Entries for 'covington'

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.”

Parks initiative kicks off comprehensive plan’s urban implementation

Posted on July 09, 2015
PDS staff embarked recently on an effort to help inventory and improve Kenton County’s urban parks. The project is a collaborative effort with the Cities of Covington, Ludlow, and Bromley and marks a major step forward for implementation of Kenton County’s Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice comprehensive plan.

The first step of the project involved identifying the location of all park facilities, inventorying the types of amenities provided at each location, and documenting the condition of all existing equipment and structures. This was completed in May.

The second phase of the project focuses on providing a website meant for use as an ongoing public resource and input tool.

“Throughout the Direction 2030 process, we focused on having conversations with citizens to learn what they wanted in the future. This input was a great asset to the plan and provided a springboard for what we’re pursuing now with this urban sub area parks project,” said Michael Ionna, AICP, a principal planner with PDS. “The new website will be a great way for us to continue those conversations and to learn how they feel about park improvements.”

The new website is dedicated solely to the urban parks project. One of its primary features is a survey to gather public input that will serve as a guide for future investment and improvements. Another is an interactive map that will display each park’s location, a corresponding picture, and a description and list of amenities and provided at that location.

“While the site provides a mechanism for collecting public input, it also provides information on the parks themselves,” Ionna elaborated. “We encourage residents to visit RiverCityParks.org to check out the features of the interactive map and to take the survey to “Help Plan Your Parks!”

Watch for future reports on the progress of the plan and be sure to visit the website for more information. For more details on the project, contact Michael Ionna at mionna@pdskc.org or 859.331.8980.


Residential street construction increases since end of the recession

Posted on December 01, 2014
Subdivision development and new street construction during 2014 showed an increase over 2013 and a dramatic increase when compared to levels of activity only a few years ago. What’s more, even with a colder than normal fall the activity is expected to continue late into the year.

“There’s always the risk that street construction will slow down or stop when temperatures drop sooner than expected. But as long as they remain above freezing we know of at least two developments that are working toward adding more street before the end of the year,” said Scott Hiles, CPC, director of PDS’ infrastructure engineering department.

Subdivisions in unincorporated Kenton County and the cities of Erlanger, Covington, and Independence all saw new street construction in 2014. The majority of streets were located in the City of Independence.  

“We haven’t seen this level of street construction since well before the recession,” said Hiles. “In looking back through our records, the amount of new street that was constructed this year quadrupled the amount we saw constructed just four years ago, and we’re not finished yet.”

Staff is also seeing signs that the upward trend in subdivision development will likely continue. In 2014 over 200 new lots were proposed and approved along new streets. In a few cases, construction was started this year on those new subdivisions but in no cases were any of these developments completed.

“Because we had more lots and street approved this year than was completed, we’re confident that this will carry over to next year and mean a busy 2015,” said Hiles.

One reason in particular to recognize the increase in street construction is its relation to the new subdivision regulations that are currently being written.

“A primary focus of the new regulations is better, longer lasting streets,” said Hiles. “It’s important to get these new regulations adopted so that all of the benefits to the community that they’ll bring can be incorporated into these new subdivisions.”

Hiles said that staff is continuing to work with a committee of engineers to reach consensus on a final recommendation to the Kenton County Planning Commission.

“Everyone is in agreement with most of the important issues. We’re working to finalize the last of the outstanding items and tie up some loose ends at this point. We understand the importance of getting the process finished but more important is making sure the regulations are enforceable in the way staff needs them to be.”

Hiles said that he is confident that the new regulations will be finished and adopted by the planning commission before the beginning of the 2015 development season.

Progress for Tuscany Condominiums

Posted on August 08, 2014
Work is underway on the last sections of the Tuscany Condominiums in Covington. Major slope stabilizations and re-routing sewer lines will continue through the summer. When this phase is completed an additional three condominium buildings will be ready to build. Currently, from work done in previous phases, two buildings are in various stages of construction.

View the preliminary plan

Covington fire incident illustrates value of building codes

Posted on May 23, 2014
A little-noticed event in Covington early this month provided the perfect illustration of one of the services NKAPC provides to the community. Given that May is Building Safety Month, this incident was a particularly useful illustration of the value of building codes.

A gentleman, living in a turn-of-the-century school that was converted to apartments in the 1980s and gutted and remodeled recently under a permit issued by NKAPC, survived a fire. He was lying on his couch smoking and fell asleep. He has several medical issues that include the need to be on continuously-supplied oxygen; the tube delivering the oxygen was reportedly involved in the fire.

The gentleman was able to rescue himself by reaching the corridor where he was protected by building code-rated construction and a building code-rated self-closing door. The sprinkler head above the couch opened and extinguished the fire. The only thing burned, other than the occupant, was the couch and coverings he had to stay warm. The man was admitted to the hospital with minor issues. All other occupants were allowed back in their units after a short period of time.

As building codes professionals remind people periodically, “When we do our jobs, nothing happens.”

NKAPC work prepares Covington for sidewalk repairs

Posted on April 11, 2014
Sidewalk reconstruction began last week in Latonia. The city’s contractor began replacing sidewalks with the lowest condition rating based on a citywide assessment of sidewalks that was conducted by NKAPC staff. The assessment prioritized sidewalks with significant tree root damage, cracking, and crumbling.

The Latonia portion of the project is estimated to be completed during early summer, pending weather conditions. The contractor’s contract also includes work on sidewalks in South Covington, where construction initially began in November. Due to weather delays after a particularly harsh winter, construction is expected to be completed in South Covington in May.

“We’re proud to have been a part of this effort in Covington,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, Executive Director. “The pursuit of these data amounted to a win-win for both the city and NKAPC. The city got highly-accurate information and we were able to utilize infrastructure inspectors to pursue the work during their down time. Our GIS system made it all so simple.”

The focus on improving sidewalks is part of Covington’s five-year community investment plan which culminated from citizen requests. It is meant to facilitate the city's commitment to being a walkable community and improving property values.

The Community Investment Plan, which was adopted by the city commission in June of 2013, will invest more than $30 million in infrastructure improvements alone over the next five years. Covington's Community Services Division kicked off its $2.4 million sidewalk replacement project in southern Covington in November of 2013. The project is just one of the $72 million Community Investment Plan projects planned over the next five years.