Entries for 'center for great neighborhoods'

Kenton County Plan4Health highlighted at national meeting

Posted on November 03, 2016
Kenton County’s Plan4Health Coalition was recognized recently at the American Planning Association’s (APA) Fall Leadership Meetings in Washington, DC. The meetings brought together chapter presidents and planners from across the country to learn about the latest topics in the field and plan for the future of the association.

James Fausz, AICP, a senior planner at PDS attended the meetings on behalf of the Kentucky Chapter of APA.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see work from our Plan4Health project presented by national APA staff to planners and chapter leaders as examples of high quality work,” Fausz said. “We know that we do good work for our communities, but it was exciting to see that work presented as an example for the rest of the country.”

The Kenton County Plan4Health project was a yearlong planning effort to increase access to nutritious food across the county. The program worked to achieve this goal through several efforts including building a better link between urban markets and rural food producers, focusing on corner stores in urban communities, and even hosting a healthy foods summit near the end of the program.

“From the start, the Kenton County team hit the ground running with a clear strategy for assessing the environment and taking a comprehensive look at the food system,” said Anna Ricklin, AICP, Manager of the Planning and Community Health Center for APA. “Their work and its results serve as excellent examples of what can happen when staff from public health and planning agencies come together with a united goal to support community needs.”

The Kenton County Plan4Health program was established by a $135,000 grant from APA via its partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The program was a collaborative effort and included professional staff from the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, Inc., American Planning Association-Kentucky Chapter, Northern Kentucky Health Department, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), and PDS.

Latonia residents continue small area study implementation efforts

Posted on September 01, 2016

Residents, business leaders, and Covington officials embarked on creating a new plan for the Latonia neighborhood in November 2009. The plan they finalized in early 2011 was crafted with implementation as a key recommendation for moving forward.

The Strategic Action Committee still meets monthly to discuss the plan’s objectives and move its recommendations into reality.

“The Committee has done a lot of great things over the years to implement the plan,” said Kate Esarey Greene, Program Manager for Community Development with The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington. “From building a new park at Latonia Elementary to strategic façade improvement programs to National Register of Historic Places designations, the Committee has constantly sought to move the neighborhood, and the plan forward.”

The plan was crafted by a community-driven endeavor which was managed by PDS throughout 2010. The Latonia Small Area Study became a formal part of the county’s comprehensive plan in February 2011. Since that time the written recommendations have been brought to life with citizen engagement, management by the Center for Great Neighborhoods, and assistance from PDS and city officials.

“The Latonia study was my first large-scale project to manage,” explained James Fausz, AICP, a senior planner for PDS. “One of the things I enjoyed the most was meeting people from the neighborhood and helping them focus their efforts to make their community even better. It was a pleasure working with them to craft the plan and it has been even more rewarding seeing the plan’s success through working with the Strategic Action Committee.”

Donna Horine, a lifelong Latonia resident, study Task Force member, and original member of the Strategic Action Committee explained, “We [the Committee] have had the chance to do some really fun things to help implement the plan.”

“I think a lot of the projects have helped make people more aware of Latonia and what it has to offer. Things like the video, working with local Realtors on what Latonia is about, and even the 5k bringing people into the community have helped us move the area forward from the plan we made a few years back,” she said.

While much has been accomplished, there is still more work needed to implement the plan fully. Longer term recommendations like redeveloping the Latonia Plaza Shopping Center, increasing tree canopy coverage to aid in reducing stormwater runoff, and improving east-west mobility south of the study area to reduce freight traffic will likely take many years and the continued efforts of interested citizens to move forward.

If you would like to get involved with the Strategic Action Committee or find out more about its activities, contact Kate Esarey Greene with The Center for Great Neighborhoods or call her at 859.547.5552.

The Latonia Strategic Action Committee meets the 4th Thursday of each month at 6:00 PM at the Latonia Christian Church. Guests are always welcomed.

Multi-agency collaboration supports Latonia Lakes turnaround

Posted on July 29, 2016
In what can only be described as a tremendous collaborative effort, a number of local agencies have joined forces to improve the quality of life for residents of Latonia Lakes. Those taking part include the Kenton County Fiscal Court, the Kenton County Public Works Department, the Kenton County Sheriff’s Department, the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington (CGN), Oak Ridge Baptist Lighthouse Church, PDS of Kenton County, and the New Hope for Latonia Lakes Community Group.

The collaborative effort began in 2014 when residents contacted local, state, and federal officials about fixing the roads and maintaining the dam and lake within the community. What began as a conversation about basic services in the community grew into a groundswell of residents and local officials working together to address the larger needs of the community.

Kenton County Fiscal Court accepted the former Latonia Lakes roads for maintenance in October 2014. Since then the Public Works Department has been working with the Northern Kentucky Water District and SD1 to upgrade water and sewer lines before installing new streets throughout the community.

In an effort to increase the safety of the neighborhood, the Police-Community Partnership was initiated in November, 2015, according to Melissa Bradford, a principal code enforcement official with PDS.

“This partnership has led to a decrease in several categories of criminal activity. It’s also spawned a positive relationship between the officers and the residents—specifically the children—as evidenced by the spirited cornhole games that took place at the recent community cookout.”

The New Hope for Latonia Lakes Neighborhood Organization was formed in the fall of 2015. Since its inception, the organization has applied for and achieved 501(c)3 status and is using CGN as a fiscal agent, which means the organization can accept and use donations for neighborhood events and projects.

The group meets monthly at Lighthouse Baptist Church to discuss community projects, issues affecting the community, and residents’ concerns. A list of upcoming meetings, events, and additional information is available at Kenton County's New Hope for Latonia Lakes website.

“This little community continues its efforts to improve and thrive,” said Bradford. “In June, they held a community cookout at the lake. County officials and police officers, several of us from PDS, and Rachel Hastings of CGN and Byron Lile of the New Hope Group attended.”

“The group grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and provided games for kids of all ages. Everyone considered the event a huge success and is awaiting the next event eagerly.”

After considering what all has been accomplished, Byron Lile had this to share, “The Community of Latonia Lakes had a great start, but years of neglect left us in a mess. Instead of giving up, we chose to move forward and fix the problems.”

“It’s been a lot of hard work and the community has experienced a lot of disruptions, but the gain has been worth the pain,” he said. “In the past two years we’ve seen many positive improvements—road repairs, old abandoned houses torn down, properties cleaned up, and several community cleanup programs initiated.”

In concluding, Lile asserted, “From a grateful community, we say thank you! The gain has been worth the pain for a great community environment.”