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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pair of Fort Thomas Residents Help Lead Council on Visioning Process

L to R: City Clerk, Melissa Kelly, Chuck Thompson (Council), Jann Seidenfaden (City Attorney), Ron Dill (City Administrator) listen to Chris Manning on the next steps on the city's visioning process. FTM file. 

Members of Fort Thomas City Council met on Monday evening, September 19th, to discuss a new visioning process for the city. Two residents are leading the planning, Chris Manning and Tom Fernandez ,(Fernandez was not present for this meeting). Fernandez, who is on the Board of Adjustment and was a former city councilman, was not present.  Manning is principal at the Human Nature Company, and is also on the city's Design Review Board.

Manning was involved in the street-scaping plans in Fort Thomas Forward in 2000, as well.

RELATED: Brainstorming Session Could Lead to New Ideas 

Ron Dill City Administrator said that the two residents could help lead and facilitate discussions that started in December of last year to move the city to the next level.

"Chris and Tom have come forward as partners and we bring them on board in a professional capacity as facilitators to walk us through the process.  We are very happy to have Chris and Tom on board.  They've put their heads together to help us in this endeavor."

RELATED: Fort Thomas Looking Into Creating New Comprehensive Plan 

Manning shared what he feels makes Fort Thomas a standout community; the timeless values that make us who we are, our strong leadership, and the fact that we are always striving to be better. 

"Even when things are going well, they could always be better," he said.

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The framework, according to Manning, will begin with a sequence of three steps: a strategic plan, a comprehensive plan update, and a master plan.  Community members will have opportunities to participate in the comprehensive plan, and the strategic plan would consist of input from the staff, council, and key city stakeholders. 

"In the past sixteen years, steps have been taken to make Fort Thomas a more walk-able city.  Street-scapes and pocket parks have been added and have changed the aesthetic considerably, " said Manning.

Manning describes communities as 'living organisms that go through stages of development just like a human being' and believes that employing a tactic known as trajectory mapping is the best approach because it is more of an act of celebration as opposed to a problem solving process.  This means that, like parenting, there is a lot of positive reinforcement. 

"Our city is blessed with a lot of assets, so we should be talking about asset mapping and synergies." 

While discussing possible enhancements, more public restrooms throughout the city and an upgrade to the city building were two items mentioned.  Manning added, "We've grown beyond the city of beautiful homes.  Putting a brand on who we want to be helps us more toward that, whatever that is.  We are more than a city of a beautiful homes." 

Dill elaborated, "We got away from that on purpose.  It's a little braggadocios and can seem condescending, and it's a little dated, too.  There are a lot of cities with beautiful homes and we're not the only one." 

The time frame includes a strategic planning wrap up before the end of this year.  The next meeting is October 10th at 5:30 pm.  The comprehensive plan will pick up after the first of the year and will incorporate the the planning commission.

Manning added, "This is a very generous community.  If they are inspired by the direction we are going, they'll participate."

Manning and Fernandez will be paid for their services to the city, but an amount was not discussed.

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