Funds have been used to pave parking lot, plant trees
COVINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 28, 2015) — A $33,000 grant to the Urban Partnership (Covington Business Council Foundation) by the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr. US Bank Foundation is being used to pave a parking lot and plant trees along the southern part of RiverCenter Boulevard. More work is planned in coming years. The work is in response to tourism industry calls for physical improvements between Covington’s hotels and the Convention Center.
The Public Realm Enhancement Study, sponsored by meetNKY, the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and facilated by The Catalytic Fund and designed by MKSK Design and Planning, was created to illustrate the needs of the tourism and visitor economy within the context of planned community infrasctructure and transportation network projects.
“This is not just about beautification, “ said Eric Summe, Convention Bureau CEO. “Visitors demand a higher quality experience as they walk from their hotels throughout the community.”
The study included additional stakeholder groups such as the City of Covington, meetNKY board members and staff, Corporex, Kenton County Fiscal Court, Mainstrasse Village Assocation, the Convention Center, Renaissance Covington, Roebling Point Business Association and Southbank Partners.
“The CBC’s mission is to advocate for positive business environment in Covington,” said Pat Frew executive director of the Business Council and Foundation. “These funds will help accomplish this task by beautifying and adding more excitement to the riverfront as we continue to return vitality to the Central Business District.”
Jeanne Schroer, president/CEO of the Catalytic Fund, says projects like these complement the work her organization is doing in downtown Covington and across Northern Kentucky’s river cities.
“We see a strong demand for urban living and working options in Greater Cincinnati; having a diversity of quality options is key to regional economic development,” she said. “Ensuring we have the right amenities like connected, walkable and bikeable communities is essential to attract visitors and residents alike. We were please to work with the team of partners on this first phase of improvements.”
The RiverCenter Boulevard improvement is one in a series of successful grant applications in the last few months by the City of Covington for redevelopment activity in its urban core. The city received $3.9 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds from former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear in October, $1 million from the federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) via Kentucky’s Transportation Cabinet in November, and $1 million from the Transportation Cabinet for reconfiguration of Electric Alley in December.
For the RiverCenter Boulevard area, the City of Covington received a construction grant to improve the street surface of West RiverCenter Blvd from just past the Convention Center westward to the intersection with Johnson Street. During construction, the City of Covington plans to take advantage of the opportunity to reconfigure the lanes in this area, shrinking the overall size of the street to be more in accordance with the level of vehicular traffic it supports and then creating a wider, handicap accessible and inviting pedestrian corridor/sidewalk. The improvements just completed on the north side of the road will complement the road work that will take place in Spring 2016.