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11-Year Old Twins Make Case for Better Goebel Park in Mainstrasse

Two 11-year old twins made the case for a better Goebel Park in Mainstrasse Village during Tuesday night's public forum at Covington City Hall on how the city should best spend its soon-to-arrive $1.8 million in federal funds.

The annual funds come from the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development because Covington is designated as an entitlement city. There are two different pools of money: community development block grants and HOME funds.

The forum featured several suggestions, but twin brothers Rowan and Adam Weckman stole the show with their well-written and delivered desire to see their neighborhood park transformed.

The boys took turns reading each graph and their words are published in full below:

Hi, my name is Rowan Weckman.

And I am Adam Weckman.

We have called Covington home for eleven years and we think Covington is pretty great.

We were excited to learn that the city has funds to use for city projects and improvements and we have some ideas that we would like to share.

We would like to see the city make Goebel Park great! Not great like the neighborhood clean-up we do every year, but GREAT! Really great!

We want an "impact project"! A whole new playground project! A space for everyone project!

We want a skate park! But we realize we're not the majority demographic of all park users.

So, why not a dog space, a new playground, a cooling water feature for summer days, a welcoming shelter house with working restrooms and water fountains?

A safe place to be a kid in this great city, a place to be proud to share with our friends from other cities. A place that says, "wow", to the thousands of cars that pass by every day.

You might think, "this is not doable", or, "this is too much", but it is not. And we can make Goebel great! Our neighbors across the river are already doing it.

And as playground across Covington continue to disappear, we need this now more than ever. And even though we are not taxpayers yet, someday we will be and we Covington residents deserve a great park. 

I learned how to swing at Goebel Park as a baby and just two weeks ago, I skied Goebel Park with fifty of my neighbors. But I don't feel much pride in my park when the snow melts and uncovers big problems.

Sewage has been draining into the lower ball fields for as long as I can remember making the one green space in my neighborhood unsafe for playing.

And no, we don't want SD1 to get this money to fix this problem. We want SD1 to use SD1's money to fix their problem.

We need this money to build a new playground, to fence a new dog park, to put up basketball goals and a skate ramp!

Goebel Park has some amazing historical features like the Glockenspiel, but the playground is surrounded with chain link fence and Mainstrasse Village is a historic zone where chain link fence is not allowed. Shouldn't our parks be an example of what we want our neighborhoods to be?

So, let's set the standard of greatness. Let's show everyone what Covington has to offer. Goebel Park is the biggest billboard Covington has. Let me say that again... Goebel Park is the biggest billboard Covington has! Let's make it amazing!

And let's do it now! 2014 sounds like a great year to start. If we wait for the bridge project, I will be graduating college! The kids of Covington need this now. The people of Covington need this now. Now is the time!

Please consider using your funding to make Goebel great. Please spend this money on this "impact project". Let our Goebel Park be the billboard that says, "come play". Come young, come old, come four-legged friends. Come play in Covington!

The Weckman brothers are the sons of Paul Weckman and Emily Wolff, residents of Mainstrasse Village and owners of Otto's, a popular restaurant on Main Street.

Hopes for a renewed Goebel Park were surrounded by others wishes, too.

City commission candidate Michael Gene Brosmore took the podium to complain that he has nowhere in town to buy shoes. CDBG funds should be used for retail shops in the city, he said. "I can't buy a pair of Johnson Murphy dress shoes in this town. We have no business district at all," Brosmore said.

He added that the city invests already in the saturated market of restaurants and bars. "Cincinnati and Newport and Covington (are) vying for a very limited market and we have nowhere to buy clothing in this town. Not downtown," he said.

"We have a ghetto Kroger," Brosmore continued. "We don't have a decent place to shop. We have to go to Newport or out in Latonia and a lot of our citizens don't have automobiles."

He also called for more facade restoration grants and, "Yes, let's fix up the kids' park," he finished.
Another candidate for city commission, Christi Blair shared Brosmore's concerns for retail. "For almost everything we need, we go outside of Covington," she said. "I don't like to leave my city. I would like to stay downtown and get the things I need."
Blair also said the city should stop buying old houses, arguing that efforts to bring young residents to town are troubled by the limited options for shopping and entertainment. She said a community center would better serve the people. "That's what we need down here, things like that for the people that are already here."
"You just keep building thinking, build it and they will come. You have a lot of great things here already. Focus on the people already here," Blair said.
She also expressed concern for Goebel Park. "We don't even go down there anymore because frankly, we're afraid. I can't turn my back, not even for a second," Blair said.
Resident Teri Meyer asked for the funds to support victims of last year's flooding and to help other residents prevent future flooding. Eastside neighborhood leader Bennie Doggett asked that the funds be used to help senior citizens and their homes, to develop programs for youth, and to rebuild sidewalks.
Resident Lydia Cook wants to see more options for fresh food in the community. "I think it would be devastating to invite Fresh Market here or Whole Foods. I'd like to see an investment in Bessler's Economy market, in the farmers market, and urban agriculture," Cook said.
Tom DiBello, executive director of the Center for Great Neighborhoods, also took the podium to explain the impact his organization has through housing development that benefits from federal funds.
He said that the city should leverage funds for 203k loans which allow for a purchase and a renovation.
"CGN is a certified general contractor to provide services around that but it's complicated and difficult to use," he said. "We would like to see the city set aside some dollars, create an incentive to make it easier for people to use that product."
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
Photo: Rowan and Adam Weckman/RCN
Editor's note: RCN was only present for the first hour of this meeting.