COVINGTON, KY - Major projects impacting the future of Covington were approved Tuesday night by the Covington Board of Commissioners.
The largest project approved was the construction of a new Devou Park Golf Course Clubhouse.
The $5.25 million cost will be paid for by Devou Park Trust and Drees Pavilion funds. These are not tax funds, but dollars donated to the City to improve Devou Park. The Board of Devou Properties, Inc. (Drees Pavilion) has committed $2 million to the project. The Devou Park Trust will provide an additional $250,000 from their funds and the operating income of the clubhouse.
The current clubhouse was constructed in 1934. A feasibility study determined it was cost prohibitive to renovate the facility so plans for a new facility have been drafted. Community input relating to the design of the clubhouse was encouraged, considered and received at several meetings.
The new clubhouse will feature a geothermal heating and cooling system, rental space for private events, and a Devou Park Ranger station.
The new amenities will not only be available to golfers. The clubhouse will also provide a place for any visitor to purchase food and drink, rent bikes and obtain general information about Devou Park.
Construction is expected to begin within the immediate future, and be complete by March 2017.
On Tuesday, contracts for road work on RiverCenter Boulevard and Latonia Avenue were approved.
The roadway and sidewalks on West RiverCenter Boulevard from West 3rd Street toward Madison Avenue will be reconstructed. The goal of this project is to make vehicular and pedestrian connections between the hotels, businesses and the Convention Center in this area safer and more attractive.
Latonia Avenue from Southern Avenue to just east of West 36th Street will be completely reconstructed. This is an important commercial corridor in Latonia.
Both roadway projects received 80 percent of their funding from Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) grant awards, amounting to $712,800 for the RiverCenter Boulevard reconstruction and $628,000 for the Latonia Avenue reconstruction.
The City formalized its relationship with the Devou Park Trails Collective, the volunteer organization who constructs, maintains, and manages the 240-acre Devou Park backcountry trails. The Collective has constructed and maintained over 10 miles of sustainable hiking and mountain biking paths in the park since 2008 using nearly $200,000 in grant funds and anonymous donations. The trails and adjoining park space are a popular recreational amenity, and have provided a location for the Pan-American Cyclocross Championships two years in a row.
Repairs to the Licking River levee system were approved. The City has been monitoring a landslide in the area and has developed plans with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for repair. Now that plans are complete, the City has been asked by the USACE to complete work as soon as possible.
Three new police officers were hired. These officers are lateral hires from other cities and therefore will be able to start immediately, having already completed the necessary 23-week training academy. The hiring of these officers fulfills three of the four additional officer positions recently approved by the City Commission.
Payments to beneficiaries of the City's two retirement funds were also approved. The 69 individuals receiving a monthly benefit from the City's Police and Fireman's Retirement Fund and the 37 receiving a monthly benefit from the City Employees Retirement Fund will each receive an additional $300 lump sum payment without any negative effect to the funds' financially sustainability.
Contracts to demolish unsafe and blighted structures located throughout the City, and landscaping for the remaining lots were approved. The goal of removing these dilapidated structures is to improve public safety and property values.
A contract for crime analysis software, paid for by a federal grant award, was approved. Acquiring and implementing this software is an important step in the City's move to incorporating data and technology into its everyday operations. It will help to increase transparency and add a new crime-fighting tool to the Police Department.