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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Momentum Builds For Fort Thomas Visioning Project

FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

Next steps in the development of a vision for Fort Thomas’s future was the topic of a discussion by city officials on Monday.

Mayor Eric Haas, City Administrator Ron Dill, council members and city staff met with planning consultants to hear ideas for how best to organize and proceed with the visioning process.

Mark Brueggemann of CT Consultants, an engineering and architect firm, and Chris Manning of Human Nature, landscape architects, presented ideas for how work could be divided, as well as a tentative schedule.

Both firms have expertise in urban development and planning and have worked closely with the city on other projects including Fort Thomas Forward, an urban design and streetscape plan developed in 2000-2001.

The consultants suggested six project committees, each covering a different area of vision planning:

Land Use and Zoning
Transportation and Connectivity
Parks and Open Space
Utilities and Infrastructure
Regional Partnerships
Funding and Implementation

The group discussed committee leadership and membership, and agreed that each committee would include a council member, city staff member and members of the community. Mayor Haas added that Fort Thomas is fortunate to have residents with interests and expertise in many of the areas covered by the committees.

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Manning stressed that having a city staff member on each committee would help with continuity and ensure connections between the city and the committees.

The proposed project timeline sets aside a preparation period from now through July 2017. Committees would start to meet regularly after the city’s 150-year celebration activities in July.

The preparation period will be marked by further discussion and decisions about committee make-up, leadership and formation. This period also will include data collection on existing city conditions.

First committee meetings will take place in June and July to identify goals and establish objectives. The consultants have offered to provide guidance and support during the preparation stage pro bono.
The two firms have several experts on staff who have worked with cities across the country on similar visioning projects. Experts from other firms will be brought in as needed in specific areas such as transportation safety and urban design.

Official planning will begin in August 2017 and is expected to continue until July 2018. Planning is divided roughly into three phases:

Awareness (August 2017 to November 2017) — broader community input and needs assessment
Exploration (December 2017 to March 2018) — testing of ideas and identifying opportunities
Vision (April 2018 to July 2018) — assembly of final plans, cost estimates, implementation strategies, official public hearings and adoption of the visioning plan

Some committees may continue as needed to assist with implementation of the plan.  More information about committee membership, input sessions and the planning process will be made available on Fort Thomas Matters and the Fort Thomas city website.

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