Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Fort Thomas will not be Stockton, CA (BANKRUPT)


By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Reporter

Stories about cities going bankrupt have grown more common in the news over the past couple years.

Cities like Stockton, California and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania among other cities have done that. But City Administrative Officer Don Martin said Fort Thomas is not in that boat, nor is he aware of any other cities in Kentucky that are.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

One Set of Five (Things To Know): Fit Philosophie


One of the most popular new businesses in Fort Thomas is Jennifer Lynn’s FIT PHILOSOPHIE.  The studio located at 911 North Fort Thomas Avenue has had packed classes for months helping people achieve their fitness goals.  If their bustling business is not enough to sell you, Fit Philosophie was the winner of the 2013 Fort Thomas Matters Best Business Bracket!  As Jennifer’s studio continues to dominate the fitness scene I had to reach out to her for the next installment of “Five Things to Know”.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5 Simple Rules to Sharing the Roads in NKY


By Pat Lafleur
FortThomasMatters City Beat



Like any Kentucky-grown boy on Memorial Day, I took this long weekend as a chance to be outside as much as possible. For me and -- to my delight -- for many others, this meant riding my bike all over Kenton and Campbell counties. By Saturday evening, I’d lost count at around 50 other people I’d passed on a bike in NKY. This is great.

Alongside increased outdoor activity this weekend, though, Memorial Day often brings with it increased auto traffic, many vehicles hauling boats, trailers, campers, or some other cargo. On top of these new rolling hazards, the increase in auto traffic inevitably yields a proportional increase in hostility from drivers aimed at cyclists.

While cyclist-aimed hostility is not a new phenomenon by any means, I thought I’d take this opportunity to outline what I see as 5 simple rules that cyclists and drivers alike must follow in order to maintain harmony on NKY’s roadways:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fort Thomas 'Yard of the Month' - Brought to you by Fort Thomas Florist



Fort Thomas is known as "The City of Beautiful Homes." It only makes sense that the yards leading up to those homes are just as pretty. Ft Thomas Florist has been helping Ft. Thomas yards look lavish, lively and lush for over 80 years. Truly a staple within our community, FortThomasMatters is ecstatic to partner with Ft Thomas Florist to bring our community a new crowned jewel. 

We are hoping the Fort Thomas Yard of the Month will be something that residents will love and look forward to every 1st of the month for years to come.

The first winner will be announced June 1st of this year. To be nominated for Yard of the Month, go to the Ft Thomas Florist Facebook page, email them at fortthomasflorist@gmail.com, or mention them to the Ft. Thomas Florist staff.

Winners will receive:

  • A gorgeous sign to proudly boast their yard is the Fort Thomas Yard of the Month
  • A Ft. Thomas Florist gift card
  • Recognition on Fort Thomas Matters and in Fort Thomas Living Magazine

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Street Class: The Haunting of Highland Avenue


Ft. Thomas is known for many things - beautiful homes, an excellent school system, and great sports teams. However, there's a little more to Ft. Thomas than meets the eye. Just ask longtime resident Jill Weitkamp, who currently lives on Highland Avenue. She's had paranormal activity in two homes on Highland Avenue, and one home on Bonnie Lane. 

After at least twenty years of investigating ghosts in the area, Weitkamp is now in the beginning stages of writing a book about hauntings in Ft. Thomas. She hopes the book will be completed in the next 18 months, and is currently collecting stories from Ft. Thomas residents about their own ghostly encounters. "I have talked to several people who have shared some incredible stories with me so far. Some have asked that I not disclose the house location, and I won't. Others have had paranormal experiences outside of Kentucky, but I am sharing their stories as well." Weitkamp's hauntings and the stories of other Ft. Thomas hauntings inspired her to start writing the book. "Fort Thomas is an old city with a rich history and I have had people tell me stories before about their homes," said Weitkamp.

Friday, May 24, 2013

FortThomasMatters: Put Your Money Where Your Home Is!

VAN DAMME IT'S FRIDAY!

I think a key to any successful business is the ability to evolve. I'm not talking about changing overnight, but dexterity in thinking is crucial to be able to adapt to our ever changing society. I believe that is one of our strengths of FortThomasMatters.

We are a completely different organization from where we started in 2007 to where we are today. From a sounding board to help run for City Council, to a fledgeling opinion site, to a legitimate news organization with a staff of 7 writers, to a charitable arm of giving, to a dynamic Public Relations team for our advertisers.

Today marks the day of another change. A sustained champion for a SHOP FORT THOMAS campaign. 


There have been well-intentioned attempts at these campaigns before. The Fort Thomas Business Association and the City of Fort Thomas partnered together to spend time and money on their SHOP Fort Thomas campaign. It was basically a website provided by another company that was linked on both of the websites, with specials/deals/coupons from local businesses.

The problem was that the company running the site was not local. The FTBA and the City had the right idea, they just did not have the platform to make it go.

With our readership at 40,000 per month strong and now a platform in The Fort Thomas Living, we obviously do. I almost feel an obligation to our businesses, our business owners and our city to bust my tail to learn what it takes to evolve into a SHOP LOCAL Champion.

There are many in depth studies that demonstrate the power of SHOP LOCAL. In an effort to keep your attention, I'll list those below for your perusal and simply do my best to tell you the best three reasons to consider SHOP FORT THOMAS:

1) Keeping our money here keeps our money here. I know that sounds redundant, but it doesn't make it any less true. Tax revenues from these businesses allows our officials to keep our city clean, safe and beautiful. Getting Fort Thomas out of the mind set to driving to Cincinnati, Newport or Covington for what they can get in town is going to be a tough endeavor, but a worthwhile one.

2) Buy LOCAL campaigns WORK!

 3. We have undertaken a cash mob at The Blue Marble and talked about Small Business Saturday on FTM over the last few years. But this SHOP FORT THOMAS campaign has to be more sustained. Independents Week starts the first week in July. My pledge to our readers, our city and our advertisers is to get something in place by then.



This SHOP FORT THOMAS campaign becomes more important with the retailers moving in right down the road at Newport Pavilion. I'm as excited as anyone over the developments down Grand Ave and onto Carothers Road. But the fact of the matters is this:

If we can get Fort Thomas residents to just start to think Fort Thomas before getting in their car and going elsewhere, our city will be even greater than it already is.

Panera Bread Co. coming to the Pavilion is being met with great optimism. But how many residents have been into Cobblestone Cafe? It's packed everyday because it's unbelievably good. But if we can begin to start to shift our thinking to think Cobblestone over Panera first - THAT'S OUR GOAL.

A small shift, but an important one. It simply means more to Fort Thomas than national chains. Because I learn from pictures more than words, I'll leave you with one more about how much more it means to a local shop and its city, compared to a chain store.


We can do this Fort Thomas!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Highlands Legend, Walz-Richey: "Relationships Over Awards"


By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The honors for her great playing career may continue to trickle in 17 years after the amazing career ended.

Jaime Walz-Richey just received induction into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. But above anything else, the 35-year-old wants to be known as “a very caring person.”

That’s why Walz-Richey said coaching is tough sometimes. Her older brother Jeff Walz said virtually the same thing weeks ago. Walz is the head coach of the University of Louisville women’s basketball team.

Street Class: Rollergirl on Riverview Avenue



Christina Kuhnhein is a typical Ft. Thomas mom by day. After she leaves her job as a Client Relationship Manager for Paycor, she picks up her children from school, helps with homework, and prepares dinner. By night, she transforms into Ruthless Chris. 

Ruthless Chris is a member of the Cincinnati Rollergirls roller derby team. According to the Rollergirls website, "The Cincinnati Rollergirls, the area’s first all-female, amateur, flat track roller derby team." As of April 2013, the Women's Flat Track Derby Association ranks the Cincinnati Rollergirls 34th out of 155 teams worldwide. 

Fallen Veteran, Michael Bradford Memorial Info

Michael Bradford and his wife, Sasha. Photo courtesy Facebook. 

The details about Michael's Memorial are starting to come in after news broke last Thursday night about his death in Afghanistan. 

Via his wife, Sasha, "I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be coming home with Michael tomorrow night. His Memorial Service will be Friday May 24th, at the Fort Thomas Mess Hall from 4 P.M. - 7:30 P.M. Following will be a dedication and wake."

Bikers for Veterans: 2013 Rolling Thunder (Video Included)



The Fort Thomas Independent Schools participated in an event, The 2013 Rolling Thunder, observing war veterans.

Green Thumbs Unite!


Usually I would not encourage our readers to congregate in stranger’s yards and loiter in their gardens, but on June 22 there will be an opportunity to enjoy this city’s most beautiful gardens.  The fourth annual Fort Thomas Garden Tour will be upon us in one month.  The tour will take place on June 22 from 10-5, and June 23 from 12-5. 

The specific gardens included in the tour will be revealed the day of the tour, but you can purchase tickets early at the Bank of Kentucky, Ft. Thomas Florist, or here.



The price for tickets is $15 the day of the event (for every ticket), or you can purchase tickets in advance and your first ticket is $15 and every subsequent ticket is only $10.

The Fort Thomas Garden Tour benefits the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy’s efforts to preserve and protect the wooded areas of the city.



There will be vendors in Tower Park during the event selling garden d├ęcor, art, and jewelry.  Tower Park will also be where the perennial swap will take place.

The Fort Thomas Garden Tour is a fantastic event for the city, but Stephanie Graves, the organizer for the tour, advised me that they are in desperate need of volunteers.  They are looking for 40 “garden greeters” to work in pairs, welcoming ticket holding guests at the featured gardens in 2 ½ hour shifts.  The Garden Tour also needs four volunteers to sell tickets on Saturday and Sunday.  If you are interested in participating in the garden tour you are encouraged to contact Stephanie Graves at smeadegraves@gmail.com or call her at 859-441-6235.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ft. Thomas City Council Notes (How to Handle the Imperial Apartments)


By Pat Lafleur, 
FortThomasMatters City Beat 

This week’s City Council meeting showed the first Ft. Thomas resident to address council since I began covering these meetings months ago:

Mrs. Andrea Patrick, who lives on N. Crescent, addressed council regarding the Imperial Apartments complex located at the intersection of S. Ft. Thomas Ave. and Grand Ave. Mrs. Patrick described a variety of disturbances by tenants of Imperial Apts. she claims have been ongoing for the 4 years she and her family -- a husband and two young sons, all present at the meeting -- has lived in the neighborhood. Mrs. Patrick described the apartment complex and its tenants as a “public nuisance.”

After Council had heard Mrs. Patrick’s testimony, Mayor Mary Brown deferred to FTPD Chief Michael Daly, who confirmed that increased police patrolling has been implemented around the property before, to only temporary effect. According to the Patricks’ count, the FTPD and FTFD have responded to the apartment complex over 200 times in the last four years.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lovell's LOVE Harwood Flooring

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Mama on a Budget here to announce that the Fort Thomas Matters family is expanding!  Wait, what was that husband?  Oh, no… not in that way.  I mean our advertising family (what am I, crazy?).  Lovell’s Hardwood is the latest locally owned and operated business to realize the power of local advertising. 

Now, to introduce them.  Owned and operated by Robert (Bobby) Lovell and his Father Al Lovell and family, they are a hardwood flooring specialist located along South Fort Thomas Ave in the Midway District.   Their specialty is hardwood floors. They not only lay new flooring but also they repair, sand, and refinish existing flooring including any necessary demolition.   With so many old homes in Fort Thomas with the original (and beautiful) hardwood floors, this is a useful contact to have.   Additionally, they are Better Business Bureau A+ rated and they do all of the work themselves (no sub-contracting, so what you see is what you get).

Their showrooms are open daily by appointment for customers to stop in and check out some of the different flooring types, sizes, colors and finishes or to check out pictures of different projects that they have completed.

Find out more on their website at http://www.lovellshardwood.com/ or by contacting them per the below:
  Office: (859) 240-2611
Showroom: 1029 S. Ft. Thomas Ave. * Ft. Thomas, KY 41075
Office Hours: Mon. thru Sat. - 9:00AM to 6:00PM

Per Bobby:  “This summer we are offering free DUST FREE SANDING upgrade specials to any customer who mentions any Ft. Thomas Ads (including Ft. Thomas Matters) at the time of their initial quotes. This saves our customers hundreds of dollars!”

So, join me in welcoming Lovell Hardwood to the FTM family and support locally-owned and operated (family) businesses. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Taken Too Early


A military convoy was the target of a suicide bomber in the Afghan capital of Kabul yesterday. The blast resulted in the death of two U.S. soldiers, four civilian contractors and nine Afghan civilians (including two children). An Islamic militant group, Hezb-e-Islami claimed responsibility for the attack.

This tragic event directly affects Fort Thomas. A Highlands High School graduate was one of the U.S. soldiers who lost their lives. 

Brandon Phillips Moving to Fort Thomas

@DatDudeBP is Brandon Phillips Twitter handle. To see my "interview" with @DatDudeBP, follow me @MLorenCollier

VAN DAMME IT'S FRIDAY!

- Well, it's already updated on the Ft. Thomas, Ky Wikipedia page, so it has to be true. Cincinnati Reds Second Basemen, Brandon Phillips, is moving to Fort Thomas. 

I hinted to the news last Wednesday and had heard before that that Phillips was interested in a Ft. Thomas home. Professional athletes generally try to stay in short-term leases. It's simply a reality of their business that they change addresses and cities more than most.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

S. Ft. Thomas Ave Tire Slasher Just Random Mischief-Maker

By Pat LaFleur
FortThomasMatters City Beat
 
FTM received a report from a Ft. Thomas resident this past weekend that their and 5 of their neighbors car tires had been slashed at some point over Saturday night/Sunday morning. A call to FTPD Lt. Richard Whitford confirmed that a total of 5 cars’ tires had been slashed along S. Ft. Thomas Ave.
 
There is no evidence to suggest that this was a pre-meditated or organized in any fashion, and no motive has been identified, Lt. Whitford reported. “Sometimes we’re able to learn that these sort of things are done out of malice or because of a grudge between neighbors, but this seems to have been someone just walking down the street, slashing tires.” The vandalism is being regarded as a random act of community mischief. 

Ft. Thomas VA Homes Project: Details You Won't Get Anywhere Else


By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Reporter

Many people know what kind of economic impact this major acquisition from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and refurbishing would mean to the city of Fort Thomas.

The city recently made huge step toward that when City Administrative Official Don Martin drew up a two-year plan memorandum and presented it at a city council meeting in March. The hope is to see the 12.554-acre property in Tower Park that includes five single-family and five duplex homes occupied in the fall of 2015.

“The correspondence between the city and the VA is very professional and courteous,” Martin said. “The VA staff currently assigned to this project seems anxious to see it move forward. The biggest delays are a result of legal reviews at the VA.”

Once the project is completed, Martin and staff estimated property values will run between $6 and $7 Million. That would mean about $24,000 in extra property tax revenue to Fort Thomas and $48,000 in more tax revenue to Fort Thomas Independent Schools. Martin even noted $25,000 in payroll tax revenue could come during the construction process.

It is no secret the value of the property has depreciated over recent years. The property’s appraised value currently runs at $510,000 compared to $2,480,000 on July 25, 2007. The property has devalued by about 80 percent.

The plan noted the $510,000 value did not come via a re-appraisal. The value would be higher if the houses could be torn down, which is not permitted. That reduced the value of the property by $290,000.

The reason the homes can’t be torn down is because the property is included on the “National Register of Historic Places boundaries of the Fort Thomas Military District.” The memorandum noted the agreement between the city, VA and Kentucky Heritage Council “is to ensure the preservation of the historic integrity of the structures by preventing their demolition and applying Architectural Guideline for their preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of the exteriors of the buildings.” The memo said no restrictions came regarding renovating the interiors of the homes.

Martin and staff put together an estimated minimum bid of $903, 512 as compared to the previous minimum bid of $1,595,000 that did not result in any bids back in April, 2011. The deadline for those first bids was June 24, 2011. The memo said the city does not have to buy the property if it can’t find a purchaser.

The costs are broken down four ways. After the appraised value, the VA Administrative costs are estimated at $166,712 with the removal of hazardous materials estimated at $126,800 and $100,000 in the city’s administrative costs.

The city recently approved the documents and the signed Memorandum of Agreement was sent to the VA. The VA gave an estimated return of 90 to 180 days to approve the document. Once returned, the memo said the VA will let the city, possible bidder and subcontractors access to the buildings to be able to look for ways to execute their bid.

The memo also said the successful bidder must also execute additional steps. That includes communicating with utility companies facilities for things like water, gas and phone use.

Martin did note that the city will keep a part of the property as “park property.” That area is the center lawn area, behind the houses and the hill looking toward the river.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2013 Grand Gala to Benefit HHS Renovation


The Fort Thomas Education Foundation is hosting the 2013 Grand Gala on Thursday, May 30th.  This event is a fantastic night out, but this year is particularly special because the proceeds from the gala benefit the third phase of the Highlands High School renovation.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Alt. Rte. Get Downtown For National Bike Month


By Pat Lafleur,
FortThomasMatters City Beat 

For us pedal-pushers, May is the most wonderful time of the year. That’s because -- all across the nation -- May is National Bike Month, and around the Queen City the celebration is in full swing.

This Friday, May 17, is a day of particular pomp for Porkopolis pedalers because it marks the national celebration of Bike to Work Day, one of Bike Month’s most anticipated and participated events. The idea behind Bike to Work Day is pretty self-explanatory, but the real fun happens at lunch time, between 12 and 1 PM, at  Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.

Think of it as a big family picnic for bike-lovers around Cincy, sharing a meal under the shade of the Washington Park trees. Folks are encouraged to pack their lunch, but if that’s not an option for you, Park + Vine will be selling boxed lunches for the duration of the event. There will also be supplies provided for bike decorating.

In honor of Bike to Work Day -- and this month’s slew of bike activities downtown in general --  this issue’s Alt. Rt. will provide instruction for pedaling from Fort Thomas to Washington Park. Aside from Bike to Work Day, Washington Park has multiple activities going on every week and also sits next to Music Hall.

BIKE* ROUTE: From Ft. Thomas to Washington Park (OTR)

*These instructions are only meant for those who feel comfortable riding a bike on the road with auto traffic (as the law requires), and who take proper safety precautions (including helmet, and lights if at night). The notes and ratings for the route are intended for those with little in the way of gear or gadgets.



1. Take Highland Ave. west toward Grand.
2. Make a right onto Grand Ave., heading north toward Newport. (Previous Rt. Thru Ft. Thomas/Newport)
3. Pass under I-471 overpass.
4. Make right into Newport Pavilion. Take the roadway (or CAREFULLY ride through the shopping center parking lots) toward the 10th St. exit.
5. Make left onto 10th St.
6. From 10th St., make right onto Washington Ave.
7.  Make left onto 3rd St.
8.  Take Purple People Bridge into Downtown.
9.  Turn left onto Pete Rose Way.
10.           Make right onto Broadway.
11.           Make left onto 9th St.
12.          Make right onto Vine St.
13.           Make left onto 13th St.
14.           13th St. dead ends into Washington Park.


Bike-Friendliness Breakdown

GREEN:
 
  The ride down Highland Ave. to Grand is simple. Watch for cars parked along the curbs, but don't worry about traffic (except around PM rush hour). Cars hold around 25-30 mph, and are usually light in density. Tolerance of bicyclists on the road is high, although Highland does collect a bit of debris and is in need of repaving.
 
  The same is true in the Newport Pavilion, although beware of parking lot (i.e. erratic) driving patterns. Take the road for a more straight-forward, better paved, and finished thoroughfare.

  Riding through Newport is easy-going, especially on Washington Ave. until the 4th St. bridge. The gridded layout of one-ways allows for predictable traffic patterns, and traffic on Washington is usually light. You will also probably see fellow bikers through Newport.

   The Purple People Bridge -- easily the bike-friendliest bridge between Downtown and NKY -- is divided into two parts. Coming from Newport, you’ll want to remain on the primary, 2-lane path, passing pedestrians carefully and alerting them to your presence.

   Pete Rose Way, while sometimes moderately filled with traffic, is fairly laid back in pace. Keep an eye for traffic flow and minor hazards/debris in the road. The same goes for the whole of 9th St. 13th St. presents less-maintained pavement, but has very light traffic.

YELLOW:
 
  The ride down Grand Ave. into Newport can feel more intimidating than necessary because of its downhill angle. You'll want to finesse your brakes down this hill, while still being mindful not to obstruct traffic. Cars will be moving between 40-50 mph here, especially north of the I-471 overpass. Debris density and pavement roughness are more intense here. Keep a balanced watch on traffic and road hazards.
  
  Up 10th St. from Newport Pavilion to Washington Ave. is deceptively steep, so shift accordingly (as your bike will allow) right out of the shopping center. There is also very little shoulder.

  The initial stretch of Broadway can present a challenge for multiple reasons. First, the incline up from Pete Rose Way to 4th St. is significant. That paired with Broadway’s intersection with an off-ramp from U.S. 50 onto 3rd St., caution should be practiced.

  Vine St. only flags yellow because of the consistent density of traffic flow. Also, mind Vine’s intersection with Central Parkway. Busy, busy, busy. Follow all traffic signals and you’ll be golden.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mama on a Budget: YMCA Summer Activities


Family Movie Night at the YMCA

"Carl Frederickson:  Hey, let's play a game. It's called 'See Who Can Be Quiet the Longest'.
Russell: Cool! My mom loves that game!"                                           -Disney's UP

If you’re in desperate need of a long game of “See who can stay quiet the longest” then perhaps a FREE family movie night is just what you need.  On Friday May 24th, the Campbell County YMCA is presenting Disney’s UP (rated G) as the latest in the free family movie series.  The movie will begin at 6:30 in the gymnasium at the YMCA.  It will be presented on the big screen and popcorn will be provided for all in attendance.  Best part (besides that it is free) is that it is open to the public so you do not have to be a member to come. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lost Dog in Ft. Thomas Area - Help!

I don't care that this isn't news. This stuff breaks my heart. If I can blast it out in any way, I have to try.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

2013 Best of NKY - And the Nominees Are!


Fort Thomas Matters is dedicated to promoting and celebrating local businesses any way we can.  It is especially nice when other news sources acknowledge what all of us already know, how great our businesses truly are.

NKY.com has released their ballot for "Best of Northern Kentucky".  They break down businesses in Northern Kentucky into 65 categories, and a couple of our local businesses made the list!

The Future of The Ft. Thomas Plaza

2013: The Current State of Affairs at Ft. Thomas Plaza







File photo from the Myers Y. Cooper website. Ft. Thomas Jewelers was not yet here, which means this photo is at least 8 years old.


The Ft. Thomas Plaza was built in 1989.  Property stalwarts like Drug Emporium carried the Plaza through its infancy. The likes of Jeff Wyler and Pannell Swim Shop led the way into its next phase as the Plaza had almost a full occupancy. Fort Thomas Jewelers, DEP's and Fischer Homes all had thriving businesses just a short time ago. Now they are all gone or will be gone. 

Now, as the dreary picture above depicts, The Ft. Thomas Plaza is a sad place.   The Myers Y. Cooper Company is the investment developer for the property. Anchor stores seemed to do well at the Plaza, but the smaller retail, restaurants and professional services were overwhelmed by the last economic downturn. Couple that with The Newport Pavilion and The Banks within a 5 mile radius, and The Plaza is in the place it is today.

Shelley Deiters, Leasing Agent for The Ft. Thomas Plaza for Myers Y. Cooper said, "New development in the area is drawing retail attention away from Ft. Thomas Plaza. That being said, we are working hard to find new businesses that will be compatible with other business entering the market that will be an asset to the community. This work takes time and we appreciate the community's interest and concern."


File Photo from Meyers Y. Cooper's website

Randy Cooper, President of Myers Y. Cooper echoed that sentiment "Like many shopping centers, Ft. Thomas Plaza has evolved over time. Originally a neighborhood convenience center with Drug Emporium, What's Next, Phil's Record, Miller Brothers Paints, the "next generation was more regional in focus."

With Fischer Homes, DEPs and Ft. Thomas Jewelers in place, leasing agents for Myers Y. Cooper had anchor stores in place to help fill the vacancies around them.

DEPs left the Plaza to build out a larger space in the old Moore's Hardware Store just South on Alexandria Pike in Fort Thomas. According to Ft. Thomas Jewelers owner, Vince Keairns, who still has his business in The Plaza,  he said the departure of DEPs was"that was the straw that broke the camel's back."

"Myers Y. Cooper is an established company, who obviously does well with their other properties," Keairns said. "Ft. Thomas Plaza must be their lost leader. A needed tax write-off because it just doesn't seem like the effort is there (to bring in new tenants)."

According to the Myers Y. Cooper website, they are the investment developer for 8 total properties.

Keairns went on: "When DEPs and Curves moved out, we had no choice (to move). We're now a jewelry store with no neighbors. If it hadn't been for the dedication of the Fort Thomas Police department who have gone out of their way to ensure our security, we would have left a long time ago."

According to other business owners who did not want to be named, when businesses began to move out, the remaining businesses absorbed the remaining "cam" costs that a fully occupied development would generally have an equal share. "Cam" costs are things like snow removal, blacktop maintenance,  waste removal and miscellaneous taxes. According to these owners, this was at the option of the developer.

Ft. Thomas Jewelers is moving to a brand new location in Cold Spring on July 18th. 

Debbie Buckley, Renaissance Manager for the City of Fort Thomas, is doing all she can to help entice new business to fill the once flourishing Ft. Thomas Plaza.

"Myers Y. Cooper is working hard to bring new business here," she said. "The Ft. Thomas Plaza is a diamond in the rough and a great opportunity for new businesses. You cannot beat the location."

I asked her to give me her sales pitch to new businesses she tries to bring to the Plaza. I was very impressed.

Without hesitation, it starting rolling off her tongue before I finished the question. "It's the halfway point of all Campbell County," she said. "It's the point where people have to make a decision to go South to Florence, or up to Eastgate or Kenwood. It's right off of 471 and the visibility from there cannot be beat."

She also quoted a statistic that the Fort Thomas Plaza is the axis point for the highest alcohol sales in a 15 miles radius. If the Plaza comes back to it's glory, she should get a lot of credit.

So what does all this mean? Where does the Plaza go from here? It's no doubt, going to the Plaza right now is depressing. It's a virtual ghost town. I think Randy Cooper subtly touched on it when he talked about how the Plaza had moved from a neighborhood development to a regional one. In my opinion from talking to those with access, one of the problems is that the developer does not have accurate demographic information to be able to make up-to-date decisions on what to bring into Ft. Thomas Plaza.

The area has changed. I'm not sure the developer has it's finger on the community's pulse.

I have it from high sources that the city was inches away from landing a chain burger-type restaurant. Now, there are high hopes that the Plaza will bring a new development to the city that has not been to Ft. Thomas in my lifetime.

In my opinion, it would work. The City of Fort Thomas is busting its tail to make it work. Now it's time to see if Myers Y. Cooper wants it to work.