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Goal, Strategies and Initiatives

It used to be that regions grew because of natural resources or trade routes. Today, regions grow because they have highly educated and productive people. These individuals are in demand and can choose where they live and work. To attract and retain skilled and talented workers, Northern Kentucky set the goal of being recognized internationally, nationally and regionally for its livability for all residents.

Seven strategies for achieving livable communities:

  1. Establish an integrated system of regional parks, green space and tourist destinations
  2. Promote the development of an international community that attracts, retains and celebrates people from diverse backgrounds
  3. Foster a vibrant arts, cultural and entertainment community
  4. Conduct ongoing health and social assessments and implement a comprehensive regional approach to meet and fund those needs
  5. Replace the Brent Spence Bridge with an internationally acclaimed design
  6. Enhance our quality of life by addressing our infrastructure and environmental needs with a balanced approach to our region’s growth
  7. Expand the use and reach of our non-rail transit system throughout our region

Latest Developments on Related Initiatives

Health Needs Assessment

For more than 18 months, Northern Kentuckians worked to assess the needs of health in our region. Now it is time to implement solutions. The plan to achieve the vision of “Thriving people living healthy lifestyles in a vibrant community” has been printed and distributed to more than 300 assessment workgroups and other community members.

Vision 2015 along with United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce have released an update on progress made and data collected since the Vision for a Healthy and Vibrant Community Report was released a little over a year ago.

Under the leadership of Vision 2015 RSC member Leshia Lyman, the “Connecting to Health Team” comprised of leaders from all major health providers in Northern Kentucky: St. Elizabeth Healthcare, HealthPoint, Northern Kentucky Health Department, NorthKey and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as well as HealthCare Access Now, United Way and Vision 2015, has been formed to develop and monitor community level indicators of health and identify strategies for improving access to health care.

This team was charged with addressing the accessibility issues called out in the Vision for a Healthy and Vibrant Community report as identified by local citizens and stakeholders. The Connecting to Health Team took time to do additional research and analyze existing data from a variety of sources to initially find that the most pressing need is in Grant County. Further targeting of the research and on-the-ground data gathering, however, has allowed the Connecting to Health team to elaborate on the need, which now appears to be more related to connectivity than accessibility, due to factors including poverty, transportation challenges and cultural norms. The Connecting to Health team is working with health care and community leaders in Grant County to better understand use of the existing health care system and develop specific strategies to address potential provider/patient connectivity issues as well as other factors that may improve the overall health of Grant County residents.

Child Health Report

In addition to the implementation of our regional health and social needs assessment, work has also continued in Northern Kentucky on other specific aspects of health and its impact on people’s daily lives and livelihoods. In April 2010, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Child Policy Research Center published Child Health in Northern Kentucky with Vision 2015 and the VHVC effort. Click here to access the full report.

Bold Goals

Also, in February 2011, United Way released Bold Goals for Income, Education and Health along with Agenda 360, Vision 2015, and many community partners. These Bold Goals represent a system-wide approach to large-scale change and achievement. Under the Health framework for helping individuals live quality lives and achieve maximum health and independence, two specific goals are 1.) By 2020, at least 70% of the community will report having excellent or very good health and 2.) By 2020, at least 95% of the community will report having a usual place to go for medical care. These clear goals represent a collaborative effort to achieve our health-related objectives and provide further support for the regional health assessment and planning efforts described above. For more on the Bold Goals, click here.

Sustainability Leadership Forum

Vision 2015 joined Agenda 360 to host an invitation-only “Sustainability Leadership Forum” on Friday, March 25. Key leaders from a wide range of organizations, businesses and governmental entities in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area heard about best practices in three similar communities – Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Kansas City – and engaged in a dialogue about the benefits and mechanics of developing a collaborative sustainability initiative in our region. During the Forum, the strong case for economic returns and return on investment for communities and companies involved in these initiatives elsewhere were emphasized by attending sustainability managers from companies such as Kroger, Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati Zoo and others. Since the Forum took place, the audience comments have been analyzed, and a group who indicated a strong interest in holding a leadership role in the initiative has met twice to define sustainability, begin selection of potential metrics to gauge impact, create possible formats for a backbone organization and participating “panels” of the Green Umbrella organization to serve the sustainability network.

Licking River Greenway and Trails

In 2008, Vision 2015 published the Licking River Greenway and Trails masterplan. In 2010, with the help of consultants, municipalities and volunteers, design standards were finalized to assure that the trails developed are consistent through out the region.

The immediate focuses of the Licking River project is to 1) Obtain funding to pave the first mile of trail on the Covington floodwall (a state grant has been received but additional funds are being pursued including several grant to national foundations). 2) Determine an organizational structure for governance of the Trails and Greenway (an inter-local agreement has been finalizedCovington, Wilder and Taylor Mill).

The Licking River project has received good news in terms of project funding and cooperation from the cities adjacent to the Licking. A recreational trails grant in the amount of $80,000 has been secured to build phase I of paved trail from Randolph Park to Holmes High School in Covington. The full cost of this phase is $260,000. $20,000 has been donated by a private citizen and the City will fund a portion of this out of their general fund as well as doing a lot of the work in-house. This first phase will allow us to test our design standards and get a tangible piece of the trail in place for residents to use and enjoy. The paved trail is expected to be complete in the fall of 2011.

The Kenton County Conservancy has received $20,000 from Greater Cincinnati Foundation for Greenway restoration and the Conservancy has donated an additional $10,000 from SD1 Consent Decree funds. These funds have allowed us to work with the Center for Applied Ecology at NKU to develop a Greenway Restoration handbook and work plan.

Community volunteer days are scheduled for 2011. The next day is Saturday, September 10th from 9am – noon. Contact the Covington Recreation Department or Emily Dydo (edydo@vision2015.org) to volunteer.

Northern Kentucky has formed the Licking River Brownfield Coalition. The Coalition is under the leadership of the Northern Kentucky Area Development District, Campbell County and the City of Covington. $200,000 has been obtained for Petroleum Brownfield assessment.

Greater Cincinnati Commitment

The Greater Cincinnati Commitment is a movement to make our region a welcoming and inclusive model for the nation and the world. The Commitment itself is a pledge adopted by organizations, communities and individuals who agree to embrace the commitments of diversity and inclusion in their daily lives.

The Commitment has been endorsed by 34 organizations, 18 of which have assigned resources to the working committees of the Alliance. Vision 2015 now joins Agenda 360 and other regional entities in the Alliance.

Financial Stability

On June 17, 2008 United Way of Greater Cincinnati hosted a Financial Stability Summit. The Summit was an unprecedented convening of key stakeholders from our region to improve our efforts in helping individuals and families move toward financial stability. The goal was to work toward an integrated, high-impact regional financial stability system, taking into consideration research and best practices, and organizing support for key policy reforms. Following the Summit, a group of over 50 agencies and numerous stakeholders and community leaders came together to form the Financial Stability Coordinating Council. Eight task forces were identified by the Coordinating Council. Five were already in existence, but their work would need to be expanded or aligned to get the most impact. The Task Forces are as follows:

  • Career Pathways and Middle-Skill Jobs
  • Hard2Hire Network
  • Default and Foreclosure Prevention
  • Benefits Take-Up
  • New Financial Products
  • Financial Education, Credit Counseling and Credit Repair
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Centers for Financial Stability