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New Homes Coming to Newport; One-Way Street Approved

The Newport city commission on Monday night approved the issuance of industrial revenue bonds to support the development of new homes in the Clifton neighborhood, and also to change a street's traffic pattern to one-way following an increase in the number of cars using it.

The new housing development, brought to the city by developer A.J. Ackerman on 13th and 14th streets, will also serve as a future site of CitiRAMA, an annual celebration put on by the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati.

Site work is expected to begin later this year with some homes ready for occupancy in time for CityRAMA in September of 2021, Ackerman said during the commission's virtual meeting.

The first phase includes eighteen homes, with half of them finished by the end of 2021 and the remainder finished in 2022.

Forty-two additional homes are expected to be occupied by the middle of 20-23.

According to a website connected to the developer, the plan is to have around fifteen detached single family homes and forty attached single family homes.

The industrial revenue bonds, for which an amount was not yet announced, will be used to assist the development with a strong focus on public infrastructure like retaining walls and sanitary/storm water systems. Property owners will receive a regular tax bill to be paid directly to the city through a PILOT program (payment in lieu of taxes) as part of the incentive.

City Manager Tom Fromme recalled becoming a police officer in the city four decades ago and noted the poor condition of these two streets then. "A lot of those homes had stone foundations and we used to make calls up there to some people's homes and the houses were literally falling off their foundations," he said.

Additionally, the commission approved a change of three blocks of Thornton Street to become one-way headed west between Isabella and Brighton streets. That change is expected to take effect in September.

Fromme said that many residents had complained about the increase in traffic since the opening of the expanded Kentucky Route 9, which is named Lowell Street in this part of the city.

Fromme shared some recent numbers collected showing that 150 cars a day used the 300 block of Thornton, while 400 a day used the 400 block, and 200 a day used the 500 block. He said that those numbers would likely have been higher had the COVID-19 pandemic not impacted workers' commutes.

"We felt going westbound to be the best solution for everybody," Fromme said. "This is only the beginning of potential changes down the road. We know we have a lot of issues we need to study with the west side, not only because of Route 9, but because of other changes to Route 9 that will be coming."

One of those issues is an anticipated stoplight at 12th Street, he said.

The city commission also approved a development moratorium in an area bounded by Fifth Street to the north, the Licking River to the west, Brighton Street to the east, and Hodge Street to the south, so as to allow time to review the city's forthcoming comprehensive plan.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo via Meierjohan Building Group

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