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Funding Approved for Next Phases of Licking River Greenway & Trails

More funding for the next phases of the Licking River Greenway & Trails was approved by the Covington city commission last week.

Originally envisioned in 2008, the Covington joined Wilder, Newport, and Taylor Mill in agreeing to create a walkable, bikeable path along both sides of the Licking River. The project was managed by Vision 2015, but by the time that organization transitioned into Skyward, it was no longer involved. Covington has completed the most of its part, and Wilder has also created a walking trail on its side of the Licking. There has been no visible work on the project in Newport or Taylor Mill.

The project is separate from Riverfront Commons, a riverfront trail project along the Ohio River that will ultimately stretch from Ludlow to Fort Thomas.

In Covington, phase one of the Licking project was completed in 2012 and runs from Holmes High School to Clayton-Meyer Park. Once phases two and three are completed, the path will run from Randolph Park north through Clayton-Meyer Park to Holmes High School.

According to City Manager David Johnston, the second and third phases of the project have been in a gridlock because both the Corps of Engineers and CSX had to conduct surveys to make sure that the path wouldn’t interfere with the levee wall or the railroad. Both entities completed their surveys this year and gave the city approval for the plan.

The total cost of the upcoming phases is $581,881 with $200,000 coming from the city’s capital budget and the rest coming from various grants that the city has received over the years.

Some commissioners questioned why the city needs to pave the pathway since there is already a gravel trail closer to the river.

Johnston said that the old trail is more of a nature trail and is not paved at all, which keeps it from meeting ADA standards, and the new trail will have to meet those standards in order for the city to receive funding.

The old nature trail will continue to be maintained for educational purposes and for those looking for a more authentic hiking experience.

Once the second and third phases are completed, phase four will add a connecter path from Levassor Avenue near Holmes High School and phase five will connect the north end of the path near Garrard and 4th Streets.

In total, the project is estimated to take 20 years to complete.

Written by Carrie Crotzer, RCN contributor
Photo: Licking River Greenway & Trails in Covington (RCN file)