Northern Kentucky planning commission gives local young adults a voice

The Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission is conducting a young adult survey to get a better understanding of the different amenities young adults are looking for in their community.

Ed Dietrich, a principal planner for the NKAPC is working on a comprehensive plan for Kenton County called Direction 2030 and said that current research showed that there is a change in how people want to live.

“Nationally, there seems to be a movement towards downtown living in an urban environment,” Dietrich said. “We’re wanting to know if that is actually occurring here [in Northern Kentucky].”

Dietrich said he always liked planning and that he went back after years of being out of school and got a master’s in planning.

“I like being involved, not in creating change, but helping it develop,” Dietrich said.

Along with reaching out to NKU students, the planning commission has also reached out to Thomas More College and Gateway Community College as well as Legacy, a young adult professional organization through the Chamber of Commerce

After the survey is over, Dietrich said he will compile the results and find out if there are any patterns or correlations and then take that information to the planning task force, the group overseeing the comprehensive plan.

“We’ll discuss [the answers] and they may influence the recommendations we put into the plan,” Dietrich said.

In general, the NKAPC’s goal is to create places where people want to live and where they want to stay to raise a family, Dietrich said.

“That’s why we asked people what they want, so we can work with the private developing community and get these areas the way people want them,” Dietrich said.

The survey is looking for what changes people want to see over the next 15-20 years. The commission is asking young adults now so that they have a better idea of what changes to make in the future.

“It takes a lot of time to change the built environment,” Dietrich said.

The NKAPC had a few public meetings and they found the average age of those in attendance was 50, so the survey was a way to find out what young people want.

Emily Fox, an undeclared freshman, said she thought it was really important that NKACP find out what young adults are looking for because “they make up a large part of the community.”

Fox said she will probably move after graduation. However, new amenities might cause her to stay local but it’s still “more of an area thing than a ‘what’s-around-it’ thing.”

Yinze Li, junior accounting major, is an international student from China. He said he’d probably stay local after graduation but would like to see more entertainment and shopping in the area.

“More activities here, more places for young adults to go,” Li said. He said these could also bring more job opportunities to the area.

Manuel Garcia, senior computer science major, is also an international student. Though he will be moving for a job after graduation, he said it’s important for cities to seek opinions from young adults because “it’s a good way to improve, to listen to the community.”

“Every time I go downtown, I just see something new and it’s clear that the city is changing,” Garcia said. “It’s getting better.”

Garcia mentioned the new casino, the new social life and the improvements that have been made in areas like Over-the-Rhine and said that’s what make people go and stay at a place.

“You know, if they feel happy, that’s the key,” Garcia said.

The survey will be open until November 8 and can be found at