NKY leaders prioritize projects for state funding

The Brent Spence Bridge has been tapped as the top regional priority
The Brent Spence Bridge has been tapped as the top regional priority

FORT MITCHELL, KY (FOX19) - A group of more than 50 leaders in Northern Kentucky met Wednesday morning to determine eight projects as priorities for state funding during upcoming sessions of the General Assembly in Frankfort.

An open call for projects was held earlier this year resulting in 13 projects being submitted for consideration by Consensus Committee in April. The group was then responsible for identifying and prioritizing a list of important capital projects for the Northern Kentucky region.

The projects receiving support from the Consensus Committee to request state funding immediately are as follows in the categories listed:


Brent Spence Bridge Corridor

Build a new bridge parallel to the existing Brent Spence Bridge.  Since opening in 1963, the Brent Spence Bridge has become one of the most congested interstate bridges in the country.  The current average daily traffic totals 160,000 vehicles on a bridge originally built to carry 80,000 vehicles daily.  The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor is a key economic backbone that connects Northern Michigan to Miami.  The current value of yearly freight crossing the Bridge is more than $400 billion, and the value of freight is expected to grow to $800 billion annually by 2030.  This 6.2 mile project is vital to Northern Kentucky, the Southwest Ohio region, multi-state commerce and the national transport of freight.


Northern Kentucky Convention Center Expansion 

Expand the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.  Since it began operations in 1999, the Convention Center has fulfilled its promise to the Commonwealth and region. Booked business has exceeded initial projections by 38% and has generated an economic impact of $918 million.  To continue growth and attract even larger conventions, an additional ballroom and 20 additional meeting rooms need to be added. (Funding request: $50 million)


Postsecondary Education

Urban Campus of Gateway Community & Technical College    

Build a major learning facility in the urban core.  Gateway's commitment to build a learning facility in the urban core of the region is consistent with the mission of KCTCS and the needs of our community. Current facilities are inadequate and not accessible to residents of the urban core. The proposed facility will be approximately 85,000 to 100,000 square feet and will serve as a hub of activity to urban residents and reach out to school districts in the urban core to ensure smooth transition from secondary to postsecondary education.  (Funding request: $21.5 million)

Health Innovations Center / Renovation of Old Science Building - Northern Kentucky University

Build the new Health Innovations Center and renovate the Old Science Building. The Health Innovations Center will bring together the University's health care related disciplines to create interdisciplinary programs focused on teaching, community engagement, partnerships and applied research in ways that will impact the region's economic vitality. The Center will house advanced programs in psychology, nursing, radiological technology and respiratory therapy and help meet the region's demand for quality health care professionals. Opened in 1974, the Old Science Building (Founder's Hall) is essential to the University's operations and is in drastic need of renovation. Funds are needed to install/replace the HVAC system, wiring, sprinklers, lighting, restrooms, fire alarm system and roof.  (Funding request: $92.5 million)


Replacement Of Aging Water Lines

Replace aging water lines.  The river cities of Bromley, Covington, Ludlow, Bellevue, Newport and Dayton share over 175 miles of unlined cast iron water lines varying in age from 60 to 110 years old. Replacement of these lines is critical to residential, commercial and industrial customers, as well as to overall public health.  The Northern Kentucky Water District is able to provide $69 million in local dollars for this $138 million project. (Funding request: $69 million)

Silver Grove Pump Station Improvements

Complete the Silver Grove Pump Station improvements.  This project will  address a public health issue in Silver Grove, mitigate raw sewage eruptions above Northern Kentucky drinking water intakes, mitigate combined sewer overflows in the river cities of Northern Kentucky, assist in providing capacity for development, and provide additional flow to the Eastern Regional Reclamation Facility. (Funding request: $25.5 million)

Economic Development & Tourism

Lake Williamstown Expansion

Build a new dam and expand Lake Williamstown.  This project will provide a needed, new dam on Lake Williamstown and expand the Lake from 300 to 1300 acres. The new dam and larger lake will double the water supply and significantly impact the regional economy through housing development, discretionary spending by new residents and the attraction of visitors to both Grant and Pendleton Counties.  (Funding request: $57.6 million)

Riverfront Commons / Licking River Greenway (Phase I)   

Address erosion problems and develop a pedestrian pathway along the Ohio River and hiking and walking trails along the Licking River.  This project will address serious riverbank erosion along the south shore of the Ohio River, create a multi-use pedestrian pathway connecting the river cities of Northern Kentucky, linking residential and commercial locations, recreational opportunities, tourist attractions and art and cultural sites, and provide a hiking and walking trail along both sides of the Licking River from the Ohio River to I-275. Phase I of the project will correct two of the most critical erosion problems along the Ohio River and create the first trail section of the Licking River Greenway. (Phase I Funding request: $7.4 million)


Economic Development & Tourism

Realignment of Kentucky Routes 8 & 9 in Newport

Realign Kentucky Routes 8 & 9 in Newport. This project will realign Kentucky Routes 8 & 9 at the Ovation Mixed Use Project in Newport to alleviate traffic congestion, open the riverfront to the region by providing a major access point, improve the city core of Newport, facilitate economic development and increase tourism.  (Funding request: $12.5 million)

Covington Square and Public Market

Develop a multi-use green space, year-round public market and outdoor theater in downtown Covington near the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.  This facility will support economic development and tourism in Northern Kentucky and also provide an attractive recreational venue for citizens of Northern Kentucky.  (Funding request: $14 million)


Adolescent Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Facility

Build a residential substance abuse treatment facility for adolescents (ages 12 to 17). This project will provide a much needed 16-bed long-term (3-6 months) residential treatment program for teenagers in our region. (Funding request: $2.4 million)

Postsecondary Education

New Carrolton Campus of Jefferson Community & Technical College

Build a new Carrollton Campus of Jefferson Community & Technical College.  The Carrollton Campus originally opened in a shopping center in 1990 and moved to a renovated department store in 1994.  The current location has exhausted its available space and cannot meet the demands of students, business and the community.  This project will provide a new 40,000 square foot facility.  (Funding request: $12 million)

Economic Development & Transportation

Tri-County Regional Airport

Build an airport in Gallatin County.  This funding request will be devoted to acquiring land adjacent to Interstate 71 to construct a 6,000 foot runway to serve Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana as a "reliever" airport. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved funding for construction costs, estimated to be $15 million.  (Funding request: $7 million)