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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Fort Thomas Makes Participation in US 27 Corridor Coalition Official



Development of the US 27 corridor is the focus of a collaboration between Fort Thomas, Highland Heights, Southgate and Newport, along with other area partners.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor  

Fort Thomas is the first city to sign onto a memorandum of understanding between Northern Kentucky communities and other partners along the US 27 corridor. The goal of the partnership is to focus and improve on connectivity, infrastructure, interoperability and development along the corridor next to the Ohio River.

The section of the highway, known as Alexandria Pike in Northern Kentucky, runs along the river on the city’s western edge. Development in the corridor has grown up organically as traffic has increased with a mixture of businesses, homes and undeveloped areas.

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The city is joined by Highland Heights, Southgate and Newport as well as the Campbell County Fiscal Court, Northern Kentucky University, the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), St. Elizabeth Hospital and Southbank Partners. The group has been meeting informally for about 10 months, but the memorandum makes the partnership official, said City Administrator Ron Dill.

Dill thanked Campbell County Economic Development Director and Fort Thomas resident, Will Weber, for his work in getting all the cities and organizations involved to start the process.

Regional partnerships and collaboration were included in the Fort Thomas Community Plan, he said. The plan identified four areas with non-residential zoning along a two-mile stretch of Alexandria Pike for further study.
  • Fort Thomas Plaza northwest of I-471
  • Just south east of I-471
  • Between Marsh Building Products and South Fort Thomas Avenue
  • Between the Sonsrena Apartments and the city’s southern boundary, also known as the South Gateway Business District.
The stated goal is to plan for a "Smart Corridor" to attract new economic development especially given the highway's proximity to I-275 and Northern Kentucky University and to focus on bringing high-value, high-wage jobs to the area.

"If you really think about the concept of the US 27 corridor from the Levy, which is an entertainment district, to NKU, that whole section...there’s a lot of opportunities there. We heard a lot of exploration of that in our community plan, not just with regional collaboration, but in our zoning and other aspects such as transportation. In fact, almost every [plan] committee had conversation about the US 27 corridor," said Dill.


The memorandum outlines various issues involved in how the partners will work together, he explained. "Formalizing allows us a common voice, so when we approach other entities or agencies for grants or other opportunities ...we can have the stronger voice of the group. We are really excited about where this could lead."

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