A Toast to Hamelin Square, New Kiosk in Mainstrasse Village
Shots of liquor were poured on the ground to christen the new Hamelin Square at the corner of Sixth & Philadelphia Streets in Mainstrasse Village.
A new wayfinding and promotional kiosk now proudly stands at the corner, welcoming visitors into the Hamelin Square courtyard where diners can enjoy the neighboring Piper's Cafe.
Planned over three years, the kiosk finally made its debut Saturday in a ceremony that included Covington Mayor Sherry Carran, Mainstrasse Village Association President Marty Boyer, and the self-proclaimed Village Idiot, Charles Killian, the neighborhood visionary behind Piper's, the kiosk, the square, and the adjacent building that houses multiple businesses.
"It's not just a sign, it's a piece of architectural art," Killian told the crowd. The longtime Mainstrasse business owner first began an effort for better wayfinding signage in the neighborhood after a new strategic plan was created for the area. Though never implemented fully, the plan did suggest more prominent and more contemporary signage to guide visitors.
The plans went from the Center for Great Neighborhoods to the design stage, the city manager's office, the urban design review board, the city solicitor's office, the city engineer, zoning, the Mainstrasse Village Association, and finally the city commission that granted an easement for the kiosk's construction at the end of the summer.
"Wow, that's a team effort, folks," Killian said.
"We need a couple more of these in Mainstrasse," Mayor Carran said. There is one other kiosk that preceded this new one located between Zazou and Pachinko's at the entrance to the Village from the Fifth Street parking lot.
"Everything starts with a vision and an idea," Boyer said. "Then it takes persistence and partnerships to come to life."
Hamelin Square consists of an 1878 residential structure, and out building on the site of its original carriage house.
When Killian purchased the property in 2005, it housed 3 businesses, and was sometimes the target of complaints from neighbors. Today, there are seven businesses located there, including Piper’s Cafe, a law firm, a photography studio, bridal and ladies’ accessories shop, and a PR firm, as well as seventeen-year mainstay tenant, The Magic Shop.
The name Hamelin Square derives from the Carroll Chimes Bell Tower that plays the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin across the street in Goebel Park.
The kiosk was designed by Greg Smith of BDHP Architecture. It was built by Exhibit 3 Fabrications, a partnership between Danny McDaniel, Dave Johnson, and Larz Losekamp.
Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News