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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Green Team Landscaping and Rotating Panels Will Complement New Signs

The sign on River Road. FTM file. 
Earlier this month the first couple city welcome signs were installed around Fort Thomas. The new signage will not only welcome residents to the City of Fort Thomas, but also inform them of up-and-coming events. With that comes landscaping and temporary panels that will change throughout the year.

There are six total slated for installation. Southbank Partners offered a $20,000 gift to the entire signage project, which offsets the overall $26,883.92 cost, City of Fort Thomas City Administrative Officer, Ron Dill, says.

Many residents are familiar with the Fort Thomas Garden Club and their work which can be seen around the city. The Fort Thomas Green Team was founded several years ago by members of the Garden Club along with others in the Fort Thomas community. "Since its beginning, the Garden Club is proud to have a representative on the Green Team committee," says Fort Thomas resident Alison Murphy, a member of Green Team. "The City oversees the Green Team." This years members of the Garden Club who are also serving on the Green Team include Murphy and Robin Lindeman.

The Green Team is an independent nonprofit organization, and it will be in charge of the landscaping around the city's new signs. Dill says the Green Team's goal is to provide enhanced green space in the community through placement of trees and landscaping. "They have participated in numerous projects since [their formation] and have been a contributing partner with our city over that time," he says.

The Green Team is an evolving organization.

"Traditionally, Green Team has focused on the Gateway Parks that beautify the entrances to our city, and more recently on smaller projects that maintain these areas or add to them," Murphy says. "There is interest within the committee to expand our efforts by creating volunteer opportunities that help beautify our city and educate citizens at the same time on good horticultural practices. We are exploring this idea with our committee, but we do not have events planned at this time."

Currently the Green Team is focused on the city's new signage landscaping. "The city has prepped the sites and will be working toward adding landscaping in the next month," Dill says. "We haven't settled on an exact landscape design but have discussed a 'pallet' of planting options. Some of the locations may warrant additional plantings, perhaps even trees, to provide a full backdrop setting."

Signage on US-27, just off I-471. FTM file. 

In addition to landscaping, several signs will include temporary, rotating panels, which will be hung below the main signs. "These will be specific to city events, i.e. Farmers' Market, summer concerts, Art Around Towne, etc.," Dill says. "They will be changeable for events and seasons." Signs that are currently slated to carry panels include the one on Memorial Parkway and the one on Grand Ave.

Enter Cathy Sonnett.

Cathy and her husband, Adam Sonnett, moved to Fort Thomas August 2015. They now have a 9-month-old son, Hayes, and they're currently restoring and renovating the iconic Stegeman home at 927 S. Fort Thomas Ave. Both Sonnett and her husband work in the creative field—Adam is VP of UX at Openfield Creative and Cathy is Creative Director at Spicefire.

Cathy Sonnett says she met Debbie Buckley, City of Fort Thomas Renaissance Manager and Economic Development Director, who is helping them with registering their historic home. "She knew I was a designer, so she asked if I could help with the branding and create the banners for the Fort Thomas 150th Celebration," Sonnett says.

"The opportunities to contribute just grew from there, so I happily joined the marketing committee. Through the process, I've met some wonderful and passionate people in the community: business owners, community leaders and long-time citizens who all want to continue to help Fort Thomas thrive as one of the best places to live in Kentucky."

Buckley asked Sonnett to be a member of the Renaissance Board in January. "It's a perfect match to be able to put my design abilities to use and match my passion for preserving our history for generations to come," Sonnett says.

Although Sonnett didn't have a part in the permanent signs, she's currently gathering input in order to create the smaller, interchangeable panels that will highlight community events and let people know what's happening in our city.

"There have been a few thoughts on how the signs would come to life," Sonnett says. "One request was to compliment the main sign, but stand out against the background so it would be very legible. A few other thoughts were if and how to incorporate dates or days of the week if it was a re-occurring event. Materials and attachment are still to be explored."

The panels, Sonnett says, will serve as a visual reminder to our citizens and those traveling through our city of all the great things Fort Thomas has to offer.

The six signs are located on Memorial Parkway, River Road, US-27 off I-471, Grand Avenue, US-27 from Highland Heights and US-27 from Southgate.


  1. I have been on Memorial Parkway every day this week in both directions and up and down River road a dozen times. Have not seen one of these signs anywhere.

    1. It's hard to see. It's black metal. Very pretty but does not stand out against the trees/brush at all. I think it's just past Stardust as you are coming in.

  2. I have not seen any of these either. There is a nice blue sign as you are coming up WaterWorks.