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Monday, January 22, 2018

Opinion: Here's One Way To Make Our Business Districts Truly Great

By Dan Gorman, Owner, United Property Group

I spoke with a developer a few days ago, and he stated that his company no longer works in cities that don’t offer incentives.  Last week I spoke with a small business owner who decided to locate her business in Covington, as opposed to Fort Thomas, because of the rental subsidies they provide.  Like it or not, gradually over the last number of years, incentives have become standard operating procedure if you want economic development in your town.   How have our neighbors adjusted to this new reality?

Campbell Co. YMCA. This is an advertisement. 
Covington’s website:  Incentives for Developers & Real Estate Investors; Incentives for New Businesses to Covington; Incentives for Existing Businesses in Covington; State Incentives; Regional Incentives; Accelerators, Incubators, and Small Business Assistance.

Newport’s website:  Job Development Incentive Program, Property Assessment Moratorium, Historic Preservation Tax Credit, Façade Grants, Tax Increment Financing District, State Incentives

Bellevue’s website:  Bellevue Renaissance Signage Grant, Economic Development Incentive Program, Historic Preservation Grant, Preservation Tax Credits, Property Assessment Moratorium Program, Off-Street Parking Assistance Program

Dayton’s website:  Commercial Community Advantage Program (rent abatement, uniform signage, Façade and Structure Improvement)

This is an advertisement. 
To be clear, because of demographic differences, our neighbors receive millions of dollars in federal money for economic development that Fort Thomas is not eligible for.  It’s a bit of an unfair playing field.  It’s a similar situation for school funding, but we haven’t let that stop us from having the top-rated school system in the state.  I wonder how amazing our business districts could be if we showed some of the same passion in overcoming our funding disadvantages to become truly great.  It will certainly require out-of-the box thinking and passion!

The city is working hard to uncover funding sources to make us more competitive.  Please encourage and support these efforts.  If you haven’t already done so, please spend a few minutes completing the surveys at and be a part of crafting a new vision for the future of Fort Thomas.  And please support our local businesses.

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