In the year since Jon Cross returned to Kenton to lead the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, he has encouraged officials to think about long-term plans for the community. He said a lot of good ideas have come to the table from Mayor Randy Manns and members of City Council, and now is the time to assess the city’s strategic priorities.
Cross, at Monday’s meeting of Kenton City Council, said the city needs to organize those ideas and create a 10-year Community Development Plan. He suggested they could be compiled in goals that can be accomplished in one to five years, more than five years and 10 years, with the cost growing as the length of the project increases. Projects that lead to new jobs would rank high on the list.
For instance, Cross said, one project could involve improving the infrastructure leading to the Hardin County Rail Logistics Center on U.S. 68 at the south edge of the city, identified recently by site selectors as a prime industrial location. Cross said this project could be accomplished in the next 10 years.
To accommodate more jobs, however, first the city would need to develop a labor pool, he said. Those new jobs would lead to improvements in the quality of life, Cross said.
Councilman Brian Hattery agreed with Cross about the importance of developing a labor force for the creation of new jobs. He said the city must make it a priority to secure more jobs and businesses to build Kenton’s tax base and provide more funds for projects. “Jobs are the only way for the city to grow and become healthier,” Hattery said.
In a meeting with Cross earlier on Monday, Mayor Randy Manns outlined five goals he would like to see accomplished:
• Development of a city trash services plan;
• Improvement of city parks;
• Improvement of the Scioto River bridge corridor;
• Develop a north/south through traffic realignment; and
• Improve the city’s sidewalks.
Manns said he would like to meet with council “to see if our goals mesh” and to develop a game plan to move forward.
Council President Joel Althauser agrees. He said the city’s strategic planning is at a point “where we need to start putting it all together.” Althauser said it is important that the city get priorities down on paper, prioritize them and move forward.
A meeting will be held to discuss such a plan. Althauser said he will poll members about options for a meeting date which will be announced later.