On February 18 representatives from three citizen groups—Independence Strategic Action Committee (ISAC), Linden Gateway Oversight Committee, and the Latonia Strategic Action Committee—presented progress reports to the Kenton County Mayors’ Group.
These citizen groups were formed after the completion of small area studies in an effort to demonstrate that the implementation of these studies does not have to fall back on cities. Actively engaging citizens during the preparation of the study can enable the community to take ownership of the study and move it forward.
The NKAPC’s extensive public engagement efforts drew a large number of people to the focused nature of the studies. “Given the level of public interest in these studies it was important for us to leave these communities with a strong but easy strategy for implementation. This led to the recommendation of forming citizen groups to focus on implementation,” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, senior planner in the long range planning department.
Butch Callery, former mayor of the City of Covington and chair of the Latonia Strategic Action Committee reported that the committee is currently focused on resolving traffic issues around Church Street in collaboration with Holy Cross High School. They are doing this by applying for two place matters neighborhood mini-grants and conducting a survey to obtain more detailed input from residents.
Rodney Crice spoke on behalf of the ISAC and noted that the committee is working on zoning updates recommended by the small area studies’ preservation efforts around the historic downtown and farmers’ market initiatives.
Pete Nerone, representing the Linden Gateway Oversight Committee, talked about the completion of zoning code updates along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the implementation of traffic recommendations from the study. He also noted other ongoing efforts such as completing the survey for a National Register District nomination, planning improvements to Linden Grove Cemetery which serves as prime green space for the neighborhood, and landscaping the median along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Rachel Hastings, Director of Neighborhood and Housing Initiatives at the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, outlined their efforts as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program that rehabs abandoned and foreclosed homes. "The attention that the small area studies brought to the housing issues in the Linden Gateway neighborhood was a key factor in enabling us to focus rehabilitation grants in this area."
“It was very encouraging to hear that our citizens are so actively involved in the implementation of these small area studies. It just goes to show that if public engagement is done right, our community will step up to make sure these studies are not forgotten. Having citizens take on implementation is a huge help for cities since resources are limited,” said Paul Meier, chair of the Kenton County Mayors’ Group.