‘Future landmarks’ begin with Quality of Place grants

Photo: Kentucky-born artist Jonathan Queen will create the "Shogun Sanders" mural at Earth to Kentucky. Queen’s public murals and work, which include “Fresh Harvest,” “Carol Ann’s Carousel,” and “Cincinnati Toy Heritage,” are featured prominently throughout downtown Cincinnati.

12 projects to create bold designs throughout the city

COVINGTON, Ky. – An alien sculpture on the side of a parking garage, a mural depicting Col. Harlan Sanders (but as a Japanese military leader), and welcoming benches designed to look like an open book are among the 12 creative ideas that will receive funding under the City’s new Quality of Place Grant program.

The 12 grant recipients – selected from 20 submitted proposals – presented projects that support the Economic Development Department’s strategic focus on “Experiencing Covington” and embrace its “manifesto,” which points out that The Cov is on “the bold side of the river …where past meets progress … and y’all really means all.”

It’s an authentically quirky aesthetic that gets results.

“The City believes, and has seen evidence that it’s true, that our quirky vibe has a direct pay-off by helping to attract businesses and jobs,” said the City’s Economic Development Director Tom West.

The grants were recently approved by the Covington Board of Commissioners.

The City had allocated $125,000 for the program from its General Fund, and applicants could request a grant of $1,000 to $30,000. But because of the number and quality of applications, additional money was set aside from ARPA funds. Funding totaled $214,425.

From the General Fund:

  • $25,000 for “Great Things Ahead,” a mural, lighting, and bird netting at the Pike & Russell streets underpass, (to Janet Creekmore).
  • $15,000 for “Shogun Sanders,” a mural on the side of 863 Main St., the home of Earth to Kentucky, (to Earth to Kentucky LLC/Polly Benzing).
  • $22,500 for “Immersion Alley,” a mural with 3D elements on either side of Tobacco Alley, (to Amy Milburn).
  • $15,000 for “Go with Glow,” which will activate the intersection at Greenup and Third streets with benches, planters, bike racks, a bike repair station, and maps of bicycle-pedestrian infrastructure, (to The Center for Great Neighborhoods).
  • $25,000 for “Alien Sculpture,” a fiberglass and Styrofoam sculpture on the side of the  Midtown Parking Garage at Fifth & Scott streets, (to AlloyFX).
  • $20,000 for “Everybody’s Bench,” an artistic bench with a canopy of acrylic panels outside the U.S. Post Office at Scott and Seventh streets, (to Morgan Daruwala).

From ARPA funds:

  • $10,000 for mural on the side of the Latonia Commerce Shopping Plaza, (to CovCor).
  • $15,000 for Stewart Ironworks mural on the retaining wall at 17th Street and Madison Avenue, (to Life Learning Center).
  • $5,000 for seating area, bike rack, lighting, and landscaping outside 1530 Madison Ave., (to Samaritan Car Care Clinic).
  • $5,500 for “Rooted Hands” mural on the side of 1450 Madison Ave., (to Ben Harrison).
  • $26,425 for Artistic Book Benches at five locations TBD, (to Kenton County Public Library Foundation).
  • $29,999 for Artistic Dog Park, including dog-friendly playground equipment and a mural, both designed by The London Police, at a location TBD, (to BLDG Refuge).

“These projects are amazing and will add to the fun vibe that is so Covington,” said Kyle Snyder, the grants’ project manager. “We recently embraced our new branding and manifesto and that was part of the selection criteria. Some of these are bold, fitting our image. Many of them will become destinations and landmarks in the years to come.”


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