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The following Op-Ed was published in the River City News on 12/29/20

By Jessica Fette 

ERLANGER, Ky. — 2020 has been, to say the least, an incredibly challenging year. The covid-19 pandemic changed the way we worked, educated kids, ran businesses, shopped and interacted with one another. It made too many people sick and took too many lives.  

With vaccines now beginning to be distributed, there is reason for optimism and hope. And while many of us want to forget 2020, it was actually a very good year for business growth, expansions and opportunities in the City of Erlanger. 

Our administration has strived to position Erlanger as a fertile ground for new and existing businesses to grow and expand. We have reduced property, tangible and insurance taxes, kept regulations in check and maintained an open line of communication with all of our business leaders, particularly during these unprecedented times.  

Erlanger provides tremendous city services and offers incentives to businesses both large and small that provide financial flexibility. Businesses locating here benefit from our proximity to the booming Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Interstate 75 and downtown Cincinnati.  

By locating to Erlanger, businesses have access to a large and diverse workforce due to being conveniently located near two other states.  

Among Erlanger’s 2020 business success stories are: 

  • Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc., a premier leader and employer in the air cargo industry, opened its $34.1 million, 600-job operations center this year. 
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a nonprofit charity that annually serves more than 1 million veterans throughout the country, announced it is relocating its national headquarters to Erlanger. 
  • Amazon opened a 575,000-square-foot sort facility on Erlanger Road near the airport that will employ 250 workers. 
  • Coca-Cola Consolidated, which opened a $33 million distribution on the site of the former Showcase Cinemas in 2019, continued to hire workers this year. 
  • New small businesses, including Garzelli’s Pub & Pizza and El Nopal Mexican restaurant, opened along the thriving Dixie Highway corridor. Small businesses are the backbone of a community, and we are always thrilled and honored when their owners choose Erlanger to launch or grow their operations.  
  • The city launched a demolition grant incentive. Under the program, a real estate owner with a qualifying residential or commercial property and a demolition proposal may be reimbursed with a grant for up to $10,000 or 10 percent of the post-demolition property value, whichever is less.   

We also want to take a moment to once again give our appreciation to former Economic Development Director Dave Hahn, who retired this year after 38 years with the city. Dave was a tremendous asset to the residents and businesses of Erlanger. .  

And while Dave can never be truly replaced, we welcome Emi Randall as Erlanger’s new director of economic development. We are confident that Emi will continue Erlanger’s great success with business attraction and retention. 

As a founder of the Erlanger Business Council, I can attest to the strength and fraternal bond of our local business community. In both prosperous and turbulent times, our local business community has always been there to support one another.  

On behalf of the entire city of Erlanger, we wish everyone a happy New Year and look forward to a safe and prosperous 2021. 

Jessica Fette is the mayor of Erlanger.