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Parklets Coming to Downtown Covington (Plus, Holiday Pop-Up Location Announced!)

Imagine a parking space.

Now imagine a park inside that parking space. 

Now what you’re seeing in your mind is called a parklet, and it could be coming to Covington very soon.

Katie Meyer of Renaissance Covington presented to the Covington Commission on Tuesday, on behalf of People's Liberty in Cincinnati, which describes itself as a “philanthropic lab”, on a campaign called Curb’d which has selected Covington as the city it would like to set up parklets in.

The idea was raised by an intern at People’s Liberty and due to the previous success the organization had in Covington with the CoSign project, they chose to return to the city for this project.

The areas targeted by Curb’d is in the Central Business District and Mainstrasse Village.

“This idea utilizes a public space as a pedestrian amenity rather than something that is more focused on cars, and it’s really an extension of the sidewalk that engages people as a place to sit, or hang out or a variety of things,” Meyer said of Curb’d.

Much like CoSign, in which businesses applied to be chosen for brand new outdoor signage, the project solicits applications from businesses that have a parking spot in front. If a business is chosen, it would be matched with organizers followed by an installation process.

Parklets have been used in other cities around the country and some of the examples shown in the presentation were of restaurants that extend seating into the street's parking space, or install a swing set, or even a small movie theater.

Organizers hope to make the program public this month to get businesses to apply, and aim to install the parklets in April for use from May to October. People’s Liberty will fund five parklets as part of the program, including any lost revenue in parking meters. Estimates of the cost are from $5,000 to $10,000 per parklet. Meyer noted that not all parking places in front businesses would make for good parklets.

Questions were raised by the commission if People’s Liberty would closely examine the long-term viability of selected businesses. Some recipients of the CoSign program did not last very long as a business which felt wasteful to some. Blend coffeehouse, Shrewdness of Apes gallery, and Three Kings bar all received the opportunity to participate in the CoSign program, with two of them getting actual signs, before closing soon after, while more established businesses, still in operation, were rejected.

Meanwhile, thanks to the work of Renaissance Covington, the city has been selected as one of 10 semifinalists for the 2016 Great American Main Street Award given by the National Main Street Center. The next step is for the Great American Main Street organization to trim that number to down to five. If Covington is among that five, the organizers of the competition will come to the city to shoot a video and at the national conference next year in Milwaukee, the winner will be announced.

Meyer also announced that the site of the 2015 Holiday Pop-Up Shop will be at the Citizens Telephone Building in Roebling Point, the historic structure at the foot of the Roebling Suspension Bridge currently undergoing a renovation. In addition, Renaissance Covington will put on a new event called Night Bazaar at Roebling Point which will be December 5 and 6 and will be a market that is based around the idea of finding gifts for someone especially hard to buy for.

Meyer said some of the offerings there will be experiential gifts like art classes, skydiving, massage, bourbon tours and more.

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo: Parklet in San Francisco (by Mark Hogan via WikiCommons)