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Latonia Lakes’ residents celebrate milestone in their community’s revitalization

Posted on October 19, 2017

It’s been a years’-long process of rehabilitating their community, but residents of Latonia Lakes have accomplished a lot. So, on a beautiful fall weekend last month, they got together with representatives of the agencies that helped make it happen, and they celebrated.

With backing from The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, Oak Ridge Baptist Lighthouse Church, the Kenton County Police Department, and PDS, the New Hope for Latonia Lakes Neighborhood Association garnered support from the Kenton County Fiscal Court and its public works staff to complete new streets and upgraded utility service. Private contractors and utility providers also played a role in helping the group meet one of its revitalization goals.

Brother Byron Lile of the Oakridge Baptist Church, Judge-Executive Kris Knochelmann and Commissioner Beth Sewell of Kenton Fiscal Court, and Latonia Lakes resident Jamie Twehues were on hand to speak and cut the ceremonial ribbon.

“The reason why it happens is because people come together… people work together… people cooperate together,” said Knochelmann.

“Three and half years ago we found ourselves in deep distress as a community,” commented Lile. “Things were very bad in this community as far as the road conditions, and the living conditions. People couldn't access their homes very well, especially in the winter time. Emergency equipment couldn't get in and garbage trucks couldn't service our community.”

“We have reached out to the county and throughout the state and we have found tremendous support for this community and today we want to celebrate all that's happened.”

The parade was led by Kenton County Police Department community liaison Officer Charles Duncan and lifelong resident Linda Coyle, who was honored as the Grand Marshall. A large group of children from the community followed, riding the newly paved streets on bicycles decorated with streamers and balloons. Lile brought up the rear pulling a trailer of full of residents to complete the route at the Oak Ridge Baptist Church for a community cookout.

The celebratory event was made possible by the generous donations of local businesses, including Bridges Northern Kentucky, Costco of Florence, El Jinete of Taylor Mill, Galerie Candy and Gifts of Hebron, JTM Food Group, Kona Ice, LaRosa’s Pizzeria of Taylor Mill, Monmouth Street Antique Gallery, the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association, Perfetti Van Melle USA, Sam’s Club of Florence, and St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

While the celebration commemorated a significant milestone for the community, most residents believe that this is the beginning of more great things to come in Latonia Lakes. The New Hope for Latonia Lakes Neighborhood Association plans to continue working towards its goal to make Latonia Lakes a family-oriented, neighborly place to live.

The New Hope for Latonia Lakes Neighborhood Association holds regular community meetings on the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Oak Ridge Baptist Lighthouse Church. Meetings are open to everyone. Residents looking to make a positive impact on the community are encouraged to attend!

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.”