Posted on Thursday, June 8, 2017 by Joyce Joyce McMullin in In The News
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June 7, 2017


Media Contact: Jay Fossett

                           Strategic Advisers, LLC



Note to digital-media outlets: See links at the end of this release to the Story Map website, a video about Riverfront Commons, and a PDF poster of the project.



COVINGTON, Ky.-- Southbank Partners today unveiled its Riverfront Commons Story Map – an interactive, online platform that graphically tells the story of the burgeoning Ohio River trail system – to a legislative committee of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Riverfront Commons is an 11.5-mile uninterrupted walking, running, and biking trail that, when completed, will connect all of Northern Kentucky’s six river cities – Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, and Fort Thomas – to each other. The Story Map can be viewed by visiting

The Story Map uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to show the path of the trail as well as many features and attractions in cities connected to the trail. It also includes a written narrative that outlines the overall vision for the project and discusses each of the Southbank cities, including brief historical and background information about the cities; upcoming trail improvements planned in those cities; connections with other trails and the city’s business and entertainment districts, including links to hotels, historic structures, and other attractions; and new development projects that are underway in the cities.

Jack Moreland, president of Southbank Partners, Eric Summe, president and CEO of meetNKY/Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Jay Fossett, former Covington City Manager and principal of Strategic Advisers, rolled out the Story Map for the first time to the Kentucky House of Representatives’ Tourism, Small Business, and Information Technology Committee, co-chaired by Rep. Diana St. Onge, R-Lakeside Park, which conducted a committee hearing at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

“Riverfront Commons is a complicated and dynamic infrastructure project taking place in six different cities with a lot of moving pieces,” Moreland said. “Using GIS technology, we wanted to create a mapping and communication platform that graphically shows and clearly explains the trail and the positive impact it has had and will continue to have the Southbank cities and the region as a whole. Another benefit of this project is that the website can be easily updated as new trail sections are completed in the future.”

Moreland said that Southbank Partners has raised more than $21 million in grant funding over the past three years to make improvements to Riverfront Commons, the organization’s signature project. This summer, five of the six Southbank cities will complete new trail sections, adding approximately four miles of new trails to Riverfront Commons.

“Riverfront Commons is a wonderful concept in terms of attracting and retaining visitors to our region, particularly along the Ohio River where we host many of visitors and groups at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center and nearby hotels,” meetNKY’s Summe said.

“We are in a very competitive business and the Riverfront Commons Story Map will provide us with a great tool to promote our community to people outside the region,” Summe continued. “It provides us with a wonderful opportunity to show the trails that have been completed, what sections are currently under construction, and what will be completed in the future and also how this trail connects to convention center and the entertainment and business areas of each of the six river cities.”

The Riverfront Commons Story Map was created by Strategic Advisers, a public relations and government relation firm that represents Southbank Partners, and PDS, the Kenton County planning agency, and LINK-GIS, the arm of the agency that provides GIS services to Kenton and Campbell counties.

“We’re pleased to provide GIS data for this transformational project,” said Dennis Gordon, executive director of PDS. “There’s no doubt Riverfront Commons is going to become a real economic engine for the region.”

The R.C. Durr Foundation provided the funding for the Riverfront Commons Story Map. “We are very grateful for the financial support of the R.C. Foundation and the technical support of PDS because the project would not have happened their help and support,” Moreland said.


About Riverfront Commons

Riverfront Commons is an 11.5-mile uninterrupted trail that links Northern Kentucky’s six river cities – Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, and Fort Thomas. The trail features paths -- some as wide as 15 to 20 feet and others atop the riverside levees that are smaller in width – that accommodates walkers, joggers, and bikers as well as providing access points where people can launch kayaks and canoes into the river. The trail also provides easy linkage to the residential neighborhoods and business, entertainment, and historic districts in these cities.

About Southbank Partners

Southbank Partners, Inc. is a community and economic development organization that coordinates activity within the six river cities in Northern Kentucky – Bellevue, Covington, Dayton, Fort Thomas, Ludlow, and Newport. The organization promotes and coordinates development activities in these cities, fosters teamwork and collaboration, and provides unified voice in advocating for common positions to state and federal governments and other communities and organizations.

Story Map URL:


Video of Riverfront Commons project:


Link to PDF of Riverfront Commons Project: