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Ammunition Company Wants to Operate in Ft. Wright

An ammunition manufacturing company is looking to open operations in Ft. Wright.

Great Lakes Ammo has already operated in Wixom, Michigan for ten years. Two of the partners in the company currently live and work locally and hope to bring a portion of the business to Northern Kentucky.

The company identified a location on Helen Ruth Drive, off Old Kentucky 17, which resembles their building in Michigan but would require a zoning change.

At Wednesday night's city council meeting, City Administrator Ed Butler explained that while manufacturing is a permitted use in the zone, he wanted to draft a text amendment for review by the Kenton County Planning Commission in September since he was unsure whether the business is permitted.

It was decided to submit the application for review.

New police chief named, outgoing one honored

Council approved the promotion of Marc Schworer to the position of police chief.

Newly retired chief Dan Kreinest was honored at the meeting, and received a glass plaque, his service revolver, and some pictures of the luncheon that was held Monday. Former city administrator Gary Huff came to the meeting to offer congratulations, and members of council also offered their thanks for Kreinest's 38 years on the force.

State Rep. Diane St. Onge (R-Lakeside Park) presented a state proclamation to Kreinest, and Mayor Hatter proclaimed August 3 to be Chief Dan Kreinest Day in the city.

Meanwhile, Chief Schworer has instituted a practice called "hot spotting", where each officer has to take turns sitting at a place that has received a complaint, such as a stop sign that is being ignored by drivers, and making their presence known by turning on their lights.

He also told council that the department received new duty weapons thanks to a grant, and that the old ones were turned in as trade-ins.

Council calls for change to pension system

Council also passed several resolutions.  One supports the separation of the County Employees Retirement System from the Kentucky Retirement System.

"The city is in a lawsuit to do this very thing," said Mayor Dave Hatter. "We are hearing about several cities around the state passing resolutions to do this in light of a possible special session. We should take a strong stance. Depending on whose numbers you use, the situation varies from a travesty to an utter debacle. We send them $460,000 to $470,000 each year, about 11 to 12 percent of our budget. I think we should ask the cities why don't you join the lawsuit, instead of just giving what (form Mayor and Kenton County Commissioner Joe) Nienaber used to call a Hallmark card."

Council agreed to the resolution, which will be sent several official places.

Tolls still opposed by council

Council also adopted a resolution opposing tolls on the Brent Spence Bridge project as well as supporting the exploration of other options. The resolution was similar to one recently adopted by the Covington city commission.

Councilman Dave Abeln dismissed a recent poll from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber that showed support for tolls to finance the project. Abeln said that everyone he has talked to are adamantly against any tolls, so he didn't know exactly who was polled. He went on to say that he received a bill when his wife crossed the new Louisville toll bridge and the cost was $4 each way. He said they must have missed the first bill, and the most recent one tacked on a $5 fee in addition to the toll.

Mayor Hatter said he thought the first proposal for a toll on that bridge was for people to pay a dollar each way, just the same as is being proposed for the Brent Spence.

"It doesn't say anything new," said Hatter, "but it is good to be on the record."

Other notes:

Fire Chief Steve Schewe asked council about using money to replace a pickup truck that was recently hit by a drunk driver. He told council that he can get a replacement truck for about $38,000 if he goes through a state contract. Council agreed with his assessment.

In response to a question about what was being built behind the Texas Roadhouse, it was announced to be a Planet Fitness which is scheduled to be opened by the end of October. Also, the Buffalo Wild Wings is due to reopen this week.

Public Works director Tim Maloney said that they are working on the wall by the Civil War Museum, which was leaning at a 45 degree angle, and it should be completed by Battery Hooper Days. The piering project is on hold, as contractors are waiting for the inevitable flexing that occurs after the piering is installed. Maloney said they are trying to get the project done as soon as possible because school will be starting and many people use the road for travel to school.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor