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Southbank Partners unveils new branding along with updated five-year strategic plan

Southbank Partners for 25 years has helped lead the development, enhancement, and revitalization of Northern Kentucky’s river cities. It now builds on that success and sets course for the next 25 years with a rebranding and launch of its new five-year strategic plan, Innovate 2028: Transforming Urban Communities.

Building upon its Imagination 2020 plan, the Innovate 2028 plan will guide the organization’s pursuits in the transformation of Northern Kentucky’s urban communities through transportation and infrastructure, vibrancy and placemaking, and entrepreneurship and small business.

“Southbank Partners is excited to announce the Innovate 2028 five-year strategic plan, the culmination of each of its partner cities comprehensive plans into one action plan that will bring vision to reality for the creation of connected communities, vibrant riverfronts, and resilient downtowns in the urban core of Northern Kentucky,” said Southbank Partners President & CEO Will Weber.

Signature projects

Signature projects of the new plan include working with regional partners to:

• Expand Riverfront Commons – an 11.5 mile walking, biking, running path from Ludlow to Fort Thomas – into a 20-mile multi-use trail connecting Devou Park to Pendery Park along the riverfront

• Develop the U.S. 27 Smart Corridor – a 6-mile corridor piloting new innovative technology to connect Newport to Highland Heights in Campbell County

• Cultivate a Scale-Up Ecosystem that helps small businesses start, thrive, and stay in NKY

Leading the rebranding is a newly designed logo that features iconic landmarks representing themes found throughout the urban core of Northern Kentucky, including:

• Entertainment & Tourism – features the World Peace Bell, formerly the world’s largest swinging bell, a regional landmark commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

• History – features the iconic 102-foot limestone Water Tower which marks the entrance to Tower Park

• Worship – features a church steeple representing the many places of worship found through the region and the beautifully preserved architecture

• Working & Dining – features the RiverCenter Towers a complete mixed-use complex with premier offices, 360-degree views and chef-inspired award-winning restaurants

• Learning and Volunteering – features an institutional or civic building which represents education as a life-long journey and civic engagement as a point of pride

• Living – features The Ascent designed by a world-renowned architect and one of the most recognizable and unique high-rise developments

• Physical Environment – features a sun for a community on the rise with green and blue lines representing greenways and blueways as the new highways for urban communities and catalysts for billion-dollar developments

• Built Environment – features the skyline which shows a region united as an unbridled destination for every season of life today and tomorrow

“The new Southbank Partners logo showcases iconic landmarks representing the different aspects of life found at the intersection of multi-use trails and mixed-use developments,” Weber said. “In the urban core, grit and grind are a way of life – we are blue collar, white collar, and no collar.

“Whether it be through entertainment, living, dining, working, worshiping, learning, or volunteering – we do life together and our region is an unbridled destination for every season of life.”

Innovate 2028: Transforming Urban Communities

Following are the three pillars of the Innovate 2028 five-year strategic plan:

Transportation & Infrastructure

• Lead multi-modal interconnectivity projects between the cities by expanding Riverfront Commons for urban, suburban, and rural access

• Prioritize greenways and blueways as the new highways for urban cities by marketing and promoting Riverfront Commons as a safe, reliable, and essential transportation network, and connecting to city parks and other multi-modal trails

• Advocate for modernized transportation facilities and assets by transitioning from time based to active demand management systems, replacing, and upgrading bridges – including the Fourth Street Bridge between Covington and Newport – and funding the rehabilitation of streets and roads – including Mary Ingles Highway through Dayton and Fort Thomas

• Supporting, expanding, and upgrading multi-modal transportation facilities, assets and options

• Upgrading infrastructure for continued growth by integrating Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in key areas and creating a regional infrastructure plan for the urban core

• Mitigate, prevent, and manage the impacts of flooding

Vibrancy & Placemaking

• Embrace technology in the public right-of-way to create smart cities, corridors and communities that serve people and solve real-world problems, including the US-27 Smart Corridor, a six-mile corridor from Newport through Southgate and Fort Thomas to Highland Heights utilizing innovative technology to improve safety, access, air quality, and economic competitiveness

• Create and enhance third places and green spaces by coordinating wayfinding and assisting with gateway signage specific to the identity of each community; promoting business districts and mixed-use developments; supporting creative placemaking efforts – including The Purple People Bridge; and showcasing active and passive outdoor recreation assets

• Activating underutilized spaces by showcasing the identity of each community at the intersection of their history, culture and entertainment that will bring the communities together and encourage the integration of form and function to create a sense of place in areas such as flood walls, water tanks and alleys

Entrepreneurship & Small Business

• Encourage investment and development in the region by promoting areas for new and expanding small businesses to grow and thrive; convene conversations and facilitate teamwork across city limits

• Cultivate a multi-faceted ecosystem for entrepreneurs to start, thrive, and stay by creating a NKY Scale-Up Ecosystem with regional partners

• Connect small businesses with resources by collaborating with service providers to assist growing small businesses and creating an entrepreneurship support asset map that can direct small businesses to the appropriate resources.

Southbank Partners is a non-profit regional economic development organization that promotes and coordinates economic development for the creation of connected communities, vibrant riverfronts, and resilient downtowns by facilitating collaboration, bringing vision to reality, and providing a unified voice to represent the common needs and interests of its partnering cities.

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