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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

City Visioning Kicks Off With Major Advancements on Horizon

City Plan Kickoff Draws High Interest

Residents packed the room to learn more about the Fort Thomas Community Plan.

by Robin Gee

Fort Thomas residents packed the room for the official Fort Thomas Community Plan kickoff meeting on September 25. Nearly 50 residents were in attendance.

Mayor Eric Haas welcomed community members who had come to the meeting to learn more about how they could be involved in the planning underway as part of a citywide visioning process.

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"The talent in this city is absolutely phenomenal. We have so many people who care so much about this city and have such great ideas," he said, adding that he was excited to see so many people willing to share those ideas.

The process so far

City Administrator Ron Dill gave a quick overview of the process so far. City officials and consultants met to explore how the project could be organized to provide a structure that would be sustainable and would provide support for the work being done.

Six working groups or committees have been formed. Each include a member of city council, a community liaison, city staff and consultants who serve as technical advisers.

The goal of the kickoff meeting was to bring interested community members onto the committees and to set initial meeting times and goals.

The six committees include Land Use and Zoning, Transportation and Connectivity, Parks and Open Space, Utilities and City-owned Facilities, Regional Partnerships and Collaboration, and Funding and Implementation.

RELATED: Committees Forming for Visioning Project

Formulating a plan

Frank Twehues, engineer at CT Consultants, presented a brief outline of the committees, ideas and possible goals to help the group get started. He was joined upfront by Chris Manning of Human Nature, landscape architects. Other consultants present included Kristin Hopkins, Rob Hans and Robert Seitzinger of CT Consultants and Sara DiLandro of Human Nature.

Twehues said the time is right to revisit the city’s plan. "The last time the comprehensive plan had a real update was in 2005," he noted. "Demographics are different. What people are looking for is different. It’s time to make a strong community plan."

"This is a really unique process in Fort Thomas. Not every community invests this kind of time and energy into developing a whole community plan," he said.

The Land Use and Zoning Committee gets down to business with Councilmember John Slawter and CT Planner Kristin Hopkins.

The work will be divided into three phases: awareness, exploration and vision, Twehues said. The plan is to have recommendations ready to move forward within a year.

Overall, the charge for the committees it so "formulate a draft plan that reflects the needs and desires of the community," he said. The initial work of each committee will involve assessment of what is already in place, review of previous plans and examination of resources, all part of the awareness phase.

After the overview presentation, participants broke into the six committee groups to discuss goals, meeting times and other logistics.

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More opportunities to get involved

Dill invited participants to join one or more of the committees. He said he would like to see involvement from as many community members as possible of all ages. He encouraged those who were not able to make the kickoff meeting to contact him if they are interested in a committee.

Residents can get involved by joining a committee, but other opportunities will include public surveys and public hearings as the process unfolds. Information about committee meetings will be posted on the city website.

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