Newport has released its 2022 annual report, which covers things like city highlights from new businesses to the number of police calls last year.
The report also went into some future projects to look forward to this year.
Newport City Manager Tom Fromme said the U.S. 27/Carothers improvements and the Peace Bell mixed-use development would begin this year.
He said the plans for the U.S. 27/Carothers improvements are almost finalized by the engineering company, and the city will bid for those in the next couple of months.
The project includes adding more drains on the road to help with standing and rising water problems. They will also switch to underground utilities along U.S. 27, which will involve getting rid of the power poles.
The most significant component of the plans, Fromme said, is a 10 to 12-foot walkway from 11th Street up to the Southgate city limits, which will allow for cyclists and pedestrians to walk.
“Sidewalks will be elevated so it’ll be less hazardous for pedestrians and bicycles both,” Fromme said.
According to Fromme, the Peace Bell mixed-use development supplementary planning had been in the works for some time.
Those development plans call for a hotel, office space, and a parking garage, with the Peace Bell remaining on site.
Renderings for the project have begun, and the developer has started working with an architectural firm.
Fromme said he is also looking forward to Homearama coming to Newport June 10-23. Homearama is an annual exhibition of Greater Cincinnati homes that features the latest and greatest in home and landscape design.
“We’re all excited about that,” Fromme said. “I think it’s going to be a really big show out for Newport and for the region.”
Many ribbon-cutting events were held in the city for new businesses, and some familiar faces moved into new locations last year.
Here are a few highlights:
Fleurish Grounds/ Flow Koffee and Kombucha
Fleurish Grounds plant shop partnered with Flow Koffee and Kombucha and moved into the old Monroe Market building at 846 Monroe St.
Fleurish Grounds, whose original storefront was in Madisonville, picked up and moved shop to Newport in February last year. Flow Koffee and Kombucha had a shorter move, just down the street from its previous location at 121 W. 10th St.
Another February 2022 opening from last year was the reopening of Purple Poulet, which moved from Dayton to Newport at 846 York St.
After being closed due to the pandemic in August 2021, the restaurant decided to move into a larger location that could offer outdoor seating.
Bourbon House Pizza
Bourbon House Pizza opened its second location and chose 100 Aqua Way in Newport for its home in May 2022.
The original location operates in Florence.
Roebling Point Books & Coffee
Another Northern Kentucky business that chose to make Newport the home of its second location is Roebling Point Book & Coffee. They opened their location at 601 Overton St. in March 2022.
A hot topic of 2022 for the city was when the White Castle at 1 W 5th St. would reopen. The location held a grand reopening on Nov. 15 after undergoing renovations.
The reopening took on a meme-like role in the Newport Community Discussion group on Facebook over the weeks it was closed.
Some other businesses that held ribbon cuttings last year were Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria at 336 Monmouth St., 927 Reserve at 927 Monmouth St. and Shiners on the Levee at 1 Levee Way.
The Newport Police Department was up on calls for service last year compared to 2021 but down from 2017-2020.
In 2022 the department responded to 26,239 calls for service, or approximately 71 calls per day.
Other types of responses the department made were traffic citations, physical arrests, traffic accident reports, offense reports, and responses to resistance.
Last year they also upgraded crosswalks near city parks and schools, upgraded the Newport Police Department body camera system and implemented a Newport Drone Program.
“They upgraded crosswalks to make them more prominent with the paint and made them wider, rather than just the typical two white lines across the street,” Fromme said.
Newport Police Chief Christopher Fangman said to use a drone for commercial purposes, they had to get a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification.
Fangman said they sent a sergeant to start the program and train other officers to comply with the FAA regulations.
“A lot of people figure it’s a drone; I can just fly it more like a toy, but everything we’re going to do is typically for what they consider a commercial purpose,” Fangman said. “People don’t realize it, but Lunken Airport is so close to this area, there’s a lot of airways that people are not allowed to be in.”
Fangman said he started researching the new body camera system about five years ago.
He said the department decided to switch to Axon body cameras.
“It’s the Cadillac of body cams, is the gold standard in our profession to have Axon body cams,” Fangman said. “Most if not all, the major cities from what I see typically have them.”
Public Works Department
The Newport Public Works department made replacing playground equipment a priority last year. They received a grant to replace the equipment at Buena Vista Park and Ralph Mussman Park.
“We plan on replacing equipment, at additional parks as well as we move forward,” Fromme said.
According to the annual report, the finance department wrote its first budget book in years, showcasing the work they do in collecting revenue and ensuring expenses are used appropriately. They are responsible for occupational licensing, rentals, alcohol beverage control and taxes.
They are also responsible for ensuring all funds are categorized and available when needed.