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Florence Identifies Key Road Projects for Study

Florence City Council last week approved a purchase agreement between the city, as the seller, and the Northern Kentucky Independent Health District, as the buyer, for an approximately 4-acre tract of land located on the government campus on Veterans Memorial Drive for construction of an office building.
 
The Health District has an office building in Edgewood near St. Elizabeth Hospital but the Florence government campus is more central to the entire district, officials said.  
However, there were some problems that were encountered.
 
The ground around where the office building will be located was a dumping ground for dirt when the government building was built, and the dirt was not compacted properly. Initial boring tests indicated that the construction company would have to dig down anywhere from 3 to 17 feet to be able to enable the soil to support a two-story, 45,000 sq. ft. building. The extra work should cost about $100,000, so the parties agreed that the  purchase price of the land will be $540,000 instead of $640,000. Vice mayor Julie Metzger-Aubuchon recused herself from the entire process because she is also on the board of the Northern Kentucky Independent Health District.
 
The new building is expected to bring with it, 150 jobs.
 
An ordinance which has had a few first readings already was again read for the first time in the current form. It amends another ordinance to recognize the addition of Worldwide Air Logistics Group, Inc., and Atlas Air, Inc., as affiliated entities of Southern Air, Inc., with respect to an economic development project under the Kentucky business investment program. Wade Williams from the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED) came to see if he could shed some light on what was a little confusing. He said that in 2013, Southern Air created a company designed to acquire other companies. In 2016, Southern Air was acquired by Atlas Air, which is now the parent company. They realized that they had employees in Worldwide that could benefit by being in the Economic Development program, so they asked if those employees could be a part of the program. Mayor Diane Whalen explained that they would add employees up to a cap of 150 to the program.
 
Mark Hollowell was reappointed to the Florence Main Street Design Review Board for a three-year term, and Samuel Denham was reappointed to the Florence Urban Forest Commission for a three-year term.
 
Public Works director Eric Hall told council about a new organization for planning for Boone County that includes TANK, CVG Airport, and the Boone County Fiscal Court to do a transportation study to identify areas that are problems and need work. This is a fledgling planning study with no funding, and no promise of funding, and is only trying to identify the problems. Hall said the five areas that they want to have on the wish list from Florence are the US 42 bridge lighting and pedestrian walkway over the interstate, the KY 18 bridge over the highway to be widened, the interstate north bound exit ramp to US 42, the connection from Pleasant Valley to Hopeful Church, and the sidewalks on New Buffington to connect to Kenton County.  
 
Mayor Whalen also specified that these projects were only identified for study, and that they are not funded for work.
 
The city held a swearing in ceremony for six brand new to the city Firefighter/Paramedics and Firefighter/EMT's for the Florence Fire Department. Jonathan McNamara, David Curtis, John Clayton, Mark Bittner, and Brentley Wuest are all Firefighter/Paramedics, and Kyle Brant is a Firefighter/EMT. All received their new helmet and a badge, and introduced the family members who came with them.
 
A cub scout troop, which is on the Bear level, came to the meeting and was recognized by Mayor Whalen. Pack 845 from St. Paul parish came to see how government works. Present were Mark Wilhite, 9, Collin Smith, 9, Ibrahim Ngam, 9 and his twin Mohamed Ngam,  and Brady Aubuchon, 8. Missing was A.J. Ray, 8.
 
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
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