Friday, January 18, 2002

Florence Mayor Whalen files to run for re-election

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FLORENCE — Mayor Diane Whalen, who was elected in 1998 to succeed her long-time friend and late mayor Evelyn Kalb and followed in the footsteps of her father, who was mayor for nearly 20 years, filed Thursday to run for re-election.

        Mrs. Whalen, 46 and a life-long Florence resident, so far is the only person to file to run for mayor in the Nov. 4 election, which falls on her birthday. Her father, C.M. “Hop” Ewing, signed her filing application.

        “I didn't really have to give a lot of thought to running again for mayor, because there are so many things I want to see accomplished in the city,” she said Thursday. “There are a number of projects that have been in the planning stages since I was elected 3 1/2 years ago, and we're finally seeing these things happening.”

        Among the projects that have been completed or are in the works during Mrs. Whalen's watch:

        • Preparations to break ground for a $4 million aquatic center, skate park and additional parking on property adjacent to the Florence Government Center on Ewing Boulevard.

        • Real-time online tax payments available for Florence residents.

        • Working cooperatively with Boone County officials to bring offices of the county clerk and Circuit Court clerk to the government center to make government services more available to the public.

        • Purchase of eight acres on Burlington Pike earmarked for a city park.

        “What's so exciting about the possibility of staying in office is that it takes so long in the process to see things actually happen, and now we're very close,” Mrs. Whalen said. “Florence is now officially the second largest city in Northern Kentucky, as of the 2000 census, and we're continuing to grow.”

        She looks ahead to several major projects for the city, including the rebuilding of Dream Street, a major commercial center for the city that has fallen into disrepair, and development of a master plan for Mall Road, a study jointly funded by the city, the county, the Boone County Planning Commission and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

        “And we continue to move forward with plans for a minor league baseball park at I-75 and U.S. 42,” the mayor said. “We expect to receive figures in the next two weeks from the appraisers for the property we want to purchase. Council is optimistic that we can make the ball park and a minor league team a reality for the city.”


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