Thursday, September 25, 2003

Covington gets ideas on west riverfront



By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - Residents will have more places to live and play.

That's the gist of a preliminary plan for Covington's last 17 acres of undeveloped Ohio riverfront.

Covington West, extending from the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge to the existing development at the foot of Madison Avenue, is where city officials think the next major wave of development will happen.

At a forum Wednesday, consultants with Louisville-based Tetra Tech suggested creating a pedestrian-friendly plaza area linking bike and walking trails with restaurants and small service-oriented businesses, such as barbershops, dry cleaners, delis or boutiques in a terraced, Rivercenter Boulevard building that could mask the floodwall. Tentative plans also call for a parking garage just south of a floodwall entrance at Johnson Street to serve the development, which also would include apartments.

"Residents have expressed very strong feelings for residential and recreational uses,'' said City Engineer Terry Hughes. "They have said, 'We don't want tall buildings. We don't want 20,000 cars a day coming into the site.' '' He added that residents want a place that serves the immediate area, rather than the region, and provides amenities such as bike and walking trails.

"Overall, they addressed the desire for public spaces and socializing,'' said Covington resident Sherry Carran, who was among more than 30 attending Wednesday's informal meeting at the Madison. "But there still needs to be something done to draw people into the city.''

Suggestions from Wednesday's meeting, and a July forum that drew 60 people, will help consultants develop a final plan to be presented to Covington City Commission on Nov. 12.

City officials will use that plan to request $15 million to $30 million from federal, state and local sources for infrastructure improvements for the proposed $200 million Covington West development. They also will use those funds to buy seven of the 17 acres needed.

E-mail cschroeder@enquirer.com




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