Gateways to Newport to Be Spruced Up by Decorative Roundabouts
The expansion Kentucky Route 9 through Newport will do more than improve traffic flow at the city's West End - it's also going to lead to improved gateways into town.
At a news conference on Wednesday near the foot of the Taylor-Southgate Bridge, Southbank Partners, the City of Newport, and the Newport Foundation unveiled their plans to create three new monuments to welcome drivers and visitors as they approach the new roundabouts that are part of the road project.
"The Ky Route 9 project is creating tremendous opportunities in Newport by attracting new businesses, residents, visitors and investment into the city," said Southbank Partners President Jack Moreland. "The new gateways Southbank Partners and the City of Newport are developing will provide an adequate and lasting welcome to the city."
A monument will be placed at the roundabout now under construction at the terminus of the Taylor-Southgate Bridge near Newport on the Levee, the Newport Aquarium, and the recently-opened Hampton Inn, as well as the nearby Aqua residential apartments and the Aloft Hotel.
A second monument will be placed at the roundabout also under construction on the Newport side of the Veterans Memorial Bridge - also known as the Fourth Street Bridge - that connects Newport to Covington and near the proposed Ovation development at the Ohio and Licking Rivers.
Jack Moreland (RCN)
A new arch will also tower over Kentucky Route 9 at the city's northwest entrance from Wilder where the road's expansion begins and where New Riff Distilling is developing its $7.5 million whiskey campus.
The circular gateway monuments - designed by the Cincinnati landscape architecture firm Vivian Llambi & Associates - will consist primarily of brick and stone, enhanced by flagpoles, landscaping, and lighting. The monument design provides for park-like setting in the center of the two roundabouts that will feature a welcome to the city as well as the circle sponsor's name, which Southbank is brokering to help fund the effort.
Each monument will also include 12 murals captured from historic photos and recreated through a newly created technology that involves baking the photograph subject matter onto ceramic tiles that are not subject to fading, chipping, wear and tear or other deterioration allowing the murals to last for generations. Each mural sponsor's name will also be included.
A fresh image for the city
Newport City Manager Tom Fromme said the gateways will "provide a constant reminder of how the KY Route 9 project is serving as a catalyst for new growth, employment and access into the city." On Wednesday, as the crowd gathered near the new Hampton Inn where a troubled Travelodge once stood, Fromme reminisced about his days as a police officer and how terrible that entrance to the city looked with a seedy hotel and strip bars at the intersection.
Tom Fromme (RCN)
"We are honored to be partnering with Southbank Partners on this exciting new project," Fromme said. "Newport has always been an inviting and welcoming community. These new gateways, along with the KY Route 9 project, will make our city even more accessible to visitors, businesses, consumers, and residents."
To assist in the cost of the gateway monuments, Southbank Partners and The City of Newport are offering the Circle naming rights and the 24 Mural sponsorship opportunities to corporations, small businesses foundations, organizations, families and individuals through the Newport Foundation, which is a 501-C-3 organization. The two primary Circle naming rights are being offered at $250,000 each and the 24 mural sponsorships are being offered for $25,000 each.
"The naming rights are an excellent opportunity for a sponsor to build a legacy as well as be recognized as a destination in the community," Moreland said. "Think of Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. The naming of the gateway monuments in Newport offers the same sort of lasting impact."
The expansion of KY Route 9 - also known as the Licking Pike Connector - was approved by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2012 at a cost of $26 million. It is designed to connect the AA Highway (KY 9) to the Taylor-Southgate Bridge, improving access from Interstate 275 in neighboring Wilder and opening up new land for industrial, residential and commercial development in the city.
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher