Thursday, September 20, 2001

Monmouth businesses get break

State grant lowers revamp assessments

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — City officials were able to further lower streetscape assessment costs to property owners on Monmouth Street with the help of a $400,000 grant this week from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

        The grant, from the Cabinet's highway project contingency account, will drop the assessment payments from property owners 56 percent from the original figure of $35.98 per linear front foot.

        This is the second state grant for Newport since city commissioners approved the $4 million streetscape project for Monmouth Street in March. The project includes all new sidewalks and curbs, removal of all overhead wires and utility poles, and putting electrical lines under ground.

        “I think the city has lived up to its commitment of getting additional money to reduce the assessments to property owners,” Newport City Manager Phil Ciafardini said Tuesday. “We felt confident we could get something, but we didn't know when it would happen. We are happy we were able to get this additional money.”

        Newport, which hopes the newly dubbed “South of the Levee” area will benefit from foot traffic from Newport on the Levee, received $400,000 from the Transportation Cabinet in July. The money was applied to the streetscape project, dropping the assessment per linear front foot to $23.53.

        With the assessment now at $15.77 per linear front foot, the typical Monmouth Street property owner who has a 35-foot frontage will pay $707 less per year than originally proposed, for a savings of $7,070 over 10 years.

        The streetscape assessments, as approved by commissioners, won't start for three years and then will be spaced out over a 10-year period.

        “We are committed to a downtown revitalization,” Mr. Ciafardini said. “We can't make downtown businesses successful, but we can create the atmosphere for them to succeed. We hope the business owners will continue to work with us.”

        Mr. Ciafardini said Newport Mayor Tom Guidugli and State Rep. Jim Callahan (D-Wilder) were instrumental in obtaining the latest grant.


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