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Riverfront Development Moves Forward

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COVINGTON, Ky. – The City of Covington is moving forward with riverfront redevelopment plans.

At Tuesday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting, Assistant City Manager Larisa Sims presented the Mayor and Commissioners with a draft plan of possible enhancements to the City’s Riverfront Commons Design.

The design plan, completed by Woolpert, Human Nature, and Kolar Design, is a listing of various features and enhancements that could be incorporated into Covington’s riverfront development as work moves forward. 

“The goal of this plan is to build on practical measures, like riverbank stabilization, to create a regional public asset focused on both economic development and community wellbeing,” said Mayor Sherry Carran.

Currently, the City is awaiting U.S. Army Corp of Engineers approval for the initial stabilization and infrastructure improvement plans.

This first phase of work is being completed due in part to a $3.9 million grant awarded by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to Covington in September 2015. It includes riverbank stabilization, construction of a large plaza, biking and pedestrian paths along the Ohio River, water access for kayaking, and several other upgrades.

“The concepts in this new design are intended to enhance the foundation of infrastructure improvements that will soon be underway. They include several possible activities that would draw visitors to Covington’s riverfront when events are not in progress,” explained Sims. “They are improvements that are both unique to the region and complementary to what already exists.”

The plan identifies several key locations along the riverfront for amenities that enhance the pedestrian experience with interactive human-scale components such as water features, public art, and recreation. These additions are also intended to activate underutilized spaces in new ways.

The proposed enhancements focus on creating a regional hub for civic gathering and strengthening the connections between the riverfront, Covington’s neighborhoods, and Cincinnati’s riverfront.

The City is currently seeking funding opportunities to bring the proposed enhancement to fruition, including grants and private donors.

Riverfront Commons was not the only infrastructure project addressed at the meeting.

The Mayor and Commissioners approved contracts for road and sidewalk reconstruction on sections of both RiverCenter Boulevard and Latonia Avenue. Both projects received a transportation grant from OKI Regional Council of Governments to cover the majority of project costs.

The RiverCenter reconstruction includes complete pavement replacement, sidewalk widening, new pedestrian lighting and new landscaping utilizing $712,800 in OKI funds. The Latonia reconstruction includes complete pavement and sidewalk replacement, utilizing $628,000 in OKI funds. The grants have a 20% match requirement that will be paid for by the City’s annual CDBG allocation.

Also approved was the hiring of two new Patrol Officers in the Covington Police Department. The two hires follow the resignation of two officers at the City’s February 9 Commission Meeting, keeping the Police Department staffing level at 110.