Jack Moreland has announced his retirement as president of Southbank Partners, the community and economic development organization for Northern Kentucky’s river cities he has led for the past 11 years.
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He will be replaced by Will Weber, who has led the Campbell County Economic Development Office for the past three years and also serves as president of the Campbell County Economic Progress Authority.
Moreland will continue to serve in his position on a full-time basis until March 15, when Weber will take over the day-to-day operations of the organization, which coordinates development activities, fosters teamwork and collaboration, and provides a unified advocacy voice for the river cities of Bellevue, Covington, Dayton, Fort Thomas, Ludlow, Newport, and Silver Grove.
“Adding new blood is a healthy and normal occurrence for organizations like ours and the time is right to do just that at Southbank Partners,” Moreland said. “Will Weber has the personality, experience, and the aggressiveness to do some really great things for Southbank. Our board is looking forward to watching him continue the long record of successes we’ve achieved on behalf of our partner cities over the past 24 years.
Weber has bachelor’s degrees in Entrepreneurship and Economics from Northern Kentucky University as well as several economic development certificates from both the University of Kentucky and the University of Oklahoma. While at NKU, Weber was elected as student body president and served on the Board of Regents, the university’s governing board.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve the Campbell County Fiscal Court and lead the Campbell County Economic Progress Authority over the past three years,” Weber said. “I’m proud of the work we accomplished and grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community I call home. I firmly believe Campbell County is well positioned for continued economic growth and the best years are only ahead.”
“I look forward to leveraging our community assets and collaborating with our regional partners to innovate and embrace the future of our urban core and continue the amazing renaissance that has been happening in our river cities in Kenton and Campbell Counties,” Weber said.
Weber served as an intern at Southbank Partners while attending NKU and he worked with Moreland then and as an economic development professional in Campbell County.
“I’ve had the privilege to work with and learn much from Jack Moreland and it is an honor to succeed him as president of Southbank Partners,” Weber said. “I plan to continue his work on the many important projects and initiatives Southbank has undertaken and he nurtured in our community over the past 11 years.”
Moreland will continue to serve as president of Southbank Partners until June 30, the end of the nonprofit’s fiscal year. He will continue to work full time as its president until March 15, when Weber will join the organization as vice president and chief operating officer before taking the helm as president on July 1.
Moreland will help Weber transition into his new role by working one day a week from March 15 to June 30, after which he will be available to the organization on an as-needed basis. Moreland also will fill out his term as chairman of the Newport Southbank Bridge Company, which owns and operates the Purple People Bridge, until that term ends on June 30.
One of Weber’s first tasks will be leading Southbank’s new strategic plan for all of its partner cities, which will build upon the organization’s previous strategic plan, Imagination 2020.
“It’s exciting to be working with our partner cities on a new strategic plan and building on the remarkable economic development and community development that has taken place in our river cities in recent years,” Weber said.
Weber also will continue working on Riverfront Commons, Southbank’s signature project, the 11.5-mile walking, running, and biking trail along the Ohio River that travels through the river cities. More than half of this project has been completed in several sections in four of the cities, with the ultimate goal of connecting these sections into one continuous trail that runs from Ludlow to Dayton.
In May, the City of Covington is expected to finish work on a trail section between Greenup Street and Madison Avenue, which will include a 1,350-seat amphitheater, a cobblestone “pier” jutting into the river that will serve as a kayak and canoe launch and fishing spot, and two new concrete paths that run along both the water’s edge and floodwall murals.
The city also plans to start work soon on another trail section that will adjacent to Highway Avenue from Western Avenue to Swain Court in the western part of the city. In Dayton, the next phase of the water’s edge portion of that city’s trail is expected to start construction this summer.
Before joining Southbank Partners, Moreland spent 38 years as a public-school educator and administrator, including 19 years as superintendent of Dayton Independent Schools, eight years as superintendent of Covington Independent Public Schools, one year as interim president of Northern Kentucky University, and one year as interim chancellor of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
While he may be slowing down, Moreland said he’s not going away. “I will still be involved with these organizations and there’s two projects in particular that I plan to continue working on – raising funds for repainting and future maintenance of the Purple People Bridge and construction of the next phase of Riverfront Commons along Ky. 8 from Dayton through Fort Thomas and into Silver Grove.”