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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Brainstorming Session Could Lead to New Topics For Fort Thomas City Council

Mayor Eric Haas leads a white-board brainstorming session before the regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday. FTM file. 
By Clayton Castle 

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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The meeting was held before the regularly-scheduled council meeting and ideas such as revitalizing the parks, most notably Tower Park, and other roadway projects were discussed.

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.

FTM file. 

“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):

Skate park
City Wide Yard Sale
Crosswalk enhancements – connectivity
Park Enhancements
·         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
Visual blight
Sign ordinances
Code enforcement
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
VA homes
Stables buildings
Tower park ball fields – under utlizied
Midway accessibility
Parade – competition to get more participation
South Grand improvements


  1. I'd love to see the playground at Highland Park get a face lift. It's seen better days. Also, a splash park/sprayground would be a great addition to one of the parks!

  2. Who submitted these ideas because some of these are downright stupid.

  3. Would love to see antique shows in the mess hall. They did this several times but not continued long enough to get popular. Winter months would be best.

  4. Fort Thomas needs to make its city more bike friendly. The city needs to install bike racks throughout the two business districts. Other than a few poorly secured benches, there aren't any places to lock bikes if you get coffee or stop by the bank. With new businesses coming to the Highland Blg., bike racks would help boost traffic & safety. Examples of successful bike rack incorporation include Covington and downtown Cincinnati

  5. People can barely use stop signs. When they come to round abouts they either stop completely or speed....please no round abouts

  6. IMO illuminating Crosswalks especially around Highlands High School needs to at the top of this list.

    1. Agree completely. Street lighting in Ft. Thomas is woefully inadequate. I dig the brainstorming but obvious safety measures need to come first.

  7. How about a decrease in property taxes and not try to spend money that is burning a hole in the city's pocket. Most of the ideas are really stupid. About the only one that holds weight is better visibility around cross walks near the schools and central business district.

  8. Improve and build up the only central business district in town. Make the city center a place where people want to come to and spend money. Make the city more inviting, not just for residents. Stop being isolationist. Out of towners don't come here - you know the reasons why. Tired of seeing one failed business after another in the middle of town. Promote start up and existing business. SAVE ART HOUSE...

  9. Promoting and supporting local businesses will generate revenue for the city

  10. Some of these ideas would be great, but will always be under utilized unless you change the public perception of the city (somewhat). I live just outside the city in Dayton. I was born and raised in Fort Thomas (Class of '81). I often drive home through Fort Thomas. Had a cop stop me and ask "why are you driving through Fort Thomas to get to Dayton." Obvious answer- I wanted to! However, THIS IS the perception! Non residents need not come here. Many other example. Change your views to attract non-residents to spend money here, come here and support businesses and activities. WIN _ WIN!