What the New Gateways Into Newport May Look Like
There will be attractive new entrances to Newport from the north and south as part of the Route 9 extension through the city.
Southbank Partners president Jack Moreland was joined Monday night at the Newport City Commission meeting by Vivian Llambi and Todd Wales of Vivian Llambi & Associates to present a landscape concept for the roundabouts and entrances that will be installed as part of the state road project. When completed, Licking Pike/AA Highway will run to the Newport riverfront.
Concepts presented Monday were for the entrances at the Taylor Southgate Bridge near Newport on the Levee and at 12th Street. A concept for a third entrance to the city is still being developed. The roundabout by the bridge will feature a large circle with a wall that stands 8-feet high with City of Newport and Southbank Partners seals on them. The circle will be filled with trees and plants, and there will be attractive tile murals of local landmarks.
Llambi said that the design is intended to give people a great view of the entrance to Newport, and also to thwart any cars that may be out of control. A second roundabout design, currently in the works, could be larger with 14 tile murals.
Mayor Jerry Peluso asked about the size of the roundabout and would it take out more sidewalks, and was told that the actual roundabout was designed by the state, so the size was not something the firm determined. Commissioner Frank Peluso wondered if the materials would be resistant to graffiti, and was told that almost any graffiti could be cleaned off the walls fairly easily.
Costs for the three options vary. The first roundabout design at the north entrance is estimated to cost between $475,000 and $550,000, and one of the possibilities of higher or lower costs has to do with the option of using bricks from the Fourth Street School building that will soon be razed to make way for a new residential development. This is a way to reuse building materials from a historic site, but it is unknown whether that option is a possibility. The second roundabout at the western entrance to the city is estimated at between $500,000 to $575,000. The south gateway into the city is estimated at between $200,000 to $250,000.
Streetscape improvements have yet to be determined.
"This is great so far," said Mayor Peluso after the presentation. "I can't wait till it starts."
Renderings of the proposed designs are in the slideshow below.
City Manager Tom Fromme discussed with the city commission the federal lawsuit filed by the City of Cincinnati against Newport, the Newport-Southgate Bridge Company, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, related to a dispute over maintenance of the Purple People Bridge on the Cincinnati side of the Ohio River.
"I havent seen any paperwork yet, but Cincinnati filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against the Newport Southbank Bridge Company, the state of Kentucky and the city of Newport," Fromme said. "This is because of a pier on the Cincinnati side that has been deteriorating for years. We have been in negotiations with the city of Cincinnati for over two years. I have never understood why we were brought into this. We have piers on this side of the river, but I am unaware of that property ever being transferred to us."
City Solicitor Daniel Braun speculated that Cincinnati was tired of negotiations with different sources, and decided to have a judge rule on the matter, even though it will take a while to get resolved.
"We feel that we are right," Fromme declared.
Patricia Smitson, CEO of the Red Cross Cincinnati-Dayton office, gave a presentation on the megablitz on neighborhoods in the Greater Cincinnati area, including Newport, to give out 100 to 150 smoke alarms to households within those chosen neighborhoods. They are planning to have 400 volunteers meet at the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati to help with the megablitz, and if anyone wants to join those volunteers they can call the Red Cross at 513-579-3003. That is also the number to call if anyone needs a smoke alarm that is not scheduled to receive one. Twelve firefighters will also be visiting the neighborhoods with the Red Cross volunteers.
City commissioners voted to amend an ordinance concerning the designation of an electrical inspector and adoption of fees. They also voted yes on an ordinance concerning animal license and registration requirements. A resolution was also passed authorizing the city manager to enter into an agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet concerning maintenance responsibilities for state-maintained roads and state-owned property located within the city. Fromme said this is a yearly thing, and any work the city does will be reimbursed by the state.
Finally, Mayor Peluso declared that the month of May will be Historic Preservation month in the city of Newport.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor