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Future Use of Property Around Monastery to Be Target of Study

The property that surrounds the St. Walburg Monastery of Benedictine Sisters of Covington in Villa Hills will be the target of a study, in conjunction with the religious organization, the City of Villa Hills, and Planning & Development Services (PDS).
The announcement was Monday morning.
For more than 150 years St. Walburg Monastery has served the church and local communities in Northern Kentucky by providing education, health care, and other pastoral services. For over 110 years the Benedictine sisters have lived on Amsterdam Rd., now in the City of Villa Hills. In 1904 they established Villa Madonna Academy, in 1964 Madonna Manor, a healthcare facility for senior adults, and in 1972 Villa Madonna Montessori School.
Recently, the announcement continued, the sisters have received funding from the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) to analyze their finances, ongoing operations and infirmary services and to provide recommendations about providing a secure future for the members of the community. One recommendation was to explore ways to use their property and grounds for increased revenue and retirement funding while continuing to contribute to the local community.
The Benedictine Sisters, together with Madonna Manor, Inc., a member of Franciscan Living Community and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), are initiating an in‐depth planning study with the city and PDS to explore potential changes that will provide more flexible use of their properties. The combined effort will help St. Walburg Monastery, Madonna Manor, Villa Madonna Academy, and Villa Madonna Montessori continue to be assets to the Villa Hills community.    
“St. Walburg, Madonna Manor, Villa Madonna Academy and Villa Madonna Montessori are great neighbors and important members of our Villa Hills community,” said Mayor Butch Callery, in a statement. “It is important for the City to participate in their long‐range planning. Our goal is to balance their future plans with the needs of our residents, their neighbors.”
Callery went on to say that updates to the comprehensive plan and the small area study will help ensure a bright future for all involved.
“We are happy to be able to plan with Madonna Manor and the City of Villa Hills for the future of all concerned," said Sister Mary Catherine Wenstrup, Prioress of St. Walburg Monastery "The Benedictine Sisters expect to be a presence in the Villa Hills community for many years to come.”
Over the next few months a committee of representatives from St. Walburg Monastery, Madonna Manor, the city and PDS will oversee a process of examining the current comprehensive plan and zoning. The plan will also include marketing and traffic studies to assist the team in gaining a clear picture for the future.
Those who are interested in providing their thoughts on the future of the site are encouraged to attend a public meeting at River Ridge Elementary School on May 9, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will include presentations about the project, market study, and transportation study as well as an opportunity for roundtable group discussion and input from attendees.
-Staff report
Top photo: Villa Madonna campus with monastery in background (via Kenton Co. Public Library)