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Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Importance of NKU to Fort Thomas

When I have read or engaged in discussions of why Fort Thomas is great the conversation usually comes around to the schools, safety, location, or housing.  But there is one overlooked factor that I think deserves a little additional attention - the role of Northern Kentucky University as our neighbor.

This role in Fort Thomas' success and possible future success was highlighted in my mind over the past couple weeks as I read articles like this one in the Louisville Business Journal about NKU's imminent move to Division 1 next year.

Some of the ways that Fort Thomas gets the benefit of its proximity to NKU include:

  1. Students attract retail business like the new development where I-471 becomes US27.  Having a Chipotle, Jimmy Johns, and Smashburger would likely only be possible due to its proximity to a University.
  2. Faculty and students move here.  Enrollment at NKU is 16,000 but the campus can only accomodate 2,000 students.  This means undergrads are forced to look at off-campus housing if they want to be near the university.  Fort Thomas is a prime location for students to look at and even more appealing for professors.
  3. Supports housing and rental pricing to have a base of residents locked in.   A recent study by had this to say about college towns - "Housing demand in college towns is generally high and vacancy rates are usually low. Combine the supply and demand ratio with rising admissions and the 5 percent rise in rental rates expected by the end of the year"
  4. New Bank of Ky Center means we have even more entertainment options at our disposal since it opened we have had River Monsters arena league football, Paul Simon, Trace Adkins, and Cirque du Soleil to name just a few
  5. Access to higher education.  It is nice to have the option to go down the street and get access to summer school for students that are home for the summer, or the retiree who may want to audit a class for the fun of it.
All of these benefits are only enhanced as NKU takes the leap to Division 1.  Enrollment has been increasing as standards have been strengthened, the campus has been transformed, and its reputation grows.  Going to Division 1 in athletics only increases the reach and appeal of the University and that can only be a good thing for Fort Thomas.

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