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Communities around CVG's Amazon Prime hub brace for rapid expansion

Posted at 1:31 AM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 10:32:24-05

BURLINGTON, Ky. — By the time it’s finished in 2026, Amazon Prime's air hub will bring thousands of jobs to Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport and thousands of people to surrounding communities. The companies building the hundreds of townhomes, condos and houses throughout Boone County are counting on it.

Rob Butcher, Burlington’s assistant fire chief, said Monday night he was bracing for impact. Although he’s grateful to see development in his city, he knows his department will have to stretch to accommodate it.

“The curse is the demand for service,” he said. “While we’re here to meet that demand, it’s getting more and more each year.”

The Burlington Fire Department has seven full-time staffers. To prepare for Amazon’s arrival, Butcher said, they’re leaning on technology — a mechanical CPR device and automatic ventilator, to start — to help them process calls as efficiently as possible. He expects both devices to free a few hands at a time.

“It’s going to allow the full-time staff that are there to remain available for what we call overlapping responses,” he said.

Joyce McNeely, owner of Washington Square restaurant in downtown Burlington, said she was slightly more anxious. The development surrounding her community feels like it’s been accelerating.

“With the Aero Parkway, the Amazon development, all of a sudden it’s gotten a little crazy,” she said.

She wasn’t sure if crazy would be good or bad for her restaurant.

“Where are all the people going to come from, that work these jobs?” she said of the Amazon hub. “What's it going to do for small businesses, to try to find more people, when we can't find them now?"

Butcher said he’s optimistic. He added he wants people in Burlington to know the fire department is working full time to ensure it can serve a rapidly growing population.

"You're very well protected,” he said. “In the past you were, in the present you are, and in the future you will be. We're constantly working behind the scenes to ensure that we meet your needs right when you need us."