Who needs a formal ‘opening’?

Zahrah enjoys the tunnel slide at the newly renovated Barb Cook Park in Latonia.

Ribbon cutting Saturday, but new Barb Cook Park already in full use

COVINGTON, Ky. – Every time Covington Parks & Rec Manager Ben Oldiges drives past Barb Cook Park in Latonia, he sees first-hand evidence that the park’s recent renovation was long overdue: 

“It’s filled with kids almost every single day,” Oldiges said.
Meanwhile, families are holding picnics under the new shelter. And over at the Covington Street Hockey League rink across the street, slashing skate action is taking place several times a week.
This Saturday, the City will formally and ceremonially cut the ribbon on the recent $300,000-plus upgrade, the third to be finished in its ongoing parks redevelopment schedule.
The “Grand Opening” event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the park, which straddles Ashland Avenue at its intersection with Madison Pike. It will include food trucks and festivities.
(Attendees should be mindful of COVID-related safety protocols, including social distancing. Masks are advised. Chairs are also recommended if you plan to watch street hockey.)
The rehab of the park – which is named after a long-time Latonia neighborhood advocate – included an array of new play equipment for young children (including a “playstructure,” swings, and “sway bench”), concrete walking paths, and infrastructure for family cookouts (including a 20-foot by 20-foot picnic shelter on a concrete pad, grills, picnic tables, benches etc.)
Across the street, a partnership with the Covington Street Hockey League led to a rink being built with private funds where the long-closed tennis courts used to be.
The brightly colored purple, yellow, and blue play equipment is indicative of the new energy brought to the park, Oldiges said.
“It was small, outdated, and almost sad-looking before, but now it’s vibrant and there’s a lot of excitement surrounding it,” he said.
Future work on Barb Cook will include major improvements to the basketball courts, including resurfacing and new goals, Oldiges said. The court will also be striped not only for basketball but also for other games, such as four-square, volleyball, and pickleball (a trendy new sport that mixes tennis with badminton and table tennis).
The fourth park in Parks & Rec’s redevelopment schedule is Goebel Park in MainStrasse Village. Design work is underway now, he said, including on a new dog park.