NEWPORT, Ky. — The final Newport legs of the Riverfront Commons pathway — a pair of elevated pedestrian walkways connecting Riverfront Commons to the Taylor-Southgate Bridge — have been unanimously approved by the Newport City Commission.
Commissioners have approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for construction of the pedestrian bridges and have awarded a $1.2 million contract with Sunesis Construction of West Chester to build the bridges.
“Riverfront Commons is a perfect example of that can be achieved when cities work cooperatively,” said Newport City Manager Tom Fromme. “This new connection will enhance the accessibility for our residents and visitors.”
Riverfront Commons is an 11.5 mile walking/biking path that runs along the Ohio River and links all of Northern Kentucky’s river cities — Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton and Fort Thomas. The pedestrian bridges will connect on the east and west sides of the Taylor-Southgate Bridge, an Ohio River span that links the downtowns of Newport and Cincinnati.
“The completion of Riverfront Commons in Newport is a project that has really been 20, 25 years in the making” said Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso. “It is a project that has already proven to be a great marketing tool for not just the six river cities but for the entire region as a whole. It is bringing people to communities, and that’s just what we want.”
Riverfront Commons is being spearheaded and coordinated by Southbank Partners, which promotes and manages economic development in Northern Kentucky’s river cities.
“This is truly a milestone,” said Southbank Partners President Jack Moreland. “This project exemplifies the very purpose of Riverfront Commons – connectivity, walkability and bringing people to our river cities. These pedestrian walkways will make it easier to get from Riverfront Commons to Newport on the Levee, the Newport Aquarium, Festival Park, the new SkyWheel when it opens and the Purple People Bridge.”
The project received a major financial boost from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, or OKI, which provided a grant of more than $1 million for the project. Newport will provide a 20 percent match of the total project cost, or about $275,000.
“Riverfront Commons is a multi-jurisdictional project connecting the riverfront cities with safe, multi-use paths for transportation and economic development,” said Robert Koehler, OKI’s deputy executive director/transportation manager.
Koehler worked closely with Newport Assistant City Manager Larisa Sims on the grant funding.
“It is always tremendous when we can bring in grant money to help pay for some of these projects,” said Newport City Commissioner Beth Fennell.