program to bring signage to the District as well as signs on I-471.  Grants will be awarded in February.
Debbie indicates that "developing pride in the district is first and foremost in our minds.  We hope to change that mentality and create something that the entire City of Fort Thomas can be proud of and invite friends and family to visit."

"Our new museum is drawing dozens of people--largely from other areas of the tri-state.  Wouldn't it be great for museum workers to point out the district to those patrons and they would also become patrons of our businesses?  We have created the tourism draw--now it's time to create the business district that will entice them to return over and over again."

I do hope we are putting our hope on other draws beyond the museum.  While that may be drawing some traffic I have to think that those biking the trails in Tower Park could be an even bigger draw.  Additionally, upgraded programming at the amphitheater would bring families with children and tie-ins with Midway businesses could be a key part of that strategy.  Continued focus on the Earth Mother Market will also continue to draw people but only as long as they can continue to pull in vendors and expand hours of operation.

I applaud the efforts and it is important to have groups like this that include mostly volunteers and organized by a highly energetic Debbie Buckley that can be the driving force behind positive changes.  Elected officials and the city manager have shown an inability to get these districts moving in the right direction and it is up to the energy of this group and the creativity and connections of those serving on these groups to sustain the momentum.


4 comments:

  1. Darin,
    Please note that the City Administration has been behind this entire Midway District revitalization. It's been a step-by-step project and my part is only the icing. Without the Mayor and City Administrator's support and encouragement, Renaissance couldn't possibly do our job. I am a City employee, hired by the City to do this very kind of work. Please don't forget their importance. They truly want what's best for the City and her citizens.

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  2. Why not a family-focused or children's area? It would tie together the Midway district all they way to Woodfill. We have one of the only, if not the only, children's bookstore in NKY. We have baseball fields, sled riding hills, the children's art academy, a park with an incredible playground, museum with NKY military history, biking and walking trails. Families can stop at Southside for SpongeBob popsicles and sandwiches or Sarellis for smoothies and sandwiches. I think there is a great opportunity here with the right marketing.

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  3. Sandra - great idea. I think this fits with the community's focus on education, family, and children. The Holiday Walk supports this vision as well. The dance and gymnastics studio is also complimentary. Family movie nights at the Amphitheater would also support this vision. Without a doubt the district needs an identity. This has worked very well for other small towns such as Milford and Newport with their outdoor and fitness themes.

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  4. Some benches on south end of town would be nice... When our son was little we would occasionally walk to South Side for ice cream, but there was no place to sit to enjoy the ice cream.

    Now, my husband and I go to Schneiders in Bellevue several times each summer and window shop while we eat. The variety of shops there make it interesting to walk through the area. Sadly, Fort Thomas is not there yet. In the Midway district there is only one shop and the Blue Marble. Uptown, not much better, just Marshall Granger's and Three French Hens. I know that many of the businesses have been there for years, but dentists and insurance companies don't generate much walk-in traffic.

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