The Voice - March 2019

State of the City 2019

By City Manager Tom Fromme


As we head into the new year, we pause to reflect on the success of the past, goals for the next year, and to strategize about the challenges ahead. In 2018 we celebrated numerous ground breakings and ribbon cuttings in all the various business districts in the city. Corporex announced that the Ovation project would soon be breaking ground after many years. The long awaited, multi-year, Route 9 project came to completion with the construction of its final phase, opening up a new growth corridor for the city. New Riff opened its west side location in 2018, and the Academy on 4th Residential development broke ground.

On the fiscal side, the city also continued to grow. For the calendar year 2018, the city ended with a general fund cash balance of $3,425,880, up $400,000 from 2017. Due to this, the city was able for the first time in over ten years not to renew the short-term tax anticipation note (TAN), and to establish a reserve fund. Our 2018-2019 budget reflected success with revenues surpassing budgeted projections. Over the last four years, the city's net payroll revenues have grown over $1,000,000. In 2018 the city gained a net 40 new companies doing business in the city, with 124 net new employees.

Business growth in the city continues to increase, which is critical since we rely on payroll as our primary source of revenue, accounting for approximately 35% of all revenue. Our largest or fastest growing businesses are PL Marketing, Kroger, Defender Direct, Divisions, Inc., Impact Sales, St. Elizabeth, DJ Joseph Co., National Band and Tag Co. Inc., I-Wireless, and Nexigen Communications.

While great things are happening in the city, we also face challenges in this new year. Increased costs related to personnel, specifically, crippling increases in pension costs dictated by the state, are expected to increase by $1.6 million over the next few years.

Due to the mandated pension increase and other rising costs, we are looking at ways to maintain an adequate level of service in the future within the constraints of our revenue. Perhaps the most difficult challenge for Newport and for surrounding cities is addressing the delivery of public services to our residents. We continue to operate with a very small efficient staff and make every effort to provide a high quality of service in a cost-effective manner (having reduced  city staffing by nearly 30 employees in recent years). Currently we have approximately 115 full time employees, with more than 80 in public safety.

The city has continued to invest in its aging infrastructure and equipment, however aging infrastructure and rising costs continue to be a challenge. During the next few years, we anticipate spending several million dollars on infrastructure related projects and equipment acquisition, including upgrades to the 800 MHz radio system used for public safety. The 2018-2019 budget and work priorities include a focus on capital improvements, including extending the funds from the 2015 bond issuance for several major ongoing projects.

Much was accomplished in 2018, and 2019 continues to look very promising. Construction on Ovation and changes at Newport on the Levee will kick off the year with a flourish. Construction on Carothers Road and design work on the South Monmouth street (US 27) will commence this year, including a partnership with surrounding cities on smart corridor initiatives. We will continue with our city-wide street repaving program and paver replacement and streetscape improvements on Monmouth Street. Bernadette Watkins Park in the West Side will continue to be developed.

Our goals for 2019 continue to include further redevelopment of residential and commercial properties, working on quality of life issues such as parks and recreation, and maintaining a safe walkable community. From a fiscal perspective, we continue working on growing revenues and keeping our expenses reasonable.

The goals for 2019 are listed in their entirety in the Annual Report and metrics can be found on our transparency portal.

As always, if you have any questions, email or call my office at 859-292-3687. Great things are happening in Newport! Thanks for your efforts to continue to make Newport a great place to live, work, shop, and play.

NBA March Meeting at Newport on the Levee

By Bev Holiday, NBA Vice President

The Newport Business Association (NBA) will feature a panel discussion on "Business Incentives/Programs and City Parks Quality of Life Event" followed by a Newport on the Levee update and tour at its meeting on Wednesday, March 27, at 8:00 am. The meeting will begin in the meeting room on the second floor of the main building in Newport on the Levee, and is free to attend and open to the public.

NKY Restoration Weekend Returns on March 9

By Scott Clark, Newport Historic Preservation Officer

Newport Intermediate School, designed by Architect C.C. Weber. Photo courtesy of Campbell County Property Valuation Administrator.

Newport Intermediate School, designed by Architect C.C. Weber. Photo courtesy of Campbell County Property Valuation Administrator.

This year’s Northern Kentucky Restoration Weekend will be held on Saturday, March 9, at Newport Intermediate School (95 W. 9th Street).

This free educational event includes a day of workshops and seminars on a range of topics related to historic properties: projects, rehabilitation, research, and maintenance focusing on strategies, materials, and techniques. The event highlights the reuse of historic materials and rehabilitation according to the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation.

Topics include:

  • Masonry Restoration

  • Chimneys and Fireplaces

  • Solar Power Your Historic House

  • Taking Care of Your Historic Trees

  • Make Your House Energy Efficient

  • Nuts and Bolts of Electrical Wiring

  • Roofs

  • Gutters

  • Architect C.C. Weber designs (including Newport Intermediate School)

  • Walking Tours (including Happy Hour at the Crazy Fox Saloon)

  • And more!

Several Newport residents and businesses are part of the presentation team and vendors. Along with the presentations, seminars, and workshops there is a Vendors Fair including a Taste and Talk with free lunch for all attendees to enhance interaction between vendors and attendees.

RSVP encouraged. Register for classes here.

NKY Restoration Weekend is presented by these partners: City of Newport, City of Covington, City of Bellevue, American Chimney, Cincinnati Preservation Association, and Tiburon Energy and Construction.

Veteran Educator Dennis Maines Named Principal of Newport Intermediate School


By Kelly Middleton, Superintendent

Veteran educator Dennis Maines, who most recently served as Superintendent of the Silver Grove Independent School District, has been named principal of Newport Intermediate School.

Maines — a Dayton, Ky. native who has worked more that 30 years in education as a custodian, teacher, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent — began his new position Wednesday. He replaces Bob Seiter, who stepped down from the position.

"It is not every day that you find someone with Dennis's depth and breadth of experience as an educator, someone who has worked from the classified position to the superintendent's office," said Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Kelly Middleton. "Dennis is a tremendous addition to our school system, and I am confident he will be an outstanding leader of Newport Intermediate School."

Maines left Silver Grove due to the district's pending merger with the Campbell County School District. He had been Superintendent of the district since 2016.

"I have always been up for a new challenge, and I'm honored and excited to be the new principal at Newport Intermediate School," Maines said. "What I have learned over my years in education is that with the right attitude, the right collaboration, and the right staff members, challenges become opportunities. We have a lot of opportunities in Newport and can achieve much success by working together and helping our students reach for and achieve their dreams."

Maines began his career in education as a freshman at Dayton High School, working all four years as a custodian. He enrolled in night school at Northern Kentucky University and continued to work for the Dayton Independent School District as the monitor of the in school suspension program at Lincoln Elementary and as a worker in the district's maintenance department.

After graduating from NKU, Maines worked in the Covington Independent Public Schools, first as a teacher at Sixth District Elementary School, as an assistant principal at Two Rivers Middle School, and as principal at Holmes High School.

Maines served as principal of Bracken County High School prior to becoming Silver Grove superintendent. He received his superintendent certification through the University of Kentucky.

"I worked on just about every rung on the ladder of education," Maines said, "and I truly believe that has contributed to my overall knowledge of how schools work."

Historic Murals at Southgate Street School Might Be Start of Art Zone

By Nick Miller, Newport Historic Preservation Commission

Courtesy of art students at Northern Kentucky University, new murals depicting Newport’s past now adorn what city officials and volunteers would like to see transform into an Arts Zone around the historic Southgate Street School.

Until desegregation in the 1950s, Southgate was a “blacks only” school that served as a path to opportunity for the African American community. The building assumed its new role as the city history museum in 2017 with support from Newport Foundation, Inc.


The four murals are mounted along the brick street on the back of the Steinhauser Inc. Building, just across from the former school at the western boundary of Mansion Hill.

NKU art professor Kevin Muente said the murals include historic depictions of the school, the Newport Fire Department, the city’s Sin City era and the Ohio River (shown during a flood).

The focus on historic authenticity includes a largely black-and-white palette and attention to detail accuracy. One mural depicting a busy Monmouth Street at night even includes an inset that shows someone (possibly a gangster) being issued a criminal citation by police.

Art student Gina Erardi said working on the project gave her the personal reward of community engagement at a level that surprised her. The students worked from old photographs to paint the murals. One day Gina was walking along Newport’s streets, as she often does, when a sudden sense of place and connectivity struck her.

“I stopped still, struck with an extreme case of déjà vu,” Erardi said. “I realized that I was standing in the very same spot on Monmouth Street that I had been painting for the past several weeks, a street that had completely transformed in recent decades to the naked eye.”

Experiences like this are what city officials would like more people who visit and live in Newport to have, especially as Newport continues to enhance its vibrancy and popularity as an engaging place to live, work, and play.

NKU’s work at the school/museum is just one of several projects the university and its students are assisting with in Newport, according to Mark Neikirk, executive director of Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement at NKU. He said the work reflects NKU’s culture, which includes an emphasis on direct involvement in communities surrounding the university.

To learn more about the Newport History Museum at the Southgate Street School, including information about upcoming events, visit our Facebook page.

Newport Independent Schools Presents Shrek the Musical

By Susan Whitehead, Assistant Director


It is with great excitement that I invite my neighbors to the Newport Schools production of Shrek the Musical. The student actors, under the direction of drama teacher Ms. Brittany Stacy, will bring the adventures of Shrek the Ogre, long-suffering Princess Fiona, talkative Donkey, diminutive Lord Farquaad, and a host of displaced fairy tale creatures to life on the stage at Newport High School.  

The performances are Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29, at 7:00 pm and Sunday, March 31, at 2:00 pm at the Newport High School auditorium. Admission is free but donations appreciated. To reserve free tickets call 859-292-2800 or email

This is Ms. Stacy’s thirteenth production at Newport Schools and she now has a seasoned group of actors, stagehands, set and prop creators, and lighting and sound technicians along with a bevy of new students learning the craft. In addition, East Row neighbor Wes Ledyard is designing and making some of the costumes. The actors will be accompanied by Mr. Ian Stokes, Newport High School music director, and a group of musicians from the area.  

The senior student actors portraying Shrek, Fiona, Lord Farquaad, and several of the fairy tale creatures will soon be leaving the swamp, tower, and castle for new adventures at Columbia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Berea College, DePaul University, Campbellsville University, Northern Kentucky University, and other exciting locales. I have been involved with this program since 2012, and it is gratifying for me to see the students grow in confidence and dedication as the bar is raised with evermore challenging productions. I promise you will enjoy the show.

Newport Business Association Award Presentations


By Bev Holiday, NBA Vice President

The Newport Business Association (NBA) Annual Meeting and Presentation of Awards was held Wednesday, February 26, at The Newport Syndicate. Mayor Jerry Peluso presented the 2019 Officers and Board of Directors and administered an oath upholding the NBA's Mission Statement, which is to serve the local businesses through its problem-solving forum, unified voice to policy makers, and through its member support, education, and networking.

The following Officers and Board of Directors were installed:

  • Officers

    • President: Mark Ramler, Mansion Hill Properties

    • Vice President: Bev Holiday, City of Newport

    • Secretary: Tammy Weidinger, Brighton Center

    • Treasurer: Drew Bach, Michael P. Bach, P.S.C.

  • Renewed Board Members

    • Michael Bach, Michael P. Bach, P.S.C.

    • Chris Bednar, Nexigen & Newport Park Renaissance, Chair

    • Lynne Cole, Republic Bank

    • David Dalton, The Think Shop

    • Charlie Fry, Master Fry Defense Systems

    • John Marlow, Mokka and the Sunset Bar & Grill

    • Jack Moreland, Southbank Partners

  • New Board Members

    • Matt Atkins, Primary Principal at Newport Independent School District

    • Joe Klare, The Catalytic Fund

    • Justin Otto, Newport on the Levee

    • Rachel Roberts, The Yoga Bar

    • Mike Smith, Headquarters Event Center

  • Director Emeritus

    • Marvin Polinsky (retired), Saul's Men's & Boy's Wear

The following awards were presented:

  • Community Leadership 2018

    • BB Riverboats

  • Volunteers of the Year 2018

    • Emily Carabello, Trash Bash Challenge Coordinator

    • Susan Whitehead, Newport Independent Schools Drama Department

  • Business of the Year 2018

    • Cookie Jar Bakery, 91 years in the city

    • Dixie Chili and Deli, 90 years in the city

  • New Business of the Year 2018

    • Hal-Pe Associates Engineering Services, Inc.

    • Headquarters Historic Event Center

  • Special Recognition Award — Stewardship Preservation

    • Newport Grand Lodge 120 for maintaining the former Southgate Street School and providing space for the Newport History Museum @ The Southgate Street School at 215 E. Southgate Street

  • NBA Director Emeritus Board Member

    • Marvin Polinsky

New Neighbor Welcome Party


Join the East Row Welcoming Committee for our next New Neighbor Welcome Party on Wednesday, March 20, from 7 pm to 9 pm at the East Row Pool and Social Club (Nelson Place and Linden Avenue). We will have neighbors and representatives of local groups on hand to greet you and welcome you to the wonderful things that are happening in the East Row. We provide the beverages; feel free to bring a snack to share.