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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Committees Forming for Visioning Project

Visioning project discussion. From l to r: Ken Bowman, city council member; Joe Ewald, director of finance; David Cameron, city council member and Frank Twehues of CT Consultants.   

By Robin Gee

The Fort Thomas Community Plan is moving forward this month with the creation of six working committees, each to be charged with developing plans for different aspects of the project.

Frank Twehues of CT Consultants met with city officials, staff and council members at a brief meeting before the August general city council meeting to discuss committee formation, assign council members to each of the committees and brainstorm ideas for community liaisons.

Leadership teams

Committee leadership teams will be comprised of a city council member, a city staff member, a technical advisor (consultant) and a liaison from the community.

Plans are to have committee leadership in place in the next week or two and begin to spread the word. A community meeting is tentatively planned for Monday, September 25, to introduce the committees to the public and invite interested community members to join.

City Administrator Ron Dill has been working with project consultants at CT Consultants and Human Nature to identify city staff members to serve as resources for each committee. The consultants also have selected members from within their organizations to serve as technical advisors.

The Committees
   Land Use and Zoning will identify and work with zoning issues, form-based code and economic development.
   Transportation and Connectivity will identify modes of connectivity across the community and handle transportation issues.
   Parks and Open Space will identify recreation and green space needs.
   Utilities and City-owned Facilities will cover non-park city facilities and infrastructure systems such as water, electric, gas, telecommunications, networks and other technologies.
   Regional Partnerships and Collaboration will work with adjacent communities to identify regional needs and how Fort Thomas plans can fit into the larger picture.
   Funding and Implementation will identify funding resources, available revenue and possibilities for potential revenue streams.
In addition to expertise by the lead consultants, two specialized firms have been asked to help with technical aspects of the project. AECOM is a design and engineering firm with expertise working with transportation systems. Glaserworks provides architecture and urban design expertise.

Council members step up

Assigning council members to each of the committees took very little time. Most were interested in more than one area.

Mayor Eric Haas encouraged council members to attend any and all committee meetings that are of interest to them, explaining that the selection of one council member per committee would provide a point person to aid efficiency and ease of communication.

City council member committee assignments are:

   Land Use and Zoning: John Slawter
   Transportation and Connectivity: Ken Bowman
   Parks and Open Space: Jeff Bezold
   Utilities and City-owned Facilities: David Cameron
   Regional Partnerships and Collaboration: Lisa Kelly
   Funding and Implementation: Roger Peterman

A call to the community

After council members were assigned, the group brainstormed ideas for possible community liaisons for each committee. Over the next week or two, council members, consultants and city officials will approach community members to find out if they might be interested in serving as a liaison.

Community members who are interested or who have ideas should contact City Administrator Ron Dill at

The next step is to recruit members of the community who are interested in or have expertise in any of the committee areas.

Haas said at this time he did not want to limit the number of people on a committee. "I think we’ll see a good response," he said. "And I want attract a lot of people to this. That is why I wanted to wait until after the Sesquicentennial celebration because many of our most active citizens were involved with that, and I know many of them will be very interested in this."

Next steps

According to Twehues, the visioning project can be roughly broken into three phases. In addition to committee formation, the Awareness Phase includes research, data gathering and analysis, a review of statutory requirements to be considered a Comprehensive Plan by the state and generally laying the groundwork.

A survey will be issued during this phase to gather public input and ideas. This phase is expected to go through the end of the year.

The Exploration Phase, said Twehues, is the most fun and exciting phase. "This is where you test your boundaries, see what’s available. You can go as big or small as you want, play with the options. You have a great community here and there are possibilities up the river and into the town. Then you start paring it down."

The next phase will take what the committees have pulled together and develop a plan and the strategies necessary to put the plan into action and turn the vision into reality.

Watch for details on the September 25 community meeting to learn more about the committees and the project.

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