Coghlan on Newport
Even in greater proportion than Covington, Newport is a bedroom of Cincinnati. Covington’s considerable manufactures plus its larger retail section furnishes employment to many more persons than does Newport. The bulk of the latter’s population works in Cincinnati or is supported by earnings from the other side of the river.
Every evening between 4 and 6, something like 7,500 persons board surface cars in the Dixie Terminal on their way to their homes in Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Fort Thomas, Clifton, and Southgate. These are all Campbell cities, of which Newport is the largest.
To those who are unfamiliar with the geography of this section of Kentucky, perhaps it should be explained that the heavily populated northern tips of both Kenton and Campbell counties touch the Ohio at a point opposite Cincinnati. The Licking River forms the boundary between Kenton and Campbell and empties into the Ohio just across from the Queen City. Just west of the Licking at its mouth lies Covington. Just east of the Licking’s mouth lie Newport and all of the smaller cities surrounding it.
Newport itself is one square mile, and it is quite as thickly built up as the congested districts of Chicago and New York. Bellevue, with 8,000 lies next to Newport. Dayton, with approximately the same population, is up the river from Bellevue. Fort Thomas, with 5,000, lies around a bend of the Ohio. Clifton, with 2,000, lies up the Licking behind Newport, as does Southgate, with about 700. Newport itself has a population of 30,000.
Besides furnishing thousands of workers for Ohio, Newport has something like a dozen or a dozen and a half of industries of its own. The city’s chief industry is the manufacture of iron and steel products. Like Covington, Newport has no large hotel (a small, modern hotel, however, was recently opened), no theatre excepting cinema ones, and no newspaper. Looking to Cincinnati for work, it also looks toward Cincinnati for play.
Newport is connected with Cincinnati by a bridge crossed by surface cars charging a 5-cent fare. A toll of 2 cents is collected from foot passengers, with commensurate charges for vehicles. Covington and Newport, likewise, are connected with a bridge over the Licking which is owned by both cities and which is still a toll bridge, despite efforts to have passage made free.
Campbell’s Million Dollar Bond Issue
Next March, Campbell County will begin to see the results of its decision to rebuild the county’s primary road system. For then one-half of its road bond issue will be sold.
Last August the citizens of Campbell County did a brave thing, and so far as Kentucky goes, a decidedly unusual thing.
It voted a bond issue of $1,000,000. There are any number of Kentucky counties which have voted bonds in the sum of $100,000 or $200,000, but few, if any, who have jumped into the road-building ring with a million.
Campbell is one of Kentucky’s smallest counties, with a square mileage of only 145. The metropolitan character of its northern section, however, makes it one of the most heavily populated, with 62,000 inhabitants. The million dollar bond issue, divided per capita, places a burden of more than $16 upon the head of each man, woman and child in the county.
Campbell, if it simply had to have a bond issue to ease conscience, might well have proposed the conventional $200,000 and been satisfied.
But it happened that there was a coterie of public-spirited citizens who made up their minds that, if any road-building was to be done, it must be comprehensive and thorough.
Practically as the price for their efforts in the campaign, they demanded that the sky be the limit. A million dollars was fixed as the least sum, whereupon the fur flew.
Expenses for the campaign were made up by private subscription, citizens of every rank and age, even unions which were then engaged in a strike, giving voluntary to the cause.
Conducted by Planning Commission
The campaign itself was conducted by the Campbell County Planning Commission, a non-partisan organization of citizens representing nearly every social, communal, agricultural or commercial interest in the county.
With this commission behind the bond issue, the campaign assumed the aspect of a pure civic movement having no political significance and serving no selfish ends.
William C. Buten, county judge, it is declared, was the inspiration for the good roads movement and who was one of the important factors in the success of the campaign, explained that the commission had three ends in view in urging the bond issue on the people.
First, to convince them that nearly everyone would derive immediate benefit from the reconstruction and improvement of the roads. This was done by preparing maps showing the many roads affected.
Second, to explain carefully that just how much in increased levies each taxpayer would be required to pay. This was done by computing the difference between the present county revenue and the amount that would be needed to pay interest on and retire the bonds.
Third, to get the confidence of the taxpayer that the money would be honestly, conscientiously and efficiently spent and administered. To that end a bond commission of four bankers who are well known and highly regarded was designated.
It is expected that it will take about three years to complete the system of county roads.
The pike from Newport to Alexandria, which was purchased by State and county last year, has been taken over by the State, and, with the exception of two miles, has been completed.
In addition to this road, the State will take over one of two roads leading from Alexandria to the southern part of the county. Before it was purchased, the Alexandria Pike was a toll road, one of the few of its kind in Kentucky.
One hundred and forty miles of Campbell county road will be affected by the bond issue. There are about fifty separate projects.
Would Have Taken Sixty Years
In the absence of the bond issue it would have taken sixty years to build 140 miles of road. The general road fund is too small to do much but repair existing roads. As it is, Campbell will be covered with hard surfaced road in almost the time it takes to tell it.
The members of the Campbell county Planning commission who succeeded in the management of the campaign are: W. J. Baker, Southgate, president; Hubbard Schwartz, Dayton, campaign manager; Joseph Trapp, Campbell County Agricultural Society, secretary; Fred Dorsel, Newport Rotary Club, treasurer; John Klotzbach, Licking River Improvement Association; Sam Sprague, Dry Ridge; Joseph Hewling, Kenton and Campbell county Trades and Labor Assembly; Dr. C. W. Dorsey, city of Bellevue; Hubbard Schwartz, city of Dayton; G. Sid Daniels, Campbell county Business Men’s Club; Roland Pyne, city of Fort Thomas; Louis Clark, Campbell County Milk Producers’ Association; Dr. C. W. Shaw, town of Alexandria; Chester A. Silva, Newport Chamber of Commerce; Thornton Painter, Carthage Good Roads Association; Joseph Neltner, Ross, Camp Springs, Silver Grove; Edward Widrig, city of Newport; Anton Seiter, Gubser Mill; Worth Gosney, Grant’s Lick; Robert Snow, city of Clifton; Dr. Harry Gieskemeyer, West Fort Thomas Welfare Association; W. H. D. Wheat, Campbell County Good Roads Association; Dr. G. W. Ragan, Cold Spring precinct; Dr. J. A. Winkler, Cote Brilliante.
The members of the bond commission are: A. M. Larkin, cashier, American National Bank, Newport; Joseph Meagher, cashier, Newport National Bank; Charles A. Patzold, vice-president, Bellevue Commercial & Savings Bank; Andrew Thurner, president, Bank of Alexandria.
John Rawlings, County engineer, and County Commissioners Louis Brandt, Charles Dodsworth, and August Trapp rendered valuable aid.
The success of Campbell’s bond issue was a triumph of the very thorough and competent organization whose one purpose was to serve the community. By doing such a capital piece of work the members of that organization have helped to give Campbell front rank in the list of progressive Kentucky counties.
This is from the Louisville Post, of February 20, 1923, by Ralph Coghlan.