RIVERFRONT COMMONS HELPED ATTRACT MAJOR EMPLOYER TO COVINGTON
By Jack Moreland
Last week Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin made the exciting announcement that CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services, a global company providing therapeutic expertise to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, will relocate its headquarters with a $36.4 million investment projected to create up to 500 Kentucky-resident jobs in Covington's RiverCenter office tower.
One the key factors in CTI's decision to locate to Covington was Riverfront Commons, an 11-mile public walk-and-bikeway path connecting Northern Kentucky's river cities that is the brainchild of Southbank Partners.
"The collaboration between Northern Kentucky’s three counties and the positive energy between our river cities around the Riverfront Commons Project highlighted a welcoming environment that appealed to CTI, a company that values community," Covington Mayor Sherry Carran said in the announcement issued by Gov. Bevin's office. "Covington’s plans to improve our riverfront also enhance the desirability of our location and of the RiverCenter. It will be a great amenity for the employees of CTI.”
Nearly a decade ago, Southbank Partners founder Ray Beil, board-member Jay Buchert and others had the vision to recognize that a walking, biking and running path strategically connecting our member cities of Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton and Fort Thomas would help the region more fully utilize and appreciate one of its most important and enduring assets - The Ohio River.
Southbank Partners knew that communities needed recreation and outdoor amenities and venues to attract 21st century employers and employees, particularly the emerging workforce of younger generations.
And like all Southbank Partners projects, Riverfront Commons would not be possible without the assistance and cooperation of so many others, including planner Marshall Slagle; the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Rob Hans, Chief District Engineer for Department of Highways District 6; Mark Policinski, CEO of the OKI Regional Council of Governments; current and former elected and appointed officials in the Southbank Partners cities and with the Kenton and Campbell County fiscal courts; Kentucky State Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, who represents Newport, Dayton and Bellevue in the Kentucky General Assembly, and Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, who represents Covington and Ludlow; House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Rick Rand, D-Bedford; and the many others who have given and who continue to provide time, talents and funding to the Riverfront Commons project.
Southbank Partners is continually working to foster economic development, improve infrastructure and recreation opportunities and attract new residents, businesses, visitors and investment to our partner cities.
One of the most exciting Southbank projects to take place in years is the construction of the new Kentucky Route 9 in Newport. The $30 million project will ultimately improve access to the river cities, enhance utilization of the Taylor-Southgate Bridge and even take traffic off of the crowded and aging Brent Spence Bridge. It will also open up an estimated 70 acres on Newport's industrial west side for potential development.
Other Southbank Partners initiatives include The Southbank Shuttle, Developers Day and the Taylor Creek Overlook park project being developed where Newport and Bellevue meet along the Ohio River.
For nearly two decades Southbank Partners has been a driving force in the successful riverfront development of our partners cities. The next 20 years promise to be equally exciting.
Jack Moreland is the President of Southbank Partners, which promotes and manages economic development and infrastructure improvement projects in the Northern Kentucky Ohio River cities of Newport, Covington, Bellevue, Dayton, Ludlow and Fort Thomas.