Friday, June 15, 2001

Welcome to Southbank? Covington's miffed

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — City officials and residents are not happy with the new wall that greets people at the south end of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, as they enter Covington from Cincinnati.

        “When you drive across the bridge from Cincinnati, you see Welcome Southbank on the wall,” Covington Mayor Butch Callery said of the wall around the Northern Kentucky Police Memorial.

        “I've had people call me from all over the city wanting to know if we changed the name of the city,” Mr. Callery said.

        The city commission, he said, is upset because original renderings of the wall and sign by Southbank Partners, the non-profit group promoting riverfront development, said Welcome To Covington.

        A Southbank spokesman said the painter started with Welcome and Southbank, then came back the next day and completed the work by adding Covington and Kenton County on either side of Southbank.

        “As you're coming over (the bridge), you really can't see it,” Mr. Callery said. “At night you definitely can't see (Covington and Kenton County). It says Covington on the left hand side but it's covered by a bush. And at night there's a light that highlights Welcome and Southbank.

        The other complaint, primarily from residents of the Historic Licking Riverside District, is the height of the concrete wall.

        Larry Huston of the Licking Riverside neighborhood will present city commission with a recommendation for lowering the wall to make a more pleasing presentation for motorists entering the city from the Suspension Bridge.

        Mr. Huston said he met with Southbank President Wally Pagan, who said Southbank would ask the architect for a design to lower the wall as well as facing material for the concrete.

        A concrete contractor asked by Mr. Huston to look at the wall said it would cost about $3,500 to lower.

        Mr. Callery emphasized that “Nobody has any problem with the police memorial. It's just the way they've gone about (the wall). If it has Welcome to Covington, it would be fine.”


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