survey La Granges
potential for moving forward
hope new ideas will emerge
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (February 2011) Linda Goin
firmly believes La Grange has potential and she is determined to prove
it. As executive director of Discover Downtown La Grange, Goin feels
compelled to make sure the city goes beyond anyones expectations.
To some, these expectations may have waned over the years when planned
projects didnt materialize. But now, with the help of the University
of Cincinnati, a group of graduate level students are planning to redesign
the town and create a whole new future for residents and visitors alike.
The students visited La Grange on Jan. 15 to hold an introductory
meeting, Goin said. They studied hardscape, design and economic
The meeting was held in the Rob Morris Educational Building on the grounds
of the Oldham County History Center. Approximately 50 people attended,
with 20 of them students, said Goin. Afterward, they took photos and
spoke to individuals in the community.
The meeting was absolutely successful, she said. Discover
Downtown La Grange had asked several community leaders to sit on a panel
to listen and ask questions of the students.
DDL is active in the community having recently elected four new board
members and moved into the Little Blue House in mid-January. The building
is owned by the city of La Grange.
Led by Michael Romanos, professor of Planning and Economic Development
at the University of Cincinnati School of Planning, the students visited
La Grange for the first time in November 2010. Goin met Romanos, who
is also director of the Center for Research in Urban Development, and
decided the timing was perfect for such a project because it followed
on the coattails of the tourism consultant Roger Brooks visit,
Brooks, founder of Destination Development International, has visited
the county before to assess its potential for development. He has assisted
communities around the world, transforming them into more attractive
places to live, work and visit.
Brooks gave us an overview of the county during his last visit. La Grange
Mayor Bill Lammlein said he hopes the city can take what (Brooks)
came up with and the university and meld it together.
Lammlein said the benefit to La Grange is that the project gives
us a plan. The problem with La Grange and Oldham County in general,
is that there are no future plans. He hopes the city will use
this project as a blueprint plan to move forward within the next five
to 10 years.
In the 35 years he has lived in Oldham County, Lammlein said there have
been some positive changes, and some negative changes over the
years. You never have all positive changes; unfortunately, thats
due to a lack of planning.
Lammlein said he would like to see an interurban park built within the
historic district limits. It would be a sort of family gathering
place, containing a water park, skate park, amphitheater and farmers
He said it is a privilege to work with the University of Cincinnati.
Having outside experienced eyes to recognize what issues could
be improved upon is a huge benefit for us, said Linda Corbin,
chair for the La Grange Historic Districts Commission. They listened
to our concerns. Some ideas could be expanded farther than the city.
She conceded that La Grange has seen a lot of changes recently with
the election of a new mayor and a not-so-perfect economy. Both of these
leave the city open for suggestions upon improvement.
As a follow-up measure, a charette is planned for Feb. 12. Students
will come back with a proposal and get feedback, Goin said. This
charette will be vital to the community to see how to re-use the
There will be a cost to the city for the strategy the University of
Cincinnati puts together, based upon expenses incurred. I can
tell you it is the bargain of a lifetime, said Lammlein.
Back to February 2011