Sidewalk expansion near Roebling Point gateway to add ‘vibrancy,’ outdoor dining

COVINGTON, Ky. – A mini-streetscape project designed to energize a gateway to Covington off the Suspension Bridge will have a side benefit – expanded outdoor dining in the Roebling Point District.

The Covington Board of Commissioners recently approved a request to spend $65,000 in TIF funds – money set aside for infrastructure projects that nurture economic development – for the enhancement/widening of the sidewalk just west of the Smoke Justis restaurant at 302 Court St.

Smoke Justis owner Richard Dickmann asked the commission for 50 percent of the $130,000 project that will expand and replace the existing sidewalk along Court Street and improve other amenities next to his business. The TIF agreement is with the building owner, LSOP, LLC., with whom Dickman has a 21-year lease on the building.

The project will aid efforts to create a more compelling gateway into the city in the Roebling Point District.

In his request to the commission, Dickmann said the enhancement will “create a vibrancy that will draw more business to the community” and will encourage other businesses to fill vacant space in the neighborhood, such as the retail space beneath the new Hayden apartments built in the 303 Court St. tower.

Sarah Allan, the City’s Assistant Economic Development Director, said the project builds on the 2001 Downtown Covington Core Planning Initiative’s charge to create a more compelling sense of entry into the city.

 “Our team is very excited to see the ideas of the Downtown Covington Core Planning Initiative that’s still being rolled out,” said Allan.

The project includes placing a portion of the utilities underground, landscaping, and lighting. The initiative also designates the area where Smoke Justis is located as the “Entertainment” District, suggesting it include lively sidewalks, street vendors, and more.

While the widened/enhanced sidewalk will eliminate 6 metered parking spaces, Dickmann stated in his request for funds, that the proximity of the sidewalk to the County Garage will bring more attention to the large amount of available parking in the district. Dickmann met with and received permission from the City Parking Authority to expand the sidewalk.


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