Multi-million dollar riverfront makeover coming to Covington - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Multi-million dollar riverfront makeover coming to Covington

COVINGTON, KENTUCKY (FOX19) -

Big news for northern Kentucky’s riverfront. The cities of Covington and Dayton, Kentucky are going to pump more than 5 million dollars from the state government to build a brand new riverfront.

In all, an 11 mile trail for bikers, runners and walkers will connect Ludlow to the west all the way east to Fort Thomas.

The Riverfront Commons project is expected to bring new life into the Kentucky side of the river. Instead of the empty lots and pathways that now line the area, there will soon be miles of trails connecting cities along the riverbanks.

“The first phase of the City of Covington Riverfront Commons project is going to include 3 different levels of trail systems along the riverfront between Madison Avenue and Riverside Terrance in Covington,” said Covington Assistant City Manager Larisa Sims. “This phase is planned to be a multi-use trail system with different nodes in different communities. There will also be a plaza where a lot of the trail systems will converge and that’s why we got the grant from the state.”

In addition to the initial phase, the cities of Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Dayton, Bellevue and Fort Thomas, through Southbank Partners, have also come together in consensus on the importance of connecting and enhancing the south side of the Ohio River.

“If you look at the improvements they’ve made in Cincinnati and what they’ve done in Newport, you can see that it’s our turn now,” Sims told us Tuesday afternoon. After years of planning, the city’s blueprints are ready to become a reality.

“These things don't happen overnight,” Covington Mayor Sherry Carran told us. “The Banks didn't happen overnight and this project has been a lot of work, a lot of energy and a lot of love has gone into this project.”

The $4 million portion of the project will stretch from the Licking River to State Route 8 and offer an array of improvements, including water access for kayaks and canoes, multi-use biking and pedestrian paths, new event and gathering areas, a water sports center, roadway and riverbank stabilization and enhancements, lighting for safety, electrical services and restrooms, connectivity to businesses, the NKY Convention Center and nearby hotels.

“We have been focused on improving life for residents in Covington and we're hoping that it will attract more folks downtown,” Sims told us.

Covington city leaders believe this project will provide amenities that will help recruit and retain businesses in the nearby Class A office buildings which currently have a vacancy rate of 40%.

“It will lure a better workforce which will hopefully lure more companies in,” Mayor Carran explained. “It’ll be big for the hotels and Northern Kentucky Convention Center.”

The mayor says once they break ground on the construction, Phase I of the project should take about 18 months to complete.

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