by Robin Gee
On Wednesday, Nov. 30, state and local officials, contractors and supporters gathered to cut a ribbon marking the end of the construction phase of the Taylor Creek Overlook Park project. The park is set to open to the public in summer 2017.
Situated along the riverfront between Joe’s Crab Shack and the Comfort Suites Hotel, the park sits atop a culvert that runs under The Party Source and the hotel to the river. Deterioration had made repairs to the property necessary.
What could have been a serviceable fix to a demanding erosion problem became so much more thanks to the vision of those involved. Local leaders took the opportunity to create a public green space that would enhance the area and fit into larger plans for riverfront development.
Southbank Partners, the organization devoted to Northern Kentucky riverfront development, and State Representative Dennis Keene stepped in to help secure funding for the $3.8 million construction project through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 6.
The Transportation Cabinet does not fund aesthetic projects; so funding for the upcoming landscaping is thanks to a $10,000 grant from Duke Energy.
“Urban communities have such a difficult time retaining our green space and our parks that make our communities strong. They say they don’t grow land any more, but they do in Newport and Bellevue,” said Rep. Keene.
He added that cooperation on all levels of government and support from business and the public came together to create a space that would become a backdrop for many life events for people in the community.
Officials thanked a long list of contractors and consultants who worked on the project including Sunesis Construction, consultant engineers URS Corporation, landscape architect Ken O’Dea of Place Workshop, Sanitation District number 1 and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Teamwork was key to the project, but Mother Nature did not always cooperate. Due to heavy rains, the project suffered some delays and the construction crew often worked in high water.
Now that construction and repair is complete, the cities of Bellevue and Newport will work together on development and maintenance of the park.
Meetings between Newport City Manager Thomas Fromme and Keith Spoelker, Bellevue city administrator, have been ongoing and will continue. By agreement, Newport will be responsible for maintenance and placement of equipment.
“Newport, Bellevue and the other cities in Southbank have a great working relationship. The benefits of such a relationship are as a unified voice to the region and state, “ said Fromme.
Planning for the space is just beginning but includes the addition of benches and possibly a gazebo or shelter.
Taylor Creek Overlook Park is another piece of the puzzle of riverfront development. “I believe it enhances the quality of life for our residents and presents a better face to our Riverfront area. It can be used for a variety of uses and particularly as a place of personal reflection,” added Fromme.