Friday, January 19, 2001

Planner offers ideas for downtown Covington

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — A Cincinnati urban design planner said Thursday city leaders had better get ready for the day more people want to live in downtown Covington.

        Craig Gossman of the architectural consulting firm of Kinzelman, Kline and Gossman Inc. offered a list of concepts for upgrading downtown atmosphere during a public meeting at City Commission chambers. They included making alleys more accessible to pedestrians, adding new buildings in what are now open spaces; and relaxing regulations regarding historic buildings.

        “People are consciously coming back to urban areas,” Mr. Gossman said.

        The city has been studying the northern part of downtown since August.

        Architectural Group International of Covington and Kinzelman, Kline and Gossman developed the concepts presented Thursday.

        Mr. Gossman said the final plans would be presented in a month to six weeks. The city hopes to use the plan to attract developers.

        Thursday's 60-minute presentation identified three target areas for improvements: the part of Third Street next to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center; the Governor's Square entertainment district near the Kenton County Courthouse; and the rest of downtown from Fourth Street south to Sixth.

        Mr. Gossman said service businesses such as drug stores, a newsstand and a copy center would work on Third Street. He said anything is better than what visitors see now along Madison — not a lot.

        “Now, there's nothing before Fifth Street,” he said.

        Mr. Gossman also recommended reopening part of Third Street on the west side of downtown and putting in an office building at Second and Madison.

        The emergence of restaurants around the courthouse is a good thing Mr. Gossman wants to see expanded. He said nearby alleyways could be cleaned up for pedestrian use.

        Mixed uses — professional offices and retail businesses and upper-floor housing — should be among the choices for the southern part of the study area.

        The 144-year-old Odd Fellows Hall at the corner of Fifth and Madison is considered a major part of such a plan. Doris Kappas owns the building, and she liked what she saw Thursday.

        “There are a lot of good ideas,” Mrs. Kappas said. “We need a lot more parking, of course.”


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