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Kenton County | Waterfront enterprises, bustling economy

Roebling Suspension Bridge

Formed in 1840 and named in honor of pioneer Simon Kenton, Kenton County is the third most populous county in Kentucky, behind Jefferson (Louisville) and Fayette (Lexington). The city of Covington is directly across the Ohio River from Cincinnati over the picturesque John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge built in 1866. Roebling, a German engineer, would go on to build the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

As of October 2019, Kenton County Government Center has a new location. Formerly the Bavarian Brewery, the 4.5-acre property is housing two dozen governmental agencies and offices, including the county attorney, county clerk, PVA, treasury and business services, technology services, and planning and development services.

In the spring of 2019 Perfetti Van Melle moved its warehouse and distribution center from Hebron to Commerce Center in Erlanger, making it closer to the confection company’s existing manufacturing facility in Erlanger. Globally headquartered in Italy and the Netherlands with U.S. operations solely in Kenton County, Perfetti Van Melle markets Airheads, Mentos and other confectionery and chewing gum products. The new distribution center in Erlanger will be shipping nearly 13 million cases of product each year to 1,100 locations.

STEAM education comprises science, technology, engineering, arts and math curricula. Ignite Institute, a STEAM center for high school students, opened at the Roebling Innovation Center in Erlanger, Ky., just in time for the 2019-20 school year. Formerly the Erlanger Engineering Laboratory Building, the Kenton County facility was donated to Boone County Schools by Toyota, which operated an engineering facility in Erlanger from the summer of 2007 until 2014 when it announced the closing of the Northern Kentucky plant.

The 11.5-mile outdoor trail named Riverfront Commons will connect six Northern Kentucky river cities to one another: two in Kenton County (Covington and Ludlow) and four in Campbell County (Bellevue, Dayton, Fort Thomas and Newport). The 2.7-mile section in Covington has an anticipated completion date of October 2020 and will include a 1,350-seat amphitheater and a river launch for kayaks and canoes, among other features of the $6.54 million project.

Kenton County

Estimated 2020 population: 166,051

Households: 62,929

Median household income: $58,674

County seats: Covington, Mayor Joe Meyer, covingtonky.gov and Independence, Mayor Chris Reinersman, cityofindependence.org

Judge/Executive: Kris Knochelmann, kentoncounty.org

Chamber of Commerce: Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, nkychamber.com

Economic Development Authority: Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED), northernkentuckyusa.com