Loveland City Manager David Kennedy previews the coming year

By Chuck Gibson 

City of Loveland Logo (Logo Photo-Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND – Any peek into the future of Historic Downtown Loveland for 2020 and beyond has to start with a look at parking and traffic flow needs. Loveland City Manager David Kennedy offers a look at a variety of things in sight for the coming year.

 “One of them is that we continue to advance the parking and the traffic needs for downtown,” said Kennedy. “We recognize that we need to keep tweaking downtown. We’re on the heels of the downtown plan and that has brought to our eyes some of the items we need to look at.”

Kennedy expects to look out his office window and see the parking garage built. He knows the public must be engaged, see the plan, know the plan, and buy-in to the plan before it can happen. Most will quickly point to the benefits of adding nearly 300 parking spaces as reason enough to get the parking project done. What is equally important is how it will improve traffic flow. Traffic flow from Brandywine, Butterworth, and Clermont County side on S.R. 48 will have a new option into town before the “Firehouse” intersection.

 “There will be a whole new roadway into town,” Kennedy said. “This is clearly the biggest project. It’s certainly the biggest project I’ve ever been part of.”

Aerial view of proposed parking site visible from City Manager’s office window (Provided)

The parking project is the biggest project for Kennedy and Loveland as a community. His goal to get it done correctly makes it the biggest challenge too. The city is heading into a comprehensive plan for the future. That’s why focus was on downtown and parks first, so they would not be lost in the vision of a comprehensive development plan for the future.

 There have been little things that add up to big things along the way. Kennedy talked about the City of Loveland Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA – Open Container) district new list of events approved for 2020 at the January 14, Council Meeting.

New this year will be “Sip & Shop” events aimed at giving ladies a chance to walk around town visiting their favorite shops while casually enjoying sips of their favorite wine or other adult beverage. Loveland will continue to limit open container to the 18 events approved, holding off on making it effective 24/7 as other municipalities have done.

Beautification projects, sidewalks, and investments along the Loveland-Madeira Rd. corridor all add to the allure of Loveland. Kennedy credits Clerk of Council Misty Brents with spearheading the creation of the first “Loveland U” program. 

Newly reopened Tano’s with newly paved sidewalks out front will make Sip & Shop events fun and easy (Photo-Chuck Gibson)

It is a program for residents to learn all about how the city operates; how the various departments of the city operate. The first class graduated and many participants have become members of various city committees for future planning and improvements.

Parking concept site plan 1 (Provided)

Approximate location of new entry into proposed parking lot off S.R. 48 will provide better traffic flow options for residents coming down S.R. 48 (Photo-Chuck Gibson)

Road rehab and paving project jump into view for 2020 after parking and traffic flow. City Engineer, Cindy Klopfenstein and Public Works Director Scott Wisby will wait until winter has done its worst before finalizing a streets plan for paving and repair. The budget has been increased to $750,000 this year from the 2014 low of just $240,000. Kennedy says tapping into State and Federal funding grants brings taxpayers dollars back to benefit the community.

“It’s a big year that we finally listened that a city our size should be 750 or we’re just going backwards,” said Kennedy. “That’s a big addition we’re all proud of; something we’re all talking about.”

With Tano’s, Ramsey’s and Bishop’s Quarter all completed, opened and thriving, new sidewalk paving was completed in front of their buildings. Similar new sidewalk paving is already underway in front of the brown building across the street.

Bishop’s Quarter, Tano’s, and Ramsey’s are all thriving. (Photo-Chuck Gibson)

Kennedy likes technology. He sees the benefits of technology for communities like Loveland. It is no surprise then to hear him express enthusiasm for technology advances coming to Loveland in 2020.

“I think one of the things we’re really excited about is we’re going to be a ‘Smart City’ this year,” Kennedy said. “Downtown Loveland is going to be full Wi-Fi. It’s us, Florence, parts of Over-the-Rhine, it’s a big deal; full Wi-Fi.”  

New paving construction in front of brown building across from Tano’s is already underway (Photo:Chuck Gibson)

Becoming a “Smart City” will allow Loveland to use Wi-Fi technology to see and track activity, to greet visitors, to allow businesses to sponsor events. Wi-Fi will be mounted on all city-owned buildings, city hall, the amphitheater, fire department and other buildings with permission of building owners like the Fire Association Moose Lodge and more. Kennedy sees the technology creating an ability to monitor and control street traffic in such a way drivers would never get a red light, for example, on West Loveland Avenue unless a car actually approaches from a side street like Wall Street.

 Kennedy offered a great deal many more examples and details of what 2020 looks like for Loveland. He couldn’t hide his enthusiasm for the future coming into focus for the community. 

Kennedy will reveal all the details during his presentation during the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance “State of the Region” presentation Wednesday, January 22, at 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in RSVP. NOTE: Register to attend – Fees are $30 for members and $35 for non-members (Lunch included)

“I like taking steps for things that will go on long after I’m gone,” said Kennedy. “I love the ‘Smart City’ technology and how that will grow over the years when we finally get what it all means.”

Click here for details on the LMRCA State of the Region event

Click here for more on City of Loveland