Member Login

Premium Content

Biggest Riverfront Commons Project Yet Will Start in Spring

The largest project yet associated with Riverfront Commons will get underway this spring.

The 11.5-mile recreational trail along the Ohio River will ultimately connect Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, and Fort Thomas. The ambitious project is managed by Southbank Partners in partnership with the municipalities, and on Tuesday, a $1.2 million contract will be awarded for work to begin in May.

"This was one of the first grants we wrote. It's been a long time coming," said Jack Moreland, president of Southbank Partners. The City of Covington is the project manager for the cities, and on Tuesday, its city commission will vote to enter into a contract with West Chester, Oh.-based Sunesis Construction for work on parts of the project in Ludlow, Newport, and Covington. Moreland said that Bellevue was originally to be part of this work before a potential different project along its riverfront made sense for that city to wait.

"The longest piece will be in the city of Covington, from the RiverCenter area, all the way out to Hampton Inn," Moreland said. There will be a new ramp up and over the flood wall at the Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, and Courtyard Inn on the riverfront. "The idea is," Moreland said, "folks who are visiting from outside the area can take the ramp up and over the flood wall and get right to Riverfront Commons."

Two pieces of legislation related to the work will be voted on by the Covington city commission on Tuesday night. The first is an interlocal agreement between the three cities involved in the current work. Each city will be responsible for a 20 percent matching payment for the $1.3 million grant based on the amount of work being done within each city. Just over $850,000 is slated for Covington alone. Secondly, the contract will be awarded to Sunesis, which submitted a bid through a process that was handled by the City of Covington.

In Newport, the work is focused on the area around Dave Cowens Drive, and will focus on improving access between Newport on the Levee and New Riff Distillery. "We think there are some folks who would come in on tour buses and might get dropped off at New Riff and go through their process of how to make bourbon, and then maybe walk along top of the flood wall and the Levee, and then have lunch, and maybe see the Aquarium," Moreland said. "We want to make that as convenient as possible."

In Ludlow, the work is concentrated behind the city park area along the riverfront, Moreland said. 

There is more work to come, he added. When completed, all six cities will be connected to each other and to downtown Cincinnati, as well as each city's business district and other attractions. Last year, more than $5.3 million was invested in construction projects on the trail and this year, according to leaflet produced by Southbank, $15 million more will be spent along five cities.

Riverfront Commons serves as a gateway and hub for the Cross Kentucky Trails Master Plan and connects to ten other local trails.

"I feel pretty good about what we're doing," Moreland said.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher