Thursday, September 07, 2000

N. Ky. boosters raise money


$2 million would go through Forward Quest for 'quality of life'

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — Business and community leaders unveiled a campaign Wednesday morning to raise $2 million for “quality of life” projects in Northern Kentucky.

        The Forward Northern Kentucky Campaign will use the money to further and fund the goals of Forward Quest, a 6-year-old organization charting the region's vision for growth and development while striving to improve the lives of Northern Kentucky residents.

        The fund drive should take about a month to complete and organizers are confident they will meet and possibly beat the $2 million goal.

        “This community always steps up to help everyone improve their lives,” said lawyer Bill Robinson, a partner with Greenbaum Doll & McDonald in Covington and one of the campaign's co-chairmen.

        The major donors are typically corporations and corporate foundations.

        Forward Quest, the brain child of developer Bill Butler, president and chairman of Covington-based Corporex Cos., pursues strategic initiatives in six areas: economic development; education; governance; regionalism; human services; and culture, entertainment and the arts.

        Money raised will help pay for projects and programs in those areas, said campaign co-chairman Jim Willman, vice president of operations at the Drawbridge Inn in Fort Mitchell.

        “By making a contribution ... you support improving the quality of life in Northern Kentucky,” Mr. Willman told a group of community, business and political leaders Wednesday during a breakfast held to announce the campaign.

        Among the projects:

        • The Urban Learning Center in Covington, which provides low-cost college courses and technical training to mostly inner-city adults. The center — a partnership between Forward Quest, Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More College, Northern Kentucky Technical College, Covington Independent Schools and the Covington Community Center — has grown from two courses and 40 students in 1998 to nine courses and 149 students this year.

        • The Dry Creek Regional Park, a 900-acre park being developed in northern Kenton County.

        • The Ohio River Path, a walking and bike trail planned along the river through Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties.

        • The Sky Loop, a planned transit system that would connect Cincinnati, Covington and Newport with an overhead monorail.

        About 80 percent of the money raised in the campaign will go to Forward Quest with the remaining 20 percent earmarked for the charitable foundation operated by the Tri-County Economic Development Corp., or Tri-ED, the region's economic recruitment agency.

        The group has a significant jump on raising the money, Mr. Robinson announced. The following “early bird” givers have already pledged $500,000 to the effort, he said:

        • Ashland Inc.

        • The Drees Co.

        • Cincinnati Bell Foundation.

        • Scripps Howard Foundation.

        • Jim Huff Realty.

        • Huntington Bank.

        • Bank One.

        • Drawbridge Inn.

        • The law firm of Greenbaum, Doll & McDonald.

       



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