|Mayor Eric Haas leads a white-board brainstorming session before the regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday. FTM file.|
Fort Thomas began planning for the long-term on Monday night as Mayor Eric Haas met with City Administrator Ron Dill and city council members in a long-term planning session, with the goal of creating a vision for enhancing the city.
“We have done a lot in the city the past several years,” Haas said. “We just think it’s time to revitalize and plan again. I just wanted to give council first the opportunity to brainstorm ideas.”
Haas says there is no timetable on finishing the project and that it would be an ongoing process.
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One of the biggest projects that was discussed is the use of the Mess Hall and possibly getting more use out of the building.
The Mess Hall is a historic building in Tower Park that was built in 1890 by bricks used from a brick yard that was located at what is now Highlands High School. The building was used as an operating Army mess hall for soldiers that would fight in the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.
After its discontinued use, the mess hall has been used as a community center, but is not used as much as the city would like for it to be. The city discussed updating and renovating the mess hall to be more “up-to-date”, while keeping the historic architecture of the building.
Bringing more business to the mess hall is also a priority, including bringing business retreats and “team-building” activities to the mess hall, which would incorporate other ideas that were discussed for other parks, including adding a zip-line and tight ropes course.
Also discussed was the possibility of renovating the Armory building, but Dill was quick to remark of the possible price tag of updating the Armory.
“Just to renovate the Armory would run close to half a million dollars,” Dill said.
Other projects that were discussed in the brainstorming session were a skate park, city-wide yard sale, roundabouts, enhancements to Route 8, and replacing and updating the entrance signs to the city.
Mayor Haas said that the public will be asked to give input in the future towards the long-term planning of the city’s future.
“We will have public meetings to gather input at some point in the process,” Haas said. “I just don’t know when exactly that will be, but we will definitely be including the public in all of this.”
A full list of the brainstorming session (un-edited):
City Wide Yard Sale
Crosswalk enhancements – connectivity
· Update plan
· Highland Park new entrance
Zip line – Ropes course
Route 8 improvements
Entrance signs – Contest
· -Sign on Rt. 8 gets replaced often
· -Perhaps new logo?
· -City building sign “embarrassing”
· - Gateway signs
Bury power lines
Renovate the mess hall – more up-to-date
· -Making more use of the mess hall
· -Bringing business=type meetings to the hall
· -Perhaps bring back the small/big division
Updates to the Armory
· -Too expensive to replace.
· -Just to replace the roof would be $500,000.00
Tower park ball fields – under utlizied
Parade – competition to get more participation
South Grand improvements