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Newport Skywheel Gets OK, City Walking Routes Discussed

Walking trails through Newport were the focus of Monday night's city commission meeting.

A presentation by Christy Zerges from Go Vibrant - which hosts the largest network of walking routes in the country - showcased three focus areas: walking, vibrance, and experiences.

Multiple trail routes were highlighted, including lengths of one mile and 20 minutes, two miles and 40 minutes, and three and three quarter miles and 60 minutes. The shorter route focused on Monmouth Street, while the others went through the East Row Historic District and the city parks.

The new roundabouts installed on the expanded Kentucky Route 9 presented a problem for the trails, so Zerges said the new maps create routes around the roundabouts.

"We reconfigured the entire section," she said.

Commissioner Beth Fennell commented that she sees a lot more when she is biking than when she is driving, and she likes to see the trails.

In other business at Monday night's caucus meeting, City Manager Tom Fromme offered an update on the Skywheel project, a plan to place a large recreational ferris wheel on the riverfront. 

Fromme said the Army Corps of Engineers gave the OK for the Skywheel to operate and now the city is looking at industrial revenue bonds as a financing mechanism. The project is in a preliminary phase, so other entities like the Newport Board of Education have not yet been engaged to gauge their interest in participating in the issuance of bonds.

Meanwhile, the apartment development at the site of the former Fourth Street School is well underway. The developer is looking to keep the stones from a disassembled wall safe during the night. The wall was more than one hundred years old and some of the stone will be used in new flower beds and to elevate the project from Monmouth Street.

The city may use the remaining stone.

The vacant Bob Evans restaurant property at the Newport Shopping Center was also discussed. Fromme said that he believes the property was sold and that a project is proposed for it. A previous plan to place a dentist's office there did not work out, he said.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
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